Conference Topic

Economics

FEATURED CONFERENCES

Economic Progress and Institutions

This conference focused on creating a discussion around the central issue of why some countries reform and prosper while others stagnate. Conflicting views on the explanations—cultural, geographical, and institutional—were relied upon to promote a robust and thoughtful discussion.

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Hayek on Individual Liberty and the Market Economy

Although he is one of the most important classical liberal thinkers of the twentieth century, Hayek is not well known or read in Latin America. In this colloquium we read selections from some of Hayek's most well-known books and articles for a Latin American audience.

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Freedom, Development, and Poverty

In Latin America, poverty and critical social inequalities have been constant problems since even before those countries’ independence. Using the elimination of poverty and social inequality as justification, some governments in the region are taking measures against the private sector, reducing freedom within mass-media, culture, education, and, of course, within…

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ALL Economics CONFERENCES

Externalities, Liberty, and the Role of the State

Different theories of externalities have different implications for the feasibility of individual liberty, the institutions necessary to further it, and the role of the state. Ever since Pigou, externalities have been the major explanation of market failure and a major justification for state intervention. But are all externalities relevant? What…

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Monetary Stability and the Structure of the Federal Reserve System

When originally conceived, the structure of the Federal Reserve System was intended to accommodate many of the key aspects of American political and economic life. At the heart of that understanding was a certain appreciation for regionalism and the distinctiveness of American federal structures. It was thought eminently possible to…

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The Foundations of a Free Society

The conference examined the political economy foundations of a free society, beginning with the basic economic underpinnings of a free society. We explored the Anglo-American and French Enlightenment philosophical foundations of classical liberalism; the resulting adoption of common law in England and civil law in Western Europe; and the institutionalization…

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Risk Aversion, Ignorance, and Institutions of Liberty

This colloquium examined the influence of individual emotional dispositions and cognitive capacities on individual liberty and on understandings of economic and political institutions. In particular, we examined arguments about the emotional and cognitive basis of institutional design in present-day democracies.

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Hayek and von Mises on Liberty, Socialism, and Interventionism

Mises and Hayek made significant contributions about the instability and feasibility of socialism and economic interventionism, and yet, they are still unappreciated in many parts of the world, particularly in Latin America. We discussed the work on socialism from these two great thinkers and discussed the implications for political economy…

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Liberty, Responsibility, and Community in the Work of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom

The Bloomington School has enormous relevance for our understanding of economic and policy analysis in Latin America, in particular in the areas of resource governance (common-pool resources), polycentricity, the need to adopt a new and multidisciplinary approach, and the elaboration of a new method for the analysis of institutional change…

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Liberty and the Exploitation of Natural Resources

This conference explored the role of non-renewable natural resources in economic development and the consequences such exploitation may have for freedom in Brazil.

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Understanding Capitalism from the Evolution of Capital Theory

Conferees explored the evolution of capital theory and how we can advance our knowledge of a capitalist society using the debates about the theory of capital.

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Frank H. Knight on Economics, Social Science, and Liberalism

Conferees considered Knight's understanding of the nature of economics and the social sciences, the role of uncertainty in economic calculation and human decisions, the importance of discussion in politics, the relation of religion to liberalism, and the future of liberalism by reading his essays and excerpts from his books.

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Karl Brunner’s Contributions to Liberty, Political Economy, and Monetarism

The conference examined Karl Brunner’s (1916–1989) major contributions to knowledge: methodological individualism, the role of institutions, and the monetarist revolution of the second half of the last century. The conference concentrated on Karl Brunner’s contributions to the political foundations of a free society and avoied technical economics.

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Interpreting the Great Depression

The conventional narrative of the Great Depression in the US is that Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal rescued the nation from a catastrophic failure of the capitalist system. However, classical liberal critiques of this history have raised serious questions about how effective government action was during the Great Depression. This conference…

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Entrepreneurship from Schumpeter to Manne

The conference discussed key texts that span the Schumpeterian, Chicagoan, and Austrian insights on entrepreneurship, with special focus on the contributions of Henry Manne.

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Globalization, Culture, and Liberty

The conference investigated the historical origins of what is today called "globalization," the economic and cultural impacts of globalization on a multicultural society, and the effects of globalization on individual liberty.

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The Expert and the Free Society

This conference explored the problematic role of the expert in the free society. Under what circumstances does the expert pose a threat to liberty? Is his role most threatening to democratic process, individual freedom, or both? What are the proper limits to be placed upon the prescriptive power or influence…

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Henry Hazlitt and Economic Freedom

Henry Hazlitt is the author of the most widely read economics textbook ever, Economics in One Lesson, and is arguably the most important public intellectual in the Mises-Hayek tradition, especially given his prolific contributions in the popular press. This conference intends to broaden our examination of Hazlitt’s work in economics…

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Liberty and the Philosophy and Practice of Money

This conference examined the role of money in a free society by comparing and contrasting the two views of money outlined by S. Herbert Frankel: First, that money is a spontaneous order that is integral to a free society, and second, that money is a consciously created artifact controlled by…

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Liberty, Property, and the Morality of Markets

This conference examined the relationship between free markets, private property rights, and ethics. In particular, the conferees investigated how capitalism is grounded in, and contributes to, a moral order.

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Markets, Ethics, and the Evolution of a Moral Society

This colloquium explored Adam Smith’s vision of a moral society, linking these eighteenth-century ideas with those of his contemporaries and with modern scholars.

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Liberty, Politics, and Economics in the Thought of James Buchanan

The colloquium combined two previous conferences on the thought of James Buchanan: "Liberalism that Lasts—Liberty and Responsibility in Buchanan's Economic Philosophy" and "James M. Buchanan's Legacy for Liberty," with readings selected to reflect Buchanan's multidisciplinary approach to the study of social relations.

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Benjamin A. Rogge on Economics and Education

This conference examined a selection of Benjamin Rogge’s essays dealing with economic freedom and education. All selections were taken from two Liberty Fund publications: Can Capitalism Survive? and Education in a Free Society.

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Monetary Freedom and Liberal Order

By reading the main theoretical contributions by Lawrence White, George Selgin, Tyler Cowen, and obviously Milton Friedman, along with some historical articles, conferees delved deeper into the subject of free banking to compare and contrast the different points of view on the subject. Is free banking an artifact of the…

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Mind, Meaning, and Economics

Economics and the humanities are often perceived to be fundamentally disconnected. This colloquium explored how we might better integrate economics and the humanities.

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The Institutional Underpinnings of a Free Society in the Works of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom

This conference explored the thoughts of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom, including such ideas as polycentricity, voluntary association, federalism, and local control. We addressed whether the Ostroms were primarily pragmatic problem solvers or truly committed to the preservation of a free society.

