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The George Washington Forum to host debates, lectures

Events over three days will cover the Great Depression and the New Deal

The George Washington Forum will host "The Great Depression Revisited," a series of lectures and debates, on Oct. 13 through Oct.15 at Ohio University in the Baker University Center Theatre.

The forum will host scholars and historians in a debate over what lessons can be learned from the Great Depression and the New Deal.

This event will offer a unique intellectual opportunity to listen to a diverse set of perspectives on whether the New Deal was, in fact, a cure for the United States’ Great Depression. Topics like inflation, deflation and the gold standard will be discussed and put into the context of current economic times.

"The idea for this came a couple years ago, reading newspapers at the height of the financial crisis," said Robert Ingram, forum director and professor of history. "You’d look at The New York Times and see Nobel Prize winners saying this is the worst crisis since the Great Depression; here’s what we learned from the Great Depression and here are the lessons we got out of it. Then, you’d read the Wall Street Journal and see other Nobel Prize winners saying this is the worst crisis since the Great Depression; here are the problems and here is what we’ve learned from it."The problem is that those lessons were completely different."

Renowned author and Bloomberg columnist Amity Shlaes* will open the series with the first plenary lecture "Obama Plays Monopoly: The Great Depression Revisited." Shlaes currently serves on the Council on Foreign Relations* and is the author of "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression." Several other plenary lectures will be given on the days following Shlaes’ address.

"This is a distinct event for any university, marking the first time some of the best scholars from both sides of an ideological divide will debate over the New Deal and the Great Depression,” said History Professor Paul Milazzo. "This will be a unique opportunity for students and faculty to listen to and interrogate what these people have to say."

The conference is a part of a series of conferences called "Problems in America in Western Civilization," covering economic and historical problems. Ultimately, an educational book will be published providing a variety of viewpoints on the problems discussed in the series. The goal of "The Great Depression Revisited" is to provide students and faculty with a resource presenting a thorough, balanced approach to the Great Depression and the New Deal.


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