Economic journalist Sylvia Nasar told students at Thursday’s Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecture that the world is better off economically now than in previous generations, despite the current recession.
Nasar, a New York Times best-selling author, takes on modern economics in her latest book, “Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius.”
She spoke to nearly 500 people at the Galvin Playhouse on the Tempe campus.
“(Economics) is so central to the world that we live in,” Nasar said.
The “modern economic miracle” began when the standard for living of the bottom 90 percent rose in 1848, she said.
“Every generation since before the Civil War has done better than the previous one, even the generation that started out in the Great Depression,” Nasar said. “There is compelling evidence that your generation isn’t going to be the exception.”
She said students need to understand that what determines the standard of living isn’t what happens in one or two years, but how much productivity and growth there has been in 10 or 20 years.
Nasar said today the typical American has 25 times more resources available to them than the average American at the beginning of the 19th century.
“It’s a remarkable thing,” she said.
The lecture was established in 1989 with an endowment from the Flinn Foundation, said Mark Jacobs, dean of Barrett, The Honors College.
The Flinn Foundation is a private endowment organization established in 1965 by Robert and Irene Flinn to improve the quality of life for future generations in Arizona.
“(The Flinn Foundation’s) generosity has allowed our college to bring to campus several of the world’s most influential intellects,” Jacobs said.
A number of events were held in the weeks prior to the lecture, including various luncheons with Nasar and a screening of the film based on her bestseller, “A Beautiful Mind” by the Barrett Honors College Council, a club that organizes programs and advocacy for honors students.
While at ASU, Nasar visited with professors and students.
“It’s been very inspiring for me,” she said.
She said she was impressed with the enthusiasm and energy of the students she met.
“(Students) are the future,” she said.
Psychology sophomore Kelsey Corallo, BHCC vice president, said the council decided to host a screening of the movie based on Nasar’s book to promote her visit.
“The content she talks about (overcoming obstacles) is important for students to grasp,” Corallo said.
The movie screening, held Sept. 26, had around 100 students in attendance and included giveaways of Nasar’s book, “A Beautiful Mind,” she said.
Corallo said she hadn’t heard of Nasar or her book, but was inspired to learn more, after seeing the movie, “A Beautiful Mind.”
As a psychology major, she found the topic of schizophrenia intriguing, she said.
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