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Liberty, Prosperity, and the Unseen in Smith, Bastiat, and Hayek

This conference for younger scholars examined the foundation and working of the market through the writings of Adam Smith, Bastiat, and F. A. Hayek. We also examined the philosophical foundations for private property and the Anglo-American tradition of property rights, as well as the problems posed by common pool resources.

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Hayek and Friedman on Liberty, Economics, and Democracy

Although both economists, Hayek and Friedman, shared a common set of values in the promotion and defense of individual liberty and the limited role of the state, they had some methodological and political differences. This colloquium explored the similarities and differences between them with a special emphasis on Hayek's political…

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In Search of a Monetary Constitution Revisited

This symposium brought together two contributors to the 1962 book In Search of a Monetary Constitution with a group of younger scholars in various fields of monetary economics to write and discuss essays revisiting the question of a monetary constitution fifty years later.

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Smith, Ricardo, and Marx on Markets in a Society of Free and Responsible Individuals

The conference examined the foundational roots of ideas, both critical and affirming, of markets and capital development in the classical economics texts of Smith, Ricardo, and Marx.

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Economic Liberty and Centralization in the European Union

This two-session conference focused on economic policies and some of the history of the European Union and its relationship to liberty. Among some contemporary writings, speeches from Margaret Thatcher were used to help appreciate how some of the concerns of the past can be used to explore present economic conditions…

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The Economic Calculation Debate

This conference explored one of the central debates of the twentieth century: the debate over economic calculation. This conference focused on the nature, reach, and implications of the arguments in support of the superiority of a market economy over a planned economy in that regard.

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Classical Liberal Economic Thinking in Brazil

This conference was about the thought of Professor Eugenio Gudin Filho (1886-1986), a highly influential precursor of sound economic thinking in Brazil. The idea was not to have a discussion with an emphasis on the person and circumstances of Professor Gudin, but to focus on his ideas about inflation (a…

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Discussion Seminar on Exchange – 50th Anniversary Conference

The conference repeated the original April 1964 “Discussion Seminar on Exchange” organized by Mr. Goodrich, with discussion led by Professor Rogge. The purpose of this colloquium, as in the original, was to explore the characteristics of a market economy and its ethical foundations.

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Modern Monetary Theory and Populism

This conference explored the most recent restatements of the “State Theory of Money,” the neo-chartalist school, currently referred to as “Modern Monetary Theory” or MMT. MMT policies are being touted today as the potential source of resources for their big spending proposals by government, notably, the ones intended to address…

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David Graeber’s “Debt: The First 5,000 Years”

This Socratic Seminar was based on David Graeber's book Debt: The First 5,000 Years, plus a short selection from Felix Martin's Money: The Unauthorized Biography. The importance of these two books is to be found in their efforts to promote a discussion on the nature of money.

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Spontaneous Orders and Experimental Economics

This conference linked together the findings from experimental economics with the concepts of spontaneous order discussed by thinkers from the Scottish Enlightenment and further expressed later by Hayek. The format involved both readings and short demonstration experiments.

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Liberty, Knowledge, and the Economic Process

One of the most fundamental insights in economics is the role that prices play in coordinating human action. For the Austrians, however, the emphasis is placed on the price system as a knowledge communication process. This conference invited humanities scholars with particular interest in issues of communication to consider economics…

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Liberty and Responsibility in Business and Beyond: Business Ethics for Better or Worse

Businesses often feel duty bound to declare themselves in line with one or another program of social, environmental, or global stewardship. The conference explored these demands and measured them against the ethical demands already imposed by markets.

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Gary Becker and the Economic Approach to Human Behavior

This colloquium explored Gary Becker's economic approach to human behavior. Participants contrasted Becker's approach with the more traditional view of economics as a method defined by the problems it tackles, as well as with the behavioral view according to which the failings of rationality play a central role.

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Markets, Banks, Panics, and Nineteenth-Century American Economy

This conference considered questions of liberty and responsibility as they emerged in the United States in the three most famous economic panics of the first half of the nineteenth century.

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Liberty, Responsibility, and Progress in the Writings of Friedrich Hayek and Amartya Sen

This conference compared and contrasted major writings by Friedrich Hayek and Amartya Sen.

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Liberty, Violence, and Social Orders

This conference focused on how humans overcame their violent pasts and nurtured the political and social institutions to become freer and more prosperous.

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Freedom in Banking and the Founding of the Federal Reserve

This conference examined the establishment of the Federal Reserve System, focusing on the role of economic freedom, on the one hand, and government intervention, on the other, with an eye toward either enhancing or undermining financial order and stability.

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Liberty, Democracy, and Government Growth: The Role of Interests and Ideology

This conference was concerned with why governments have grown beyond the size and scope that can be reasonably considered consistent with the liberty and prosperity of their citizens, and why it is so difficult to reverse government growth once it has occurred.

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Adam Smith’s Legacy in Political Economy

The 240th anniversary of the publication of The Wealth of Nations provided an occasion to celebrate and discuss some crucial aspects of Smith's legacy in political economy and its relevance for economics, ethics, politics, and the social sciences in general.

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Ludwig Lachmann and the Market as an Economic Process

A small Socratic of four sessions, conducted largely with people both familiar with Lachmann and expert in a variety of aspects touching on economic and historical theory considered The Market as an Economic Process, Lachmann’s last and most considered work on the nature of economic science and its implications.

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Markets, Entrepreneurship, Ethics, and Distributive Justice in Israel Kirzner

The conference focused on three of Israel Kirzner’s major works: Market Theory and the Price System (1963), Competition and Entrepreneurship (1973), and Discovery, Capitalism and Distributive Justice (1989), in order to explore the importance of Kirzner's contributions to the study of markets.

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Big Business and the Free Society

Business professionals and civic leaders discussed the validity of common arguments against markets in general and big business in particular, with Tyler Cowen's recent book, Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero, as the main reading.

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The Americas in Adam Smith and His Contemporaries

This conference explored how much the available knowledge about the Americas referred to in his works may illuminate us about the premises of many of Smith's cosmopolitan ideas about economy and society, as well as the possible tensions between the benefits of a larger market and the costs of achieving…

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Liberty, Property, and the Environment

While the case for reliance on property rights and market institutions is strong with regard to natural resources, there is some question as to whether they are equally capable of addressing pollution concerns. This conference discussed if reliance on property rights and market institutions are not equally capable, must other…

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Energy and Economics

This conference was built around a series of readings from the economics literature examining energy issues, especially William Stanley Jevons’s 1865 book, The Coal Question, which founded the field of mineral economics as the first systematic economic analysis of energy issues. Focusing attention on Jevons’s analysis reintroduced a historical perspective…

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Beyond Politics

This conference was based on the book Beyond Politics and used the reviewed and updated second edition just published. The conferees discussed the parallel developments of applying economics to politics and law.

