Distinguished Economist and Novelist Discuss the US Economy

San Miguel Literary Sala presents:
Jeff Faux’s The Servant Economy: Where America’s Elite is Sending the Middle Class
and John Warley’s A Southern Girl
Also: Big Read Launch Event The World Has Changed by Alice Walker
Thu, Jan 8, 5pm
Hotel Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15
100 pesos, 50 pesos for Literary Sala members

Jeff Faux

By Carole Schor


The January Literary Sala is pleased to present two writers talking about the great divide between the haves and the have-nots. Jeff Faux is a distinguished economist who will tell us how the current economic disaster was created and will suggest some ways we can fix it (maybe). John Warley will read from his new novel about the American South, which also deals with the divide between the rich and the poor.

Jeff Faux

Jeff Faux founded the Economic Policy Institute in Washington DC, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow. His latest book, The Servant Economy: Where America’s Elite is Sending the Middle Class (Wiley; June), is a chilling look into where the US is headed if it keeps on going the way it has been.

According to Faux, unless the citizens of the United States (both Democrat and Republican) rid Washington of big money and return wealth to the hands of all the American people (instead of just the one percent), the results will be tragic for the next generations. “Our much-touted service economy will become a ‘servant’ economy. Debt-laden 20-something college graduates will enter their 30s and 40s still juggling dead-end jobs. Personal dignity will go the way of decent pay. Life at work for most Americans will return to what it was before the New Deal: insecure, underpaid, and subject to the daily humiliations of an economy to benefit of the rich and powerful.”

Faux knows whereof he speaks. He is a former economist for the US Departments of State, Commerce, and Labor and former director of economic development for the US Office of Economic Opportunity. He has written and taught about a variety of economic and political issues, from the global economy to local community neighborhood development, and from monetary policy to political strategy. Jeff doesn’t limit his diatribe to the Republicans or Tea Partiers. He finds equal fault with the liberals and Democrats who have turned a blind eye to the economic disparity between the one percent and the rest of us. He advises even the Democrats to build “a political movement that is willing to take on centrists in primary fights, to refuse to support the party’s grand bargains that undercut working people, and to take the risk of sitting out elections where there is little distinction between the candidates of different parties. In short, a strategy that forces the party to act in the interests of the majority it claims to represent.”

Regarding US relations with Mexico, Faux has written extensively about the failure of NAFTA, which has resulted in lost American jobs and lower wages, a chronic US trade deficit with Mexico and Canada, and the millions of desperate immigrants driven across the border by NAFTA’s destruction of small business and agriculture in Mexico. “By now the evidence is clear that NAFTA’s benefits went to the rich and powerful in each country while ordinary people paid the costs.”

With the campaign season for the next US presidential election poised to begin, we are privileged to have someone like Jeff Faux here in San Miguel to tell us the real story of American politics and economics.

John Warley

Celebrated novelist John Warley’s latest book, A Southern Girl, also highlights the struggle between the classes. The novel portrays the rich from the privileged society of Charleston’s South of Broad enclave; the poverty-stricken back alleys of Seoul, South Korea; the jungles of Vietnam; and the stone sidewalks of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where Warley came to live and to write.

About this novel, novelist Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides; Beach Music) says: “John Warley’s marvelous novel, A Southern Girl, is the best book I’ve ever read about Charleston’s mysterious and glittering high society. Its affirmation of the enduring power of parental love vying against that enigmatic realm is reverential and stunningly original, as stylish as a novel by John Irving and as tightly written as one by John Grisham. I wish I’d written this book.”

John Warley is a native of South Carolina, a graduate of the Citadel and the University of Virginia School of Law. He practiced law in Virginia until 1993 when he moved to Mexico to write and teach. Now a full-time writer, Warley divides his time between Beaufort, South Carolina, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

The Old South has long been a goldmine of characters and plots for writers like Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) or William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Margaret Mitchell, and Kathryn Stockett (The Help). Maybe it has something to do with the heat and the humidity, the clash of white against black, or the history of the Civil War and slavery, but all of this has created a distinct and special sense of place for writers and readers. The South has always provided a vivid backdrop for stories about colorful characters from the heights of wealth to the depths of slavery and racism. Warley, like his predecessors, has used it as a stage for a story about long-held Southern values of family and tradition pitted against the realities of the rest of the world where real life is not so cultured or privileged, but hard and gritty.

Join us on Thursday, January 8 at 5pm at the Hotel Aldea for two memorable presentations and a complimentary wine reception. Admission is 100 pesos; 50 pesos for Literary Sala members.


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