It was news to many when Scott Powell announced that an obscure novel published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged, “may be second to the Bible as the most influential book read in America.” His statement that BB&T, the 12th largest bank in America, which resisted taking TARP bailout funds, requires reading of that same book as part of its management training program astonished many more.
Economist Niall Ferguson of Harvard wrote an article entitled “Complexity and Collapse” for the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs, a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ferguson uses the visual image of a series of paintings by Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire, which currently hangs at the New York Historical Society, to illustrate his point that every society goes through five stages. He says that Cole “beautifully captured a theory of imperial rise and fall to which most people remain in thrall to this day.”
When Kevin Hall, writing for McClatchy Newspapers, said “the Obama administration got what it was looking for at its summit on the future of housing finance,” he was very close to the truth: No matter who spoke at the summit or what “new” ideas might be proposed, nothing would change — the government would remain fully in charge of mortgage financing for the country.
Infowars.com, the website founded by self-described “aggressive constitutionalist” Alex Jones, published an article by former Reagan Treasury Department official and co-author of Reaganomics, Paul Craig Roberts entitled “The Ecstasy of Empire.” With such an alluring title, it is little wonder that the article has attracted a volume of comments. Roberts brings to bear all the entries of his impressive resume in diagnosing the illness afflicting the American body politic, particularly the economic might that is its lifeblood.