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Smith, Hume, and Political Economic History

The conference re-created a conversation between Adam Smith and David Hume, in which they asked questions central to a discussion of how to create a free and ordered society, by reuniting their lessons on economic history.

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Defunct Economists and Practical Preachers: The Anti-Corn Law League

In contemporary democracies, it seems virtually impossible for classical liberal proposals to secure victory. This conference looked at the success of the Anti–Corn Law League as a case study in free-market policy success.

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Stakeholders versus Shareholders: Primacy in Corporate Governance

This virtual conference examined contrasting views on where the fiduciary obligations of corporate managers rests. That is, whether primacy should be given to the shareholders or to all stakeholders.

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The Crisis of Abolition: Monetary Reform and Instability During the Republican Transition in Brazil

This conference examined some of the key variables of the financial crisis that followed the abolition of slavery in Brazil, an institutional break that constituted the moment of triumph and tragedy of classical liberalism in Brazil.

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Liberty, Prosperity, Entrepreneurship, and the Freedom to Fail

Scientific, technological, and economical progress requires trial and error, and sometimes failure. Many individuals, however, seek to improve society by eliminating or "overcoming" the risks that citizens face. The conference examined the relationship of risk taking and failure to a free society.

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Public Finances, Democracy, and Empire in Classical Athens

The aim of this conference was to explore the intended and unintended effects that the financial transformation of Athens had on its democracy, especially whether the desire for revenue extracted from other members of the Delian League (i.e., the Athenian Empire) corrupted the Athenian commitment to liberty at home and…

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Liberty and the ‘Money Trust’

Distrust and suspicion of the Money Trust has been prevalent throughout much of United States history, extending from commercial banks, which take deposits (and in the past issued banknotes), to investment banks. The colloquium, directed by Professor Jeffrey Hummel, explored the history of these disputes, from the founding of the…

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Independence and Economic Freedom in the New Granada

This colloquium explored the economic ideas and intellectual influences on the principles in the fight for Colombian independence. Specifically, we sought to explore how this battle for political independence was animated by a desire for individual liberty, economic freedom, and political rights.

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Liberty and Entrepreneurship in Markets and Politics

This conference explored the nature and importance of entrepreneurship both in economic and political realms. It examined the theory that entrepreneurship is important not only for understanding why some countries have prospered and why some remain immersed in misery and poverty, but also for understanding why the institutional differences between…

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Questions About Liberty and Responsibility at the Federal Reserve System Centennial

This conference was on the history of the Federal Reserve at its centennial and an opportunity to step back and reconsider the rationale for central banking.

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Choice and Liberty in the Writings of Dr. Arthur Seldon

This colloquium repeated the successful colloquium on Seldon’s writings, using Liberty Fund’s Collected Works of Arthur Seldon as the text.

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Liberalism that Lasts—Liberty and Responsibility in Buchanan’s Economic Philosophy

In view of the passing of James M. Buchanan, the goal of this conference was to conduct a sympathetic yet critical study of Buchanan's work and his contributions to the free society. The vast majority of the readings were selected from Liberty Fund's Collected Works series.

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Chile and Liberalism

The conference addressed the sources of Chile’s success, using paramount liberal examples that influenced its political and economic history in order to explain why Chile is often referred to as an "exception" among Latin American countries.

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Liberalism and Capitalism

This symposium considered twelve original papers on topics related to the relationship between the core normative principles of liberalism and the economic institutions of free market capitalism. Discussion questions also examined how and whether a regime of liberty and limited government can survive alongside policies of redistributive taxation, extreme regulatory…

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Questions of Liberty and Responsibility in Current Topics on Corporate Governance

This conference focused on contemporary issues in corporate governance as they play out in Brazil. We discussed the extent to which some controversial topics of corporate governance relate to the institutional arrangements best suited for a society of free and responsible individuals.

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Wealth, Happiness, and Liberty in Modern Economic Debate

This colloquium focused on the problem of happiness as it has been dealt with in political economy since the time of Adam Smith. This conference for young scholars was a repeat of an earlier conference for nonacademics.

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Liberty and the Commerce and Culture of Cities

This colloquium explored the nature of the modern city and how it related to the development of liberty in the present age. In particular, we compared various developments among cities both East and West across Eurasia to evaluate the extent to which they share common commitments to freedom and economic…

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Liberty and the Intellectual Roots of Modern Market Economics

This conference focused on the contributions made to economics by the Late Scholastics, a group of European intellectuals who wrote in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Scholastics understood economics as a method of evaluating human action, and they applied insights derived from moral philosophy and theology to the rising…

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The Principles of Economic and Political Liberty and Public Policy in Milton Friedman

This conference commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the publication Capitalism and Freedom and examined the intellectual foundations of Friedman's understanding of the role of government, markets, and business in session one. Session two examined some of his most important policy recommendations, including school vouchers and the negative income tax.

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Diverging Views on Capitalism and Money in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Germany

Conference participants examined the treatment given to capitalism in general and money in particular by representative German thinkers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Germany's transition from a backward society to a political entity integrated in the global economy offers lessons not only for Brazil and other developing countries, but…

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The Political Economy of Wilhelm Roepke

This colloquium focused on four of Wilhelm Roepke's main intellectual concerns: the business cycle, the growth of the welfare state, the relationship between employment and inflation, and international economic relations.

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Economics and Liberty in Film and Fiction

This conference examined readings, films, and television adaptations that look at the way commerce and enterprise are portrayed in the nineteenth century and today. It looked at works that defend and articulate the “bourgeois ethic” and others that sharply criticize them. All of these works are also concerned with the…

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Liberty and Social Order in Ludwig von Mises’ “Human Action”

This conference explored main themes of Mises' Human Action through selected readings. Among the themes to be examined were praxeology, ideology, economic calculation under socialism, and government intervention in the market.

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Ideas on Economic Freedom

Businesspeople and other civil-society decision makers read works of six twentieth-century thinkers—Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, and Julian Simonto—to examine the intellectual case for economic freedom and market capitalism.

