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Stuart Diamond Advance September 2011
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Sept. 13 Talk To Explore ‘Trust and the Financial System’

Posted on Monday, September 05, 2011 [11:10 PM]

COLUMBIA, Ky. -- A discussion about the U.S. financial system prompted Stuart Diamond to explore the issue of trust.

Diamond, who is a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Visiting Fellow, was listening to a roundtable discussion by U.S. leaders about how trust is central to the nation's financial system.

"As I listened carefully, I wondered whether any of these people had thought about this in any depth," he said in a phone interview.

Diamond will talk about "Trust and the Financial System" at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the Lindsey Wilson College W.W. Slider Humanities Center Recital Hall. His talk -- which is part of the 2011-12 Lindsey Wilson Cultural Affairs Series -- is free and open to the public.

"Trust is a common, universal phrase always used when people talk about the financial system," Diamond said. "Yet I wondered, If you really explored the question, could anyone answer it in-depth?"

Since the beginning of the Great Recession in September 2008, a deficit in trust in the U.S. financial system has been a recurring theme in critiques of the crisis.

Trust "certainly was one of the factors," Diamond said. "The more you examine it, it becomes fascinating how the system is based on people's trust in it."

Although the United States averted a complete financial meltdown in September 2008, Diamond noted there is no special reason why the U.S. economy -- specifically the dollar -- is immune from a collapse if citizens lose trust in the system. As he noted, about 4,000 currencies have failed throughout history.

"So the fact that our financial system could fail, it is in the realm of possibility," he said. "It's happened 4,000 times before, and much of it has to do with the crisis of trust, people's lack of belief in the system."

In addition to speaking on college campuses, Diamond has also worked with U.S. banks about the issue of trust in the financial system. But at first glance, he may appear a somewhat unlikely person to lecture on economics and financial systems.

Diamond is a graduate from Haverford (Pa.) College with a degree in music and philosophy, and a master's degree in fine arts from Sarah Lawrence (N.Y.) College. His career has included a broad range of professions, including business leader, entrepreneur, producer, writer, journalist, composer and musician. He is co-founder of Empowered Media, an Internet company that creates original media, distribution strategies and proprietary software.

Diamond's diverse career is a testament to the other reason he will be at LWC -- to extol the virtues of a liberal arts education.

"I have my degrees in music and philosophy," he said. "How I got to be teaching and talking economics to major financial institutions with no degrees in any of this is exactly the point" of the strength of a liberal arts education.

A liberal arts degree is even more helpful in a age of great uncertainty because of the intellectual tools it equips graduates with, Diamond said.

"A liberal arts background is going to give you adaptability and flexibility … in a world that is changing faster than we can ever imagine," he said. "Most of the jobs that today's students will be doing in the future don't even exist yet, but they will be able to do them if they have a well-rounded liberal arts education."

Stuart Diamond will discuss "Trust and the Financial System" at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the Lindsey Wilson College W.W. Slider Humanities Center Recital Hall. His talk is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the LWC Office of Academic Affairs at info@lindsey.edu or (270) 384-8030.

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