Emeritus Fellow Wynne Godley dies

Wynne Godley

Wynne Godley
(1926 - 2010)

Wynne Godley died yesterday (13 May), age 83. Godley was an Emeritus Fellow of King's and one of the most original economists of his generation.

In the 1970s he was scorned when he predicted that unemployment would rise to 3m in the 1980s, but his prediction came true. He also attracted the wrath of the Thatcher government for dismissing its economic policies as 'a gigantic con trick'.

Yet despite his maverick status he also worked within the establishment. Between 1971 and 1973 he was Official Adviser to the Select Committee on Public Expenditure, and in 1975 he was an Economic Consultant to the Treasury. He was also a Member of the Treasury’s Panel of Independent Forecasters ("The Six Wise Men") under John Major's government.

Godley's early career lay in music. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and became a professional oboist with the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra. But musical career was cut short by stage fright. 'I was plagued by nightmarish fears of letting everyone down', he said.

He changed careers and became an economic analyst. In 1956 got a job as a forecaster in the Treasury and in 1970 he joined the Department of Applied Economics at Cambridge. He was elected a Fellow of King's in the same year.

The Times and the Financial Times have published obituaries.

Professor Alan Macfarlane, another Fellow of King's, recorded an extended video interview with Wynne Godley in 2008.

14 May 2010