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The Role of Economics in Understanding Religion

This conference looked at the role and practice of religion in today’s world through the lens of economic theory. Our areas of exploration included the incentive effects of establishment, the impact of a competitive marketplace for religious ideas, and the contrasting economic and religious explanations of what appears to be…

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Socialism

Less than thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1990, socialism is at the center of political discussions in many European countries as well as the United States. Conferees discussed the historical roots, development, and ideas at the basis of…

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Buchanan’s “Cost and Choice”

Among the principal schools of thought that have attempted to refine the initial marginalist advance in explaining the subjective nature of value and the proper understanding of price is the Austrian economic school during the socialist calculation debate. This conference sought to elucidate this important issue through focusing on James…

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The Foundations of Economic Freedom

This conference gathered a new generation of classical liberals to meet and discuss the philosophical underpinnings of economic freedom. We aimed not to explore the pitfalls and potentialities of the empirics involved, but rather the constitutive elements of economic freedom in general.

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Anticapitalist Mentality, Entrepreneurship, and Envy

Conferees discussed the reasons why, and the extent to which, the nature of the market process is misunderstood. A central question was whether traditional economics is partially to blame for ignoring entrepreneurship and the degree to which envy factors into anti-market biases.

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Responsibility in Financial Reporting

This colloquium explored the relationship between financial reporting and the maintenance of a society of free and responsible individuals. Two broad questions were discussed: Why is financial reporting difficult, and what do its difficulties mean for a free society?

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Success and Failure in American History

The pursuit of material prosperity is at the heart of the American experience, and from the colonial period onward, people have embraced what is now known as the American dream. This colloquium examined the linkage between success and failure in the context of general questions about liberty and responsibility. What…

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Rationality, Irrationality, and Liberty in the Thought of Vilfredo Pareto

Conferees explored the relationship between rationality/irrationality and freedom in Vilfredo Pareto's economic, sociological, and political writings, focusing on his account of the political and social transformation of a liberal democracy by the mass politics out of which fascism eventually emerged.

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Liberty, Luxury, and Wealth

This colloquium reflected on various conceptions of wealth and luxury. The most important questions with respect to the topic were: What is the relation between liberty, luxury, and wealth? Is wealth a vice or a virtue? How are wealth and luxury to be understood?

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The Legacy of James Buchanan

The weeklong colloquium introduced a group of advanced graduate students and young Phds to the work of James Buchanan, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 1986 for his contributions in developing the field of "public choice," or simply "the Virginia School" of economics.

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Do Economics and Business Studies Advance Liberal Education and a Free Society?

Economics and business studies are in high demand among college students, and these disciplines are often touted to them as paths to employment. Approximately one quarter of university degrees awarded today are in business; this dramatic increase has been accompanied by a simultaneous decline in liberal arts degrees. This colloquium…

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The Post-Welfare State and Liberty

This three-session conference served as a roundtable discussion to explore questions about the sustainability of the welfare state, what the post-welfare state might look like, and what challenges and dangers a transition out of the welfare state may hold for liberty.

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Political Economy and Freedom in Ludwig von Mises’s ‘Lost Papers’

The seminar considered Mises's views and policy recommendations in the period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, its fall, the consequences of war, the Great Depression, and the world after the fall of Nazism.

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The Politics of Business and the Business of Regulation

This conference focused on the debates about the place and efficacy of governmental regulation of business.

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An Inquiry on Sound Money and Trade in Ferdinando Galiani’s Works

This conference was based on Galiani's Della Moneta, a book with insights and analysis well above his time, and on Dialogues on the Grain Trade, his most famous work. We assessed Galiani's claims of natural law as a foundation for understanding money and trade and as a justification for sound…

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Free Trade and Liberty

Conferees reconsidered the fundamental principles of free trade in order to assess this central tenet of a free and self-ordering society by reviewing the interventionist debate from its early mercantilist roots to present policy controversies.

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Liberty, Politics, and the Process of Market Transformation in East Central Europe

This colloquium examined to what extent the systemic change from socialism to a free society in East Central Europe was under the control of policy makers, and why they made the kinds of decisions they did. In the course of this investigation, the conference explored the role of government in…

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Hayek and Buchanan on Institutions and Liberty

This conference explored Friedrich Hayek's and James Buchanan's understandings of economic and political ideas and institutions. The conference approached their writings from a comparative perspective in order to explore the differences and similarities in their thought in regard to liberty in society.

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The Morality of Markets and Its Political Implications

This conference brought together Chinese scholars, among others, to discuss issues both relevant to and contentious in China, since it is now standing at the crossroads of capitalism and socialism, post-totalitarianism and liberal democracy.

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Islam, Economic Liberty, and the Future of Business

This conference explored the theoretical and historical foundations of commercial activity in the Islamic World and how these have influenced current developments in economics and business.

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Dollarization, the Euro, and the Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom about Monetary Sovereignty

Conferees discussed different cases in which a sovereign country has adopted the United States dollar (or the euro) as its currency, in order to examine the validity of the arguments in favor of monetary nationalism.

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Property, Informal Property, and Freedom

In this conference we reviewed the reasons behind the growth and evolution of the informal sector in the developing world, re-examined de Soto's work, and discussed some research that addresses how nations have changed their domestic policies to try to address informal property arrangements.

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“The Calculus of Consent” and Classical Liberalism

This conference explored the historical and theoretical background and implications of The Calculus of Consent and public choice theory for classical liberalism, especially with regard to majority-rules democracy.

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James Buchanan’s “Logic of Constitutional Liberty”

This conference marked two occasions: the tenth anniversary of the first volume in the Liberty Fund publication of the Buchanan series, and Buchanan's own ninetieth birthday. Rather than a simple retrospective of Buchanan’s most famous writings, the colloquium included some newer materials, to reflect Buchanan's continuing engagement and the development…

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Financial Regulation, Economic Freedom, and Liberty

Because of the European financial crises, a new wave of regulations were proposed to solve the problem. This conference looked at general financial regulation, and in various forms, assessed the efficacy of such regulation and its implications for liberty.

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Liberty and Responsibility in the Thought of Milton Friedman

Readings for this conference offered a survey of Milton Friedman's career as economist, policy analyst, and public intellectual. The final session examined a variety of perspectives on his work.

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Educating on Capital and Liberty

This colloquium explored the nature and relationship of all forms of capital as they relate to ethics, the university, corporate flourishing, and liberty in a free society.

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Measuring Political Freedom: Theory, Practice, and Implications

Measures of economic freedom do not touch on notions such as freedom of expression or the differences between negative and positive freedoms. This colloquium focused on the question of how to accurately measure what could be called “autonomy” freedom.

