9. Geoffrey Hodgson This interview took place on 12 July, 2007, at Le Moulinage Ouest, Privas, Ardèche, France How did you come to move from being a computer programmer in Essex in the mid-1960s and a mathematics teacher in Manchester to becoming an economist in the 1970s? When I was between school and university, I used my mathematical knowledge as a computer programmer at a research institute in Essex in the 1960s. Computers were then slow and scarce. In 1963 Harold Wilson famously declared that a new Britain would be “forged in the white heat” of a scientific and technological revolution. Computers and technology were seen as instruments of a new rational order that would displace the ossified institutions of the past. In 1964 a socialist government was elected after 13 years of Conservatism in Great Britain, with Wilson as Prime Minister. I studied for my first degree in mathematics and philosophy at the University of Manchester in 1965–68. I was affected by political movements like the campaign against the war in Vietnam and I got drawn into left-wing politics. I got interested in economics while I was doing my first degree in Manchester. I was attracted by a subject with greater social relevance. After four years as a school teacher in mathematics, I returned in 1972 to the University of Manchester to study for a master’s degree in economics. I then got a job as a lecturer in economics. I have been in academia ever since. 132...
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