I have been discussing with our staff and some fellows and interested participants the value to our network of starting a book discussion club in 2024.
Since the formidable works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx, our understanding of capitalism and its alternatives – and of economics, sociology, psychology, politics – has been formed by books. Those who don’t (can’t) read are at a great loss for not having many contextualizing frames of meaning and narratives with which to think about and rationally act in our world. They know little about how we got here, what is shaping our lives and where we might go.
Every week or so, it seems to me, there appears one or more new books with relevant contributions to our assessments of the past, present and future. Too many for me to keep track of.
As we learn from books, we also learn from each other.
We will meet once a quarter by Zoom to discuss a book which has been selected for us to read.
Somewhat haphazardly, we propose these four recently published books:
–Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle OverTechnology and Prosperity, by Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson
–Why Empires Fall: Rome, America and the Future of the West, by Peter Heather and John Rapley
–The Civic Bargain: How Democracy Survives, by Brook Manville and Josiah Ober
–Mandeville’s Fable: Pride, Hypocrisy and Sociability, by Robin Douglass
The times and dates of the discussions are:
-9:00 am (CST) Thursday, February 15 – Power and Progress
-9:00 am (CDT) Wednesday, May 15 – Why Empires Fall
–9:00 am (CDT) Thursday, August 15 – The Civic Bargain
–9:00 am (CST) Friday, November 15 – Mandeville’s Fable
We will send a notice of meeting and reminders before each date so that you may register to participate.
If the discussions prove fruitful, we can consider adding books and discussion sessions.
I hope this initiative meets with your approval and that you might want to participate.
Please let me know any thoughts you might have on making this initiative as rewarding as possible for participants.