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"I Refuse to Be Labelled. I'm a 'Farmerian'!"

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"I Refuse to Be Labelled. I'm a 'Farmerian'!"

  • New opportunity to read interview with world-leading economist recognized as one of the founders of the indeterminacy school in macroeconomics.
  • Professor Roger Farmer serialises interview originally published in Can Heterodox Economics make a Difference?
  • The excerpts trace the development of Farmer's thinking on macroeconomics, which has influenced fiscal and monetary policymakers.

In late 2018 Roger Farmer, Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick and Distinguished Emeritus Professor, UCLA, and a world leading economist was invited to be interviewed for a study into whether the discipline of economics would benefit from a greater variety of methodological approaches, both within the profession and within the academic curriculum. In 2020, his interview, along with those of 19 economists were published in an Edward Elgar book, Can Heterodox Economics make a Difference?

The book features a series of in-depth interviews with leading economists from different schools, including Austrian, monetarist, New-Keynesian, Post-Keynesian, Modern Monetary Theory, Marxist and Institutionalist thinkers. With permission from the author, Dr Phil Armstrong, and the publisher, Edward Elgar, Professor Farmer has now serialised his interview in four posts on his personal website, Roger Farmer's Economic Window. The first instalment is available here. The other three can be found by following the links at the end of each post.

Professor Farmer is internationally recognized as one of the founders of the indeterminacy school in macroeconomics. His work on the theory of self-fulfilling prophecies, his concept of the belief function and his insistence on the importance of multiple equilibria are foundational concepts that have not just advanced macroeconomic theory but also influenced the practical operation of fiscal and monetary policy as policy makers have expanded the scope of asset purchases and adopted policies similar to those advocated in his 2016 book Prosperity for All.

In the excerpts, Professor Farmer traces the development of his own thinking on macroeconomics, and argues that the way economists view human beings, how humans interact with others and the way they form preferences, shapes their interactions in markets.

When Dr Armstrong asks how he would classify himself within the different schools of thought discussed in the book, he jokes,

“There are many pluralistic views. I’m not sure why anyone would put a label on themselves, I refuse to be labelled as anything. I’m a Farmerian”

Although Professor Farmer’s research has been very much mainstream for much of his career, in his written work, he has fostered a dialogue between mainstream and heterodox economists.

In Professor Farmer’s words:

"Phil's book is a wonderful opportunity to learn the views of economists outside of the mainstream. If you are studying economics, particularly if you plan to make a career as an economist, this is an opportunity to investigate alternative viewpoints. Perhaps you will be able to make your own contributions by picking the best ideas and synthesising them in your own work with the approach you're learning in class".

Professor Farmer also discusses his work with the Rebuilding Macroeconomics programme funded by the ESRC and argues that the coronavirus crisis will be as transformative for macroeconomic thinking as the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Global Financial Crisis of a decade ago.