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Liberty, Vocation, and Responsibility in the Work of Max Weber

On the centenary of Weber's two "vocation lectures" ("Science as a Vocation" [1917] and "Politics as a Vocation" [1919]), conferees used these works, along with others by Weber, to explore the important place the idea of a "calling" had in Weber's overall thought, and how this concept related to his…

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Symposium on Business Cycles and the New Economic Reality

This symposium examined different approaches to business cycles. The conference discussed the extent to which the introduction of new financial instruments, the greater role of communication, and new industrial techniques have changed the assumptions of economics, either from the Austrian or the neoclassical perspectives.

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War, Deficits, and Liberty

This Liberty Fund conference explored the interrelation between war, deficits, and liberty. The conference approached this topic from historical, philosophical, and economic perspectives.

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Market Failure, Government Failure, and Comparative Political Economy

This conference explored issues involved in market failure such as externalities, tragedy of the commons, public goods, and collective action problems, and responses to them.

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Revisiting the Intellectual Contributions of Gary Becker

This symposium revisited Gary S. Becker's diverse intellectual contributions to the study of economics and political economy, and considered the implications of this work for political and economic liberty.

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The Bloomington School, the New Science and Art of Association, and Cultivating Self-Governing Citizens

Elinor Ostrom was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Science (2009) for her pioneering work on institutional governance and the evolution of rules to address the problem of common-pool resources. In this conference, we explored the so-called “Bloomington School” and discussed some of the implications raised by their approach to…

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The Political Economy of Bertrand de Jouvenel

Bertrand de Jouvenel is well known for his writings in political philosophy (many of them published by Liberty Fund), but less well known for his economic writings. This conference examined his lectures on The Ethics of Redistribution and a number of his essays dealing with issues of political economy and…

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Liberty, Prosperity, and the Rule of Law in Smith, Bastiat, and Hayek

This conference was for younger scholars and we examined the foundation and working of the market through the writings of Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, and F. A. Hayek. We also explored the philosophical foundations for private property and the Anglo-American tradition of property rights as well as the problems posed…

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Freedom, Prosperity, and Heroic Entrepreneurship in Economic Debate

The role of entrepreneurs in fostering economic growth and prosperity is seldom contested, and the important role of heroes, or “great men,” in history is widely acknowledged. But are these two concepts one and the same? Ought entrepreneurs to be regarded not as rapacious profiteers, but rather akin to classical…

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Liberty, National Defense, and Government’s Money Prerogative

This conference examined arguments that governments have a legitimate “money prerogative” to monopolize and control currency for the purpose of financing defensive wars, especially for such a prerogative's survival in modern, relatively free societies.

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War and Money in the Original Constitution

The topic for this conference was the Monetary Constitution of the United States, specifically, the “original” Constitution of the United States and its evolution during the first century of the Republic, culminating with the first major constitutional change at the time of the Civil War with the adoption of fiat…

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Wilhelm Roepke on Liberty, Responsibility, and the Crisis of our Time

The colloquium explored Roepke’s views on the dangers of collectivism and welfare state, the nature of modern democracy, and the incompatibility between economic collectivism and political freedom that together constituted a crisis when Roepke was writing in 1950.

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Accounting, Accountability, and Liberty

This colloquium examined the importance of accounting as a tool for corporate governance and the adequate exercise of the fiduciary duties of corporate executives as agents responsible for the private property of their principals. Conferees explored whether widely used accounting standards are effective in promoting efficiency and accountability.

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Juan de Mariana on Political Power, Economy, and Liberty

Discoveries linking Juan de Mariana to the thinking of such important American Founders as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison appear to confirm that the Jesuit philosopher's significance may be more substantial and extensive than heretofore understood. This conference was on the meaning of Mariana's sometimes controversial and still evolving status…

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Liberty, Political Innovation, and the Free Market: Rent-Seeking in China

Studies of rent-seeking have significantly improved our understanding of the political economy in the US; however, new research and better explanations of rents and rent-seeking are particularly needed in analyzing China’s economic development under the political and economic reforms in the last thirty years. This symposium discussed some of the…

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Political Capitalism and Liberty

This conference explored the theory and practice of business-in-government and government-in-business by addressing questions including: What in the nature of business gives rise to the demand for the political means to profitability? Why does government fulfill this demand? Can a better knowledge of the theory and practice of political capitalism…

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Essential Ideas of Free Market Capitalism

This conference will provide an opportunity for businesspeople and other civil society decision makers to examine more closely the intellectual case for free market capitalism. Participants will read the works of six twentieth-century authors: Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, and Julian Simon.

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Liberty, Markets, and the Environment

This conference explored how the principles of liberty, responsibility, and free markets can be used to protect the environment.

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The Communication of Economics

The conference explored issues surrounding the communication of liberty with a special focus upon economic issues. What forms of communication are especially effective both for and against free markets and capitalism? How can the distance between the intellectual conclusions and public appreciation of those conclusions be shortened? Why has there…

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Liberty and Enterprise in Latin America

This conference discussed the potential for Latin America to grow and prosper in the twenty-first century, especially in terms of its potential to attract permanent investment and encourage productive free enterprise.

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Liberty and Responsibility in Polycentric Circles: The Ostrom Legacy

This conference looked at the polycentric and common resource allocation problem approaches of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom together as a single legacy, how they relate together as a common approach, and the importance of that legacy for our understanding of the functioning of the free society.

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The Legacy of Ronald Coase

Ronald Coase is one of the great names in modern economic thought. He was a path-breaker in theorizing about the nature of externalities, transaction costs, and the economics of the firm. This conference explored all the major writings of Ronald Coase.

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Liberty, Rationality, and Human Nature in the Writings of Frank H. Knight

This conference will explore Knight's views on economics and freedom, the role of risk and uncertainty, and the limits of liberalism in a free society.

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Capitalism: Pros and Cons

This conference explored the fundamental issues, pro and con, surrounding capitalism with a group of future business leaders, using works from Smith to Schumpeter, and Marx to Mandeville, to consider classic and contemporary arguments on liberty, markets, equality, and prosperity.

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Basic Principles of a Monetary System – 50th Anniversary Conference

As part of the celebration of Liberty Fund’s fiftieth anniversary, this conference repeated the “Basic Principles of a Monetary System” conference, held in January 1974.

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Liberty, Institutional Size, and ‘Too Big to Fail’ in United States History

This conference addressed the historical development and current debates concerning whether or not large financial institutions are good or bad for the US economy. Do large institutions, with an implicit guarantee of government backing, inevitably introduce moral hazard problems and fail? Or are large financial institutions necessary in today’s complex…

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Constitutions and Contracts in Buchanan’s “The Limits of Liberty”

This three-session conference explored Buchanan’s The Limits of Liberty: Between Anarchy and Leviathan. His project in this volume was “to explain how ‘law,’ ‘the right of property,’ and ‘rules for behavior,’” might emerge from the non-idealistic, self-interested behavior of men.

