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Farley, Rawle

Abstract and Keywords

Rawle Farley, PhD (1922–2010), economist, scholar, academician, and advocate; known for his groundbreaking work in the study of economics in developing nations.

Keywords: Brockport, development economics, development planning, economics department, labor

Rawle Egberth Griffin Farley (1922–2010) was born in Courtland Village, Berbice, Guyana. Dr. Farley’s work is credited with shaping the direction of the study of economics in the developing world. He began his career as an elementary school teacher. His choice of and continuance in education as a career was influenced by his parents, Egbert Joseph Farley and Nora Jane, née Griffith. His father was a school headmaster and educated at the Rawle Teachers’ Training Institute in Barbados. The young Farley’s name came from the title of the institute, his father’s Christian name and his mother’s maiden name. The elder Farley was an Anglican, a leader in the Diocese and President of the Essequibo District Teachers’ Association. The family influences help to explain the son’s embrace of Anglicanism, the teaching profession, and leadership.

Dr. Farley’s time as an elementary school teacher was followed by several positions within the Guyanese government. He left Guyana for the UK to pursue education, and subsequently earned a BA degree from the University of London in 1945, a post-graduate Teacher’s Diploma in 1949, a BSc (economics) in 1950, and a PhD in 1956. His dissertation was entitled, “Aspects of the Economic History of British Guiana, 1781–1852: A Study of Economic and Social Change on the Southern Caribbean Frontier.” From 1948–1950, Farley was able pursue graduate and post-graduate studies through several British Council Fellowships, the Geddes Grant Research Fellowship, and a Ford Foundation Grant. An International Labour Organisation Fellowship enabled him to pursue studies in Industrial Relations with the Ministry of Labour in the UK and at the Universities of Leeds, Glasgow, and Oxford University.

Farley was known throughout his life for scholarship, leadership, and challenging existing systems and standards of discrimination and oppression. This direction was based in part on his upbringing in a socially conscious family and from what he observed and experienced during his youth and college years. On one occasion as a graduate student he was refused housing because he was a person of color from the Caribbean. An example of his social consciousness, focus, and emerging leadership was his presidency of the West Indian Students’ Union.

Early in his career, Farley gained prominence as a respected, knowledgeable, and impartial negotiator when he helped to mediate and craft a common policy manifesto in 1961 between leaders of the People’s National Congress (PNC) of Guyana who represented significantly divergent ideologies. At the time, Farley was a professor at the University College of the West Indies (UCWI), now the University of the West Indies, a post he served in for over a decade.

Farley’s leadership and scholarly achievements lead him to participate and found academic programs throughout the Caribbean, including an appointment as Director of Extra Mural Services at UCWI and playing a major role in establishing a campus of the school in British Honduras. After leaving the UCWI, he took a position in 1962 as a Professor of Economics and Chairman of the graduate program at the Inter-American University in Puerto Rico. Dr. Farley continued his role of institutional academic development and scholarship when he came to the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Brockport in 1966 and founded the Department of Economics, serving as its first Chair. His scholarship specialized in Development Economics, Development Planning, Urban and Regional Economics, Labor Economics, and the Economics of Poverty.

Dr. Farley’s research and writings are seen as critical to the understanding of economics in the developing countries and include Planning For Development In Libya: the Exceptional Economy in the Developing World (1971) and Economics of Latin America: a Development Problem in Perspective (1972). Farley shared his wealth of knowledge and love for economics and teaching at SUNY until his retirement in 1995. He was honored by the National Economic Association “for outstanding achievements in economics” and named Professor Emeritus.

In addition to his recognition as a scholar, Dr. Farley was also known for his interest in arts and culture. He was an avid chess player and won several tournaments throughout his lifetime. In Belize he founded the Festival of One Act Plays and the British Honduras National Festival of the Arts. He died in Rochester, NY on November 6, 2010.