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Debating 1929 economic collapse

Posted on September 17, 2009

October 24, 1929, known as "Black Tuesday," marked the beginning of the world's worst depression since the advent of the modern economy. As our nation approaches the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Depression, Grand Valley State University will host two events exploring causes and solutions, as well as possible solutions to the current economic crisis.

Grand Valley’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and the Seidman College of Business will co-host a debate between Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter and Bloomberg’s Amity Shlaes Monday, October 12, at 7 p.m., at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NW, Grand Rapids, Mich. Monday's debate will be Web cast live on

On Tuesday, October 13, at 7:30 a.m., Grand Valley will host a Peter F. Secchia Lecture featuring a keynote address and debate over today’s economic crisis, featuring Brian Domitrovic, associate professor of history at Sam Houston University and author of Econoclasts. The event will take place in Loosemore Auditorium, at DeVos Center on Grand Valley’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

"We are proud to host one of the most anticipated events in the nation this October," said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. "You are going to see sparks fly at a debate that will produce more light than heat."

Panelists at the lecture include:
• Dan Giedeman, associate professor of economics at Grand Valley
• Paul Isely, chair and associate professor of economics at Grand Valley
• Hari Singh, professor of economics at Grand Valley
• Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education
• Harry Veryser, graduate program director in economics at University of Detroit Mercy
• Gary Wolfram, professor of political economy at Hillsdale College

Jonathan Alter
Alter is an award-winning columnist, television analyst and author. Since 1991, he has written a Newsweek column that examines politics, media and social and global issues. For more than a decade, he has been a contributing correspondent to NBC News. His book, The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, was a national bestseller.

Amity Shlaes
Shlaes is a syndicated columnist for Bloomberg and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. She writes on political economy and taxes. She is a contributor to Marketplace, a public radio show, and has appeared on numerous other radio and television shows. She was formerly a columnist for the Financial Times, and before that, a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, specializing in economics. She is the author of, The Forgotten Man, a book about the Great Depression.

The events are free and open to the public, and seating is limited. To RSVP or get more information, visit or contact the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at (616) 331-2770.

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