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The Origin of Wealth and the Future of the Free Society

Conferees examined the origins of wealth as discussed by Beinhocker, Hayek, Turgot, and others in order to understand the sources of wealth and the tentative hypothesis those authors offer that it has to do with today’s extended market order.

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Malthusianism, Resourceship, and Liberty

Conferees explored the intellectual versus real-world debate between the (pessimistic) "Malthusians" and the (optimistic) "Resourceship" theorists, discussing the ability of private property and market exchange to address, and even overcome, "the limits to nature."

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Freedom and Stability in Canadian Banking

Conferees examined the history of Canadian and its lessons for our understanding of the relationship between freedom in banking and financial stability.

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Liberty in the Works of James M. Buchanan

The purpose of this colloquium was to examine some of Buchanan’s central works on ethics, politics, and economics.

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B. R. Shenoy: India’s Experience with Central Planning

This conference looked at the history of India's experience with central planning through the eyes of one of its chief critics, B. R. Shenoy, one of the very few (along with P. T. Bauer and Milton Friedman), who saw the folly of central economic planning in their day.

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Politics, Politicians, and Public Choice in the Work of H. L. Mencken

In this conference we read from some of Mencken's most influential popular works, paired with scholarly pieces from the public choice tradition. Comparing selections gave us the opportunity to explore whether modern public choice theory adequately and accurately captures the richness of Mencken's commentary on the nature of political life.

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Markets, Socialism, and Liberty

Various challenges from socialists in the last few decades have caused classical liberal economists to reconsider and reformulate their defenses of the market. This conference studied these debates to provide insights into the workings of the market economy. The readings provided further insight into the causes of the recession at…

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Liberty, Equality, and the Two Narratives of Political Economy

Conferees evaluated the substance of two questions relevant to understanding the free society: Do scarcity and the imperfections of human life require careful management and direction by experts with technical ability and know-how? Or do the natural forces of order, rightly perceived and allowed to flourish, best sort out the…

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Liberty Responsibility, and Democratic Order in F. A. Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom”

This Socratic seminar aimed to bring together a group of scholars to reconsider F. A. Hayek’s acclaimed 1944 Road to Serfdom. By focusing heavily on Hayek’s classic text, together with a variety of contemporary reactions—favorable and otherwise—insight was gained in explaining the nature of the problem as Hayek understood it.

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Markets and Liberty: From Hayek to Krugman

In the wake of the Great Depression, the economics profession became badly divided when it tried to understand the causes of the worldwide crisis as well as possible solutions to alleviate the economic suffering throughout the world. This debate between F. A. Hayek and John Maynard Keynes continued to rage…

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The Legacy of Milton Friedman

This was a symposium to explore both the academic and the more applied contributions of Milton Friedman over the course of his life.

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Liberty, Production, and Value in “A Treatise on Political Economy” by Jean-Baptiste Say

This was a Socratic seminar on Jean-Baptise Say’s A Treatise on Political Economy. Say’s Treatise is perhaps the most important work of economics in the generation after Adam Smith. In helping us to understand Say, this conference increased our understanding of a nation’s productivity and therefore its prosperity.

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Hume’s Political Economy

This conference explored Hume's thoughts on property, exchange, international trade, money, and limited government.

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John Millar on Liberty and Equality

Though John Millar was perhaps the thinker who best synthesized and developed Hume's and Smith's insights about liberty and society, he has been read far less. In this conference, conferees read all six chapters of the Liberty Fund edition of Millar's The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks, plus some…

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Finances and the Power of Government in Ancient Rome

For this conference, we examined the role that private wealth and public finance played in the demise of Roman republic.

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Risk Management, Financial Crisis, and Liberty

This was a conference on risk and uncertainty in financial markets and the problems they create for an open society in which financial markets are conspicuously present.

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James M. Buchanan on Individualism, Liberalism, and Constitutional Order

This colloquium explored Buchanan's political and constitutional thought for a new generation of European scholars who may not have had the opportunity to fully acquaint themselves with Buchanan's legacy.

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Liberty, Equality, and Redistribution

Whether claims to redistribute resources in society are based on calls for justice, equity, or compassion, differences in wealth and power put pressure on the existing political and economic institutions. This conference discussed the phenomenon of calls for redistribution and greater equality, particularly as they pertain to Latin America and…

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Liberty and Currency: the United States Asset Currency Reform Movement

The colloquium explored the currency reform movements that emerged during the National Banking era following the Panic of 1893. Its focus was on important writings of the movement's leaders, as well as works exploring the reasons for the movement's ultimate failure--as the United States embraced central banking instead of currency…

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Liberty and the Spread of Central Banking

This colloquium addressed the question: how did central banking become the overwhelmingly dominant monetary arrangement worldwide? Participants explored the economic, political, and intellectual forces responsible for the worldwide spread of central banking.

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Mises and Keynes on War, Peace, and Liberty

In the centenary year of both Nation, State, and Economy and The Economic Consequences of the Peace, participants compared and contrasted these important works to see how well their respective arguments and observations have stood the test of time, and what they still have to say about our world today.

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Leadership in a Society of Free and Responsible Individuals

This conference was on the meaning of leadership. We discussed what leadership means for modern free market societies where commerce and commercial institutions play a special role.

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Mechanism Design and Hayek’s Challenge for a Liberal Economic Order

This conference provided an opportunity to discuss the implications of mechanism design within the theoretical context of Mises’s and Hayek’s contributions to the socialist calculation debate, as well as the applied contexts of experimental economics, auction theory, and the allocation of the electromagnetic spectrum in the United States and Guatemala.

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The Philosophy and Economics of John Maynard Keynes

This colloquium provided an opportunity for conferees to closely analyze the philosophic and economic thought of John Maynard Keynes. Reading Keynes’s economics within the framework of his broader philosophic thought shed additional light upon how and why he diverges from classical liberal principles; it also enabled conferees to consider Keynes’s…

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The Economic Societies in the Spanish World

This colloquium analyzed the process of creation of the Economic Societies of Friends of the Country, both in Spain and in Spanish-American countries, by studying their foundational texts and the main debates that took place at their meetings. The discussion was about the principles, proposals, and activities of those societies…

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Liberty and Responsibility in the Thought of Frédéric Bastiat

Frédéric Bastiat has long been regarded as one of the most articulate and persuasive proponents of classical liberalism. This conference explored a mix of best and lesser known writings.

