Aug 09, 2012
Michael R. Drew
When my colleague and co-author Roy H. Williams presented the first, 90-minute Pendulum presentation in Stockholm in January 2004, he embedded into his PowerPoint presentation the first two sentences of that historic, fireside chat in FDR’s own voice, the one I included in the last few blog posts.
As the glistening voice of FDR faded, Roy smiled and said, “Let’s hope the American economy doesn’t repeat in 2009 what it did in 1929.”
He told me later that he remembers no one laughing. Evidently those Europeans held a premonition of the financial implosion that would occur due to the Mortgage Meltdown crisis of late 2008, just one year prior to the 80th anniversary of the stock market crash of 1929 when society’s pendulum was in the same position and headed in the same direction.
When Lehman Brothers and other important financial institutions failed in September 2008, $150 billion were withdrawn from USA money funds in a two-day period. This was 30 times higher than the average two-day outflow. In effect, the money market was subject to a bank run.
Was this collapse avoidable? Absolutely. The reason history must repeat itself is because we pay too little attention the first time.
But if I can suggest something here – let’s look beyond the financial pages (I can see everyone sighing in relief) and at the bestseller list. Writers and artists are often ahead of the curve.
Just to make sure that the values and perspective of the public are continuing in the same direction as 1923, lets look at the top-five best selling novels of 1933, with a note on some of the public thoughts that these books have somehow articulated:
1. Anthony Adverse, by Hervey Allen — An orphan’s debt to the man who raised him threatens to separate him forever from the woman he loves.
(Duty and Obligation)
2. As the Earth Turns, by Gladys Hasty Carroll — A year in the life of a rural family facing the modern world of airplanes, college educations and city life.
(Disillusionment and Loss of Innocence)
(Personal Suffering while Helping Others)
4. Magnificent Obsession, by Lloyd C. Douglas — A man is resuscitated by a rescue crew after a boating accident. Consequently, the crew is unable to save the life of a doctor, renowned for his ability to help people, who was having a heart attack on the other side of the lake at the same time. The man who was saved decides to devote his life to making up for the loss of the doctor’s.
(Duty and Obligation, Personal Sacrifice for the Benefit of Others)
5. One More River, by John Galsworthy — A young woman flees to England from her sadist husband, falls in love and becomes hopelessly compromised with a penniless young Englishman.
(Life is Unfair. Love hurts.)
No big surprises there.
All of these novels are about people trying to do the right thing and suffering for their decisions. Can you name any bestselling novels of our current age that might reflect similar sentiments?
Thanks for sharing!