Sunday, February 17, 2013

Program at the Mt. Lebanon Library: The History and Impact of Financial Power – 1868 to 2008

Free Program Series at the Mt. Lebanon Library

A facilitated program series planned and moderated by John Hemington, on The History and Impact of Financial Power –1868 to 2008, will be held at the Mt. Lebanon Library. It will examine, evaluate and draw conclusions from the historical, political and economic roots of both the Great Depression and the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 (GFC). We will try to determine whether the same processes, problems and ideas which led to the Great Depression are related to the events which triggered the GFC. We will also critique the contribution of mainstream economic ideas, models and policies and whether they may have contributed to the ongoing turmoil in the world’s economies today and what this bodes for the future?

The group will meet twice a month to discuss readings from the three books and the cumulative issues raised by these readings. The program will last for a year, beginning on the first Tuesday of March, the 5th, from 7:00 p.m. until 8:45 p.m. and subsequent 1st Tuesdays (except for July which will be the 9th). The 2nd monthly meeting day will be determined at the initial meeting. The program is free but will involve a commitment of time and a willingness to read the three books over the course of the year – listed below – on which the program is based. Clearly, not everyone will be able to attend every session, but a good faith effort should be made to attend as many as possible and to read the material assigned.

Even for those with a good background in history this should be a fresh and revealing experience. Our goal is to demonstrate conclusively that there is not just one history connecting events over time, but perhaps as many different histories as there are historians; and that critical study and evaluation is required to come to meaningful conclusions. Participants will be encouraged to carefully evaluate the facts behind issues before arriving at judgments about the nature of current events. There is no interest in furthering any particular political agenda, view or ideology in this program, therefore, three non-mainstream – but highly credible – authors have been selected for the core reading material. Because the material is primarily historical and minimally technical any reasonable literate individual should be able to participate fully. The discussions will be moderated to minimize argumentative speeches and debates. The idea is for conclusions to be focused on the factual substance covered in the materials – not on personal political or cultural prejudices. An extensive list of optional readings will be provided.

Carroll Quigley, whose book Tragedy and Hope is central to this project, is one of the very few historians whose studies focused on the activities and operations of the world’s “power elite” in the twentieth century and is reputed to have been the only historian ever given unfettered access to the Archives of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Rockefeller Archives. Prior to his death in 1977 Quigley taught at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where one of his students was Bill Clinton. Earlier in his career he taught at both Princeton and Harvard.

Reading Material

Tragedy and Hope – A History of the World in Our Time (1966), by Carroll Quigley (through page 1083)
The Gods of Money – Wall Street and the Death of the American Century (2009), by F. William Engdahl
Debunking Economics – The Naked Emperor Dethroned (Revised Edition, 2011), by Prof. Steve Keen

If Interested Contact John Hemington at: jehemington -at- verizon -dot- net or show up at the initial meeting.

“We were taught by Dr. Quigley that mankind's greatest tragedies were the consequence of man’s adherence to mistaken or outmoded ideas. The most pernicious of these false ideas are the belief in the perfection of knowledge and that the truth is ours to possess. The belief in the infallibility of human knowledge destroyed classical civilization and threatens to destroy our own. It was faith in the false god of perfect knowledge that led to the silencing of Galileo by the Inquisition, the Reign of Terror in France, the slaughter of a whole generation at the River Somme and the burning of Wilhelm Reich’s books by the U.S. government. It was this same sort of intellectual intransigence that deluded our leaders into believing that strategic bombing could crush the Vietnamese Revolution and has led our civilization closer and closer to ecological disaster.”

William Erickson (Georgetown SFS ‘75)

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