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Liberty in the Political Economy of Douglass North

Conferees explored Nobel Prize recipient Douglass North's conceptions of economic history, economic and political development, liberty, and the state.

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James M. Buchanan’s Legacy for Liberty

This colloquium was designed to study the intellectual contribution of James M. Buchanan to the defense of liberty. To that end, it aimed at reading and discussing some of his main writings on political choice, social morality, constitutions and law, and political economy.

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The Transition from Socialism and the Obstacles to Liberty

This conference investigated the many challenges faced by the countries of Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union during their transitions from the socialist system. The conference explored the differences in the transition processes in various countries and noted the strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches.

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The Legacy of Gordon Tullock

Gordon Tullock was one of the founders of the public choice school of economics, along with James Buchanan. Tullock’s revolutionary work on constitutions, bureaucracies, “rent-seeking,” and many other areas has helped to shape our understanding of the limits of democracy in protecting liberty and securing limited government. This conference explored…

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The Theme of Liberty in Roepke’s “A Humane Economy”

This conference was a repeat of one that was held in May 2001. Roepke’s work (A Humane Economy) delves into a perceived crisis of modernity and Western civilization to include the dangers of centralization and growth of the State.

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The Austrian Business Cycle Theory and Liberty

This short conference was aimed at non-academics with expertise in the finance field and examined the principles of the Austrian theory of the business cycle and their application and relevance in analysis of the financial crisis. Readings included some of Mises’s original writings on the theory, and other classical materials…

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Government and Market in the Crash of 2008

This conference explored the events around the economic crisis of 2008-09, utilizing two main works: the Austrian economics–influenced account of Thomas Woods’s Meltdown and Richard Posner’s A Failure of Capitalism.

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The Gold Standard and Civil Society

This colloquium explored episodes in the history of gold as money, focusing on the connection, if any, between the gold standard and the flourishing of political and economic liberty.

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Economy, Culture, and the Historical Origins of Capitalism

In this conference we examined three contending views of the relationship of markets and culture in the explanation of the rise of capitalism: Joyce Appleby’s Relentless Revolution, Joel Mokyr’s The Enlightened Economy, and Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity.

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Revisiting Milton Friedman’s Main Intellectual Contributions

This symposium revisited Milton Friedman's main intellectual contributions for economic and political liberty.

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The Entrepreneur

Although it is widely recognized today that entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in the economy, such scholarly recognition is a relatively recent development—and the treatment of entrepreneurs in the media and popular culture still seems to belie this recognition. This conference explored the nature of the entrepreneur theoretically, historically, psychologically,…

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Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit in Retrospect

This virtual conference explored how much Knight's insights in Risk, Uncertainty and Profit, one hundred years after it was published, helped us assess the modern theory of entrepreneurship and the role of entrepreneurial activity in a society of free and responsible individuals.

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Classical Ideas on Entrepreneurship

This conference was on the idea of entrepreneurship in Latin America (in general) and Argentina (more specifically) and how it evolved since the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The discussion mainly examined, but not exclusively, ideas on entrepreneurship by Juan B. Alberdi's.

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Global Economic and Geopolitical Risks

This colloquium examined a series of geoeconomic and geopolitical risks that could affect liberty and the fundamental political and economic institutions of a free society.

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Just Price, Competition, and Money in the Late Spanish Scholastics’ Thought

The conference drew the attention of Latin American scholars to a lesser-known tradition of thought among the late Spanish Scholastics that favored competition in free markets without abandoning the religious and theological roots of Scholasticism.

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Politics Without Romance: Democracy, Constitutionalism, and Public Choice

Over the last three decades, public choice theory has emerged as a prominent research agenda in economics and political science that addresses central themes of constitutionally constrained government with the tools of economic analysis. This conference addressed the impact of the public choice school with a particular focus on “classic”…

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Joseph Schumpeter on the Economics and Sociology of Capitalism

Schumpeter is best known for his book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Conferees were introduced to a number of Schumpeter's lesser-known works dealing with the nature, development, and future of capitalism, most of which are collected in The Economics and Sociology of Capitalism.

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Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom

This conference examined Jacob Levy's book Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom, in particular his view that there are two irreconcilable liberal theories—rationalist liberalism and pluralist liberalism—which differ on how to view and treat groups in relation to a free society, and whether groups are a threat to individual liberty or a…

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Manuel Ayau on Liberty and the Fundamentals of Economic Exchange II

In this conference we discussed some of the intellectual influences on Mr. Ayau as well as his own writings.

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Society and Economy in Max Weber and Ludwig von Mises

Weber and the Austrian school of economics have a deep and mutually beneficial relationship. Weber studies and appreciates Carl Menger’s and Bohm Bawerk’s work on economics and methodology and Mises’s work on monetary theory and socialism. In turn, Mises systematically studies and critically engages Weber in both Human Action and…

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Armen Alchian’s Contributions to Liberty, Political Economy, and the Rule of Law

This conference discussed and illuminated Armen Alchian's contributions to understanding the economic foundations of a free society in six major areas: the economics of property rights, the meaning and measurements of output and costs, the theory of the firm, the effects of inflation, the behavior of governments and non-profits, and…

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The Future of Capitalism

It has been argued that the single most important factor to explain skepticism about free markets among the public in general and intellectuals during the twentieth century was the Great Depression. If that is true, may it not be the case that the current economic crisis and the seemingly “efficient”…

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Democracy, Freedom, and Social Change in the Works of Albert Hirschman

Albert Hirschman was one of the pioneers of development economics and an astute observer of how political forces influence economic activity. Hirschman was particularly influential in Latin America, and his book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty is a classic in political economy. We examined Hirschman's work in development economics, political economy,…

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India’s Future: Free Markets and Globalization

This colloquium considered the future of India and its role in the global economy as the nation struggles to secure greater freedom and wealth for the world's second-largest population. The readings placed particular emphasis on the role of a culture of entrepreneurship and democratic reform as necessary foundations for economic…

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Kirzner’s “Competition and Entrepreneurship” at Forty

On the fortieth anniversary of Kirzner's seminal work, this conference sought to revisit its contribution to our understanding of the economics of a free society.

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Vernon Smith’s “Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological Forms”

In this conference we read Vernon Smith's book that discusses the differences among various versions of human rationality described by economics, psychology, neuroscience, and politics. According to Smith, some forms of rationality are more consistent with the promotion and protection of liberty and responsibility, while other types rely on top-down…

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Liberty and Say’s “A Treatise on Political Economy”

This conference gave conferees the opportunity to fully appreciate the integrated and consistent understanding of Say's economic argument by situating it in the broader context of his Treatise, especially as it concerns his thoughts on money, circulation, and entrepreneurship subjects that have not been previously treated together.

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Liberty and Its Limits in the Work of Nobel Laureates in Economics

This colloquium contrasted the arguments of Nobel laureates on liberty and its limits through their reflections on institutions, markets, the role of government, and the rationality of human behavior.

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Economic Inquiry and the Open Society in the Thought of Ronald Coase

This conference examined the thinking of Ronald Coase as it pertains to his understanding of the definition of the field of economics, revealing through both published and unpublished private sources, his developing and highly sophisticated notions of self-interest, bias, and scientific analysis. Through these sources we hoped to elucidate how…

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Frank H. Knight: Intelligence and Democratic Action

The conference examined Frank Knight's understanding of the relationship between social science and the principles of a free society as outlined in selected essays from Freedom and Reform and his last book, Intelligence and Democratic Action.

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Socratic Seminar on Cryptocurrencies and the Future of Money

The conference examined the phenomenon of cryptocurrency: how it relates to traditional forms of money and banking arrangements, what can be envisaged about its future, and what its implications are for the ideal of a free society.

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Argentinean Economic Decline, Political and Religious Culture, and Liberty

This conference explored elements of Argentine history and culture in an effort to help conferees understand Argentina’s unusual economic performance in the twentieth century. It focused particularly on religious and other cultural factors as seen in Argentine history.

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Testing the Limits of Spontaneous Order

Classical liberals have a deep appreciation for the benefits of allowing spontaneous orders to coordinate human behavior, particularly in market settings. However, most classical liberals also believe that there are certain underlying institutions, namely the production of law and its enforcement, which cannot be spontaneously produced in the market. This…

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Austrian Economics and the Methodological Foundations of a Free Society

This colloquium explored the contributions of the Austrian School of Economics to our understanding of a free society, and it also probed differences among leading proponents of that school.

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Liberty and the War on Cash

Participants explored the economic and political implications of trying to eliminate or replace cash and discussed connections between the availability of various payment mechanisms and the flourishing of political and economic liberty.

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War Finance as a Threat to Liberty

This conference examined the problems posed by war finance for a free society. How is the use of money and banking by different governments in times of fiscal crisis motivated by war? Can the issue of war financing illuminate our understanding of the limits of the size and power of…

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Liberty and the Intersection of Culture and Economics

This conference attempted to understand how purposeful human action takes the form that it does in relation to the functioning of market processes. What was the relationship of market rationality to purposes and institutions, or what sociologists and anthropologists have come to call “culture”?

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Interventionism in Nineteenth-Century Brazil

This conference explored the role of financial repression in nineteenth-century Brazil and its consequences for development and freedom in this country.

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Central Banking, Free Banking, and the Gold Standard

This conference discussed whether it is possible to achieve sound money through a Gold Standard. The conference also considered which monetary arrangement linking money production to gold might best perform such a function and how an economy might transition to it.

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United States and Latin America: Explaining the Development Gap

This conference explored the main arguments offered in a book edited by Francis Fukuyama, Falling Behind: Explaining the Development Gap between Latin America and the United States (2008). The articles included in this book look at the causes that prevented Latin American countries from setting political regimes capable of establishing…

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Liberty, Democracy, and Public Choice

Public choice theory explains how democracy works and how institutions such as constitutions can be constructed to produce better social outcomes. The insights offered by public choice methodology could be especially useful in the context of South Asia.

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Liberty and Banking: The British Free Banking School

The colloquium explored the arguments of the leading British free banking advocates of the 1800–1850 period; of their most important predecessor, Adam Smith; and of the people they influenced.

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The Clash of Economic Ideas

The study of the history of economic thought teaches us the ever important (and oft forgotten) lesson that ideas have consequences. The past one hundred years have seen an array of “experiments” in economic policy, varying widely in success and approbation. By examining these experiments in their relation to one…

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Socratic Seminar on Ludwig Lachmann’s “Capital and Its Structure”

This Socratic seminar on Ludwig Lachmann's 1956 Capital and Its Structure was intended to promote understanding of what capital is and how it helps the operations of a capitalist society, providing the material basis for a society of free and responsible individuals.

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Banking and Liberty

This seminar considered and debated the issue of fractional reserve banking, not only from a purely Austrian perspective, but also with the intention to analyze the fundamentals of current financial arrangements in order to better understand the reasons for their instability and the risks it poses for a society of…

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Liberty and the Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy: “The Calculus of Consent” after Fifty Years

This conference assessed the contribution of The Calculus of Consent to our understanding of the processes of rule-making that undergird the constitutional order of a free society. To what extent does Public Choice further the original project of the framing of the United States Constitution? What are the promises and…

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Money and Individuality in Georg Simmel

This was a Socratic seminar on the concepts of money and individuality in Georg Simmel’s The Philosophy of Money. Simmel wrote during the time that the opposed views of Weber’s and Knapp’s (as well as Menger’s and von Mises’s) theories of money were developed. Simmel’s views on money were extremely…

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The Intellectual Legacy of Gordon Tullock

Gordon Tullock considered economics a tool that could be used to study and understand all human activity and even activity in nonhuman societies. The symposium gave scholars from a range of disciplines an opportunity to assess how Tullock's core ideas are advancing our understanding of a free society and continuing…

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Monetary History of Latin America

This conference discussed monetary history in representative countries in Latin America, how they compared with each other in their response to major international events, and the lessons that we derived from those historical events about the most suitable monetary arrangements for a society of free and responsible individuals.

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David Ricardo’s “On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation”

Conferees gave critical attention to Ricardo's thought, especially concerning the complex interrelation of value with the concepts of cost, price, and exchange.

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Big Economic Ideas

The conference examined contemporary relevant ideas of economics and explored the implications of those theoretical discussions for the ideal of liberty in society.

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Behavioral Economics and Liberty: The Role of the State

The emerging field of behavioral economics purports to show that economic actors often act contrary to the assumptions of the homo economicus model. It is still unclear, however, what the normative implications of this body of research are for the case for limited government. The colloquium delved into the details…

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Moral Markets: Ethics, Economics, and Liberty

This conference explored the role of ethics and liberty in the design and functioning of markets. It examined the writings of Adam Smith, as well as modern findings in neuroscience and psychology, to understand what morals are and where they come from. It then related these findings to the functioning…

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Liberty and Economic Policy in the European Union: Past and Future

This conference focused on the economic policies and history of the European Union and its relationship to liberty. Conferees explored how different interpretations of that history lead to different conclusions about both the present economic situation and future possibilities.

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