The Wabash College program in philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) will host a colloquium on Capitalism and Freedom, the seminal book by Milton Friedman, with a handful of events on Feb. 17-18 in Baxter Hall.
The colloquium commemorates the 60th anniversary of the book’s publication by providing a forum for critical examination and re-evaluation of its ideas and legacy. In the original preface to Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman traced the book’s origin to a series of lectures he gave at Wabash in 1956.
The colloquium will honor the impact of the book and highlight Wabash’s connection to the original idea by using PPE’s interdisciplinary approach to inspire thoughtful dialogue from multiple and differing perspectives. Further, student engagement is a key component of the colloquium’s scheduled events.
“It is important to honor the book and to do so in a way that helps students to see the importance of a multifaceted approach,” said Nicholas Snow, assistant professor of economics and the Tom and Anne Walsh Professor of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. “Friedman likely would have been among the first to recognize the importance of open dialogue and multiple perspectives within the role of freedom.”
Highlighting the event will be a pair of keynote addresses, one by Michael C. Munger, professor of political science at Duke University, and the other by Adam Kotsko, assistant