Global Voices Author Night with Richard Grossman

Lecture Series

November 14, 2013

6-7:30 pm

Assembly Hall

In Wrong: Nine Economic Disasters and What We Can Learn From Them, Grossman addresses the poor thinking behind some of the worst economic policy mistakes of the past 200 years, tells the story behind each misconceived economic move, and explains why the policy was adopted, how it was implemented, and its short- and long-term consequences. In each case, he shows that the main culprits were policy makers who were guided by ideology rather than economics.


For instance, Wrong looks at how America's unfounded fear of a centralized monetary authority caused them to reject two central banks, condemning the nation to wave after wave of financial panics. He describes how Britain's blind commitment to free markets, rather than to assisting the starving in Ireland, led to one of the nineteenth century's worst humanitarian tragedies: the Irish famine. And he shows how Britain's reestablishment of the gold standard after World War I, fuelled largely by a desire to recapture its pre-war dominance, helped to turn what would otherwise have been a normal recession into the Great Depression. Grossman also explores the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930, Japan's lost decade of the 1990s, the American subprime crisis, and the present European sovereign debt crisis.


Grossman concludes that economic policy should be based on cold, hard economic analysis, not on an unquestioning commitment to a particular ideology. Wrong shows what happens when this sensible advice is ignored.


About the Author

A graduate of Harvard in 1982, Richard Grossman then attended the London School of Economics, where he received a Master of Science in economic history, before returning to Harvard for a Master of Arts and PhD. He has been Professor of Economics at Wesleyan University since 2001. Grossman was recently awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for his research in economic history.


This event is free and open to the public.


Presented by the Global Voices Lecture Series and the Seminary Co-op Bookstores.


Wrong can be purchased through the Seminary Co-op Bookstore at


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