Our speaker on 22nd November was Paddy Halligan whose subject was “Boom, Bust and Beyond”. He gave us a fast-moving account, complete with quotations in convincing American accents, of the background to the USA’s economic growth after WW1, the expansion of credit to unsustainable levels and the subsequent collapse in confidence culminating in the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Even now, the dire consequences of this disaster are hard to comprehend. The doctrine of rugged individualism had taken a huge psychological blow. Although President Hoover is commemorated by the dam he authorised to provide employment, he was largely ineffective and not until the Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected and instituted a programme of reform and recovery (the New Deal), based on the theories of John Maynard Keynes, was any progress made. Even then it was not wholly successful, but he won four successive elections, dying just before WW2 ended in 1945. The entry of the USA into the war boosted employment as factories went flat out to produce equipment for the Allies. Although the facts of the cataclysmic events of 1929 and the subsequent Depression Era are well known, we never seem to learn from history although, so far, more recent crises have not had such devastating effects. Boom and bust seem to be an endemic feature of capitalism for which all the world’s economists don’t seem to have an answer. Inevitably, mention was made of the policies of the current US President and how they have uncomfortable echoes of past, failed policies. Watch this space! For such a serious subject, this was an entertaining talk and Paddy’s whirlwind style certainly kept our attention throughout and gave us plenty of food for thought. We meet at 10:00 every Thursday at The Boathouse, Evesham Rowing Club. Our speaker on 29th November is Dr. Katy Bellamy on “Sleep Perchance to Dream” and on 6th December our member David Senior will be taking us to Laos and Cambodia. Full details can be found on our website www.eveshamprobus.co.uk

Alan Smith