January 23, 2012

Vol. 27 , No. 07   

Why Capitalism?
LUNCHEON 11:30 a.m.; LECTURE 12:00 p.m.

Allan H. Meltzer is one of the world's foremost authorities on the history of the U.S. Federal Reserve. From 1973 to 1999, he served as the chair of the Shadow Open Market Committee, a group of economists that critiqued the decisions of the Fed's Open Market Committee. He served on the Council of Economic Advisers for Presidents Kennedy and Reagan. In 2001, he published the first of a two volume history of the Federal Reserve and is completing work on the second volume. He chaired the International Financial Institution Advisory Committee which in 2003 recommended reforms at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

A distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, Professor Meltzer has been awarded the Truman Medal for Economic Policy. Established in 2005, the medal recognizes economists who have made extraordinary contributions to the formation of economic policy. The award went to Alan Greenspan in 2005, George P. Shultz in 2007, and Paul Volker in 2009. The Truman Medal honors Meltzer’s pioneering academic work in monetary policy, political theory, and economic history; his many practical contributions to improved economic policy; and his unswerving devotion to capitalism and individual liberty.

Dr. Meltzer’s Athenaeum lecture is sponsored by the Dean of the Faculty at Claremont McKenna College.

The United States, Egypt, and The New ‘New Middle East’

Steven A. Cook is the Hasib J. Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Dr. Cook is an expert on Arab and Turkish politics, as well as U.S. Middle East policy. He is the author of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square (Oxford University Press, Fall 2011), where he explores Egypt’s history, why the revolution occurred, and where the country might be headed next. Dr. Cook is also the author of Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey (John Hopkins press, 2007).

Dr. Cook has published widely in a variety of foreign policy journals, opinion magazines, and newspapers including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Wall Street Journal, Journal of Democracy, Weekly Standard, Slate, New Republic Online, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, and Survival. He is also a frequent commentator on radio and television. Dr Cook currently writes the CFR blog, “From the Potomac to the Euphrates.”

Prior to joining CFR, Dr. Cook was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution (2001–2002) and a Soref research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (1995–96). He holds a B.A. in international studies from Vassar College, an M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and both an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Cook speaks Arabic, Turkish, and reads French.

Resilience in a Black Swan World

“The real fault line in American politics is not between liberals and conservatives.... It is, rather, in how we orient ourselves to the generations to come who will bear the consequences, for better and for worse, of our actions."
-David Orr, from Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse. (Oxford University Press, 2009)

David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Special Assistant to the President of Oberlin College and Executive Director of the Oberlin Project. He is the recipient of seven Honorary degrees and other awards including The Millennium Leadership Award from Global Green, the Bioneers Award, the National Wildlife Federation Leadership Award, a Lyndhurst Prize acknowledging “persons of exceptional moral character, vision, and energy,” and the Santa Monica Library “Pioneer Award for contributions to sustainability literature.”

Orr’s career as a scholar, teacher, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur spans fields as diverse as environment and politics, environmental education, campus greening, green building, ecological design, and climate change. He is the author of seven books and co-editor of three others. His first book, Ecological Literacy (SUNY, 1992), was described as a “true classic” by Garrett Hardin. A second book, Earth in Mind (1994/2004) is praised by people as diverse as biologist E. O. Wilson and writer, poet, and farmer, Wendell Berry. Both are widely read and used in hundreds of colleges and universities. Hope is an Imperative: The Essential David Orr (Island Press, 2010) is a collection of his writings from 1985 to 2010.

In 1996 he organized the effort to design the first substantially green building on a U.S. college campus. The Adam Joseph Lewis Center at Oberlin was later named by the U.S. Department of Energy as “One of Thirty Milestone Buildings in the 20th Century,” and by The New York Times as the most interesting of a new generation of college and university buildings. The Lewis Center purifies all of its wastewater and is the first college building in the U.S. powered entirely by sunlight. But most important it became a laboratory in sustainability that is training some of the nation’s brightest and most dedicated students for careers in solving environmental problems.

In an influential article in the Chronicle of Higher Education 2000 Orr proposed the goal of carbon neutrality for colleges and universities and subsequently organized and funded an effort to define a carbon neutral plan for his own campus at Oberlin. Seven years later hundreds of colleges and universities, including Oberlin, have made that pledge.

Recent projects include a two year $1.2 million collaborative project to define a 100 days climate action plan for the Obama administration (http://www.climateactionproject.com), and a project with prominent legal scholars across the U.S. to define the legal rights of posterity in cases where the actions of the present generation might deprive posterity of “life, liberty, and property.” He is also active in efforts to stop mountaintop removal in Appalachia and develop a new economy based on ecological restoration and wind energy. He is presently the Executive Director of the Oberlin Project which is focused on making the City of Oberlin a model of full-spectrum sustainability and replicating that effort through a National Sustainable Communities Coalition.

David Orr's talk is cosponsored by the Roberts Environmental Center at Claremont McKenna College.

Why Mahler? And Other Cultural Brain-Benders

Mahler scholar, author, novelist, and cultural commentator, Norman Lebrecht has written several best-selling works of nonfiction, including The Maestro Myth: Great Conductors in Pursuit of Power (2001) and Who Killed Classical Music? Maestros, Managers, and Corporate Politics (1997). He is also the award-winning author of the novels The Song of Names (2002) and The Game of Opposites (2010). He writes regularly for Bloomberg.com and The Wall Street Journal, and he presents The Lebrecht Interview series on BBC Radio 3 and The Record Doctor on WNYC. He lives in London.

It is Claremont’s good fortune that Norman Lebrecht has come to Los Angeles for a series of lectures, interviews, and pre-concert talks as part of the Mahler Project.
Born in 1860, 2010 has seen the 150th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birth and 2011 will see the 100th anniversary of his death. Throughout the year venues around the world are holding concerts in celebration of his life and work. Over the course of just a few weeks, Gustavo Dudamel will accomplish the extraordinary: leading all of Mahler’s completed symphonies (and more) with two orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. The Mahler Project, which runs from January 13 - February 18, will be repeated by both orchestras in Caracas, Venezuela, completing a remarkable international collaboration to honor the 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death. For information about this concert series go to http://www.laphil.com/tickets/mahler/concerts.cfm


Achieving Your Dream: Bold Visionary Leadership from the Inside Out

As the soul of Essence magazine for over three decades, Taylor was the driving force behind one of the most celebrated African American owned business success stories. A fourth generation entrepreneur, she flourished in her leadership role, building the brand and guiding it through a period of phenomenal growth to a readership of over 8 million.

During this time she penned the popular “In the Spirit” column and wrote the best-selling books, In the Spirit: The Inspirational Writings of Susan L. Taylor (1993), and Lessons in Living (1998) and Confirmation: The Spiritual Wisdom That Has Shaped Our Lives (1999).

Now, as the Founder of National Cares Mentoring Movement, she shares her inspirational passion for empowering African Americans in a call to action to recruit mentors for at-risk youth. She continues to inspire hope and encourage us to reclaim our lives and create sustainable communities.

Genuine, energetic, and spiritual, Taylor’s passion is to help people realize their strengths and take charge of their lives. She brings her gift of inspiration to every audience – sharing with them her prescription for adopting the best practices, both personally and professionally, that will help them find fulfillment and success in life.

This keynote presentation offers the tools for crafting a vision for one's life and leadership style that is energizing and inspiring. Susan L. Taylor demonstrates how passionate and effective leadership begins from within – with self-awareness. She shows how identifying and articulating one's personal path in life are critical steps in successfully leading others and being authentically respectful of their feelings, values and differences.

Class in California

Described by The New York Times as America’s “uber-geographer,” for over three decades Joel Kotkin has been one of the nation's most prolific and widely-published journalists. An internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends, Mr. Kotkin is the author of THE NEXT HUNDRED MILLION: America in 2050, published by The Penguin Press. The book explores how the nation will evolve in the next four decades. It has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail, and National Public Radio.

His previous, also critically acclaimed book, THE CITY: A GLOBAL HISTORY, was published in 2006 by Random House/Modern Library. Mr. Kotkin is also the author of THE NEW GEOGRAPHY, How the Digital Revolution is Reshaping the American Landscape (Random House, 2000); and TRIBES: How Race, Religion and Identity Determine Success In the New Global Economy (Random House, 1993), which traces the connection between ethnicity and business success — how in-group loyalties are becoming the driving force in the new global economy.
Forbes.com. In 2010 he won the Gene Burd Award for best urban reporting.

Mr. Kotkin’s visit to CMC is sponsored by the Rose Institute for State and Local Government and he will be speaking on the subject of “Class in California.”

Is Evolutionary Psychology Misleading Us?

Evolutionary psychology is very popular. Evolutionary psychologists draw on insights about our ancient ancestors to support modern psychological theories. Much of the time, these theories are reductionist or nativist theories that downplay the importance of social influences and learning on human behavior. In contrast, Prof. Boyd will argue that evolutionary insights do not favor reductionist or nativist theories. Instead, evolutionary psychology may be ignoring important theories that emphasize learning and social influences.

Richard Boyd has had a long and distinguished career as a member of the faculty at Cornell University, where he is the Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Science and Technology Studies. He is well known for his work in philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and ethics -- particularly on moral realism.

Boyd became interested in the philosophy of science while an undergraduate mathematics major at MIT, where he later earned a Ph.D. in philosophy with a dissertation in mathematical logic. His original interests in foundational issues in philosophy of science have expanded to include interests in metaphysics (especially the metaphysics of kinds and categories - like biological species and chemical compounds - and of causation), in epistemology (especially in competing notions of rationality and objectivity), in philosophy of biology (especially in issues about the foundations of biological taxonomy and about methods in sociobiology), in philosophy of mind and language and in the foundations of ethics.

Professor Boyd is visiting CMC this semester as a Podlich Distinguished Fellow. The Podlich Distinguished Fellows Program was founded by Claremont McKenna College alumnus and trustee William F. Podlich in 1998 to enrich the College intellectually by bringing preeminent figures in scholarship, business, and public affairs to campus for extended visits. While at CMC, Professor Boyd is teaching an upper division seminar in Philosophy of Science.

The Constitutionality of Health Care Reform and the Supreme Court

What would George Washington have thought of the so-called "individual mandate"? By looking at Founding-era sources, from the Federalist Papers to Washington's letters, Wydra argues that our Founders sought to create a federal government capable of providing national solutions to national problems - national problems such as the nationwide health care crisis that saw millions of Americans unable to access quality, affordable care. This original understanding of the powers of the federal government has been carried on through Supreme Court rulings from the Founding to the present, and Wydra discusses possible outcomes for the challenges to the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act when the Supreme Court rules on the case later this year.

Elizabeth Wydra is the Constitutional Accountability Center’s Chief Counsel. The Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC) is a think tank, law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the U.S. Constitution’s text and history. She frequently participates in Supreme Court litigation, for which she has been honored for her exemplary writing, and has argued several important cases in the federal courts of appeals. Elizabeth joined CAC from private practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, where she was an attorney working with former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan in the firm’s Supreme Court/appellate practice.

Previously, Ms. Wydra was a supervising attorney and teaching fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center appellate litigation clinic, and a law clerk for Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Elizabeth has appeared as a legal expert on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," and for the BBC, NBC, ABC, and Fox News, as well as NPR’s “All Things Considered” and nationally-syndicated radio programs.

Elizabeth Wydra has been quoted extensively in the print media and her writings have appeared in Politico, Slate, and the Huffington Post, among others. Her academic work has been published in the Syracuse Law Review, the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law, and the Yale Journal of International Law.

Elizabeth is a graduate of Yale Law School. She is currently representing more than 500 State Legislators from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, supporting the constitutionality of health care reform in the Supreme Court.


  • It is the policy of the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum that no lecture, appearance or performance by any speaker or performer at the Athenaeum is to be videotaped, audiotaped, or otherwise recorded and/or broadcast without the prior written permission of the relevant speaker, performer, or other authorized owner of the intellectual property rights to the event.

  • Anyone requesting permission to record an event is required to submit an “Event Recording Request Form” to Bonnie Snortum, the Director of the Athenaeum, at least 48 hours in advance of the relevant event.

  • It is understood that the speaker, the performer, the Athenaeum, and any other event sponsor, as appropriate, reserve all intellectual property rights for each Athenaeum event.

  • If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact Bonnie Snortum at bsnortum@cmc.edu or at (909) 607-4180.


  • The Athenaeum serves as a gathering place where ideas, inquiry, and fellowship bring students, faculty, staff, other scholars, and nationally prominent speakers together.

  • Attendance at any event may be limited to persons associated with CMC, to the people who signed up for the dinner, or to the maximum number of people allowed by fire regulations.

  • On some occasions the speaker may address the group in another forum or the College may set up a video feed to handle an overflow crowd. All programs at the Athenaeum are filmed. Individuals attending should understand that their image might appear on the videotape.

  • House rules and common courtesy prohibit disruptive actions inside the building during an Athenaeum sponsored program.

  • Time allowing, there will be a period set aside for questions. Students will have priority during this portion of the program.

  • Guests are expected to dress appropriately in all dining rooms. Shorts, jeans, and t-shirts are not acceptable at dinner; more casual attire is acceptable for lunch and tea. No bare feet at any time.