Examining the parallels between our current economy and that of the 1930s, MIT Professor Emeritus of Economics Peter Temin spoke to an attentive audience spanning a wide range of ages during Bowdoin’s biannual Santagata Lecture in Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center, on Oct. 17.
Temin cited the severe unemployment problems facing the United States and the world, arguing that we’re facing a repeat of the Great Depression thanks to poor economic policies. “It’s a self-inflicted harm,” he said. “You’d think we would have learned.”
Unfortunately, Temin said, there’s no easy fix. “Selling of assets, to look good on the balance sheet, is like the farmer killing the cow – you have meat for the upcoming year, but no milk production for the following years,” he said. “If we’re going to change this, it has to be because people want to change it.”
The talk was followed by a deluge of audience questions about Temin’s grim but thought-provoking message. A leading authority in economic history, Temin has 20 book titles and more than 150 journal articles or chapters to his name as an author and editor.
Bowdoin’s Santagata Memorial Lecture Fund was established in 1982 in honor of Kenneth V. Santagata ’73 by his family and friends. It provides one lecture each semester in the arts, humanities, or social sciences, by acclaimed experts with novel approaches to their subjects.