Predictions for the Economy Focus of Faculty Lecture

May 10, 2010


Dr. Martin Horning, professor of economics, was selected to speak at the annual Mount Union College Faculty Lecture, held Tuesday, February 4. The Lecture has been held since 1959, and is designed to allow faculty to relate interesting or important developments in her or his own field or to explore matters of general concern to the faculty. This year, Horning's lecture, entitled "The Butterfly, The Wheel, and the Buddha: Confessions of a Macro Economist," focused on the influence of history and culture on the economy.


Dr. Martin Horning

Dr. Martin Horning


Following an introduction by Richard Marriott, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, Horning served his audience a virtual meal. Each course of the virtual meal was an explanation of the three parts of his lecture title. During the first course, Horning spoke about the Butterfly, drawing from the philosophy of past meteorologist, Edward Lorenz and his idea, "The Butterfly Effect." Lorenz believed that small changes in properties surrounding the weather could have a large effect on it. Horning explained that the economy works similarly. Changes in the gross domestic product, fiscal policy, the national debt, and the national deficit can generate changes in the economy.

In his second course, Horning served up information about the Wheel. He likened the economy to the flow of water through the mechanism of a water wheel. He used several graphs and equations to illustrate economic principles like inflation, taxes, and income. Horning noted that policymakers could play significant roles if they understand the movement and stoppages of the wheel.

In the final course, Horning spoke of the Buddha and his pursuit of "The Middle Way." He touched on the ideas of economist John Maynard Keynes, who believed that recession and debt are normal occurrences in the economy. He also examined the similarities and differences between the Japanese economy and the American economy.

Horning believes that predicting what will happen in the economy depends on the options that policymakers choose. "All aspects of the economy will benefit if we put the money in the hands of those who will spend it, lower and middle class individuals, instead of just the 5% of the population with great wealth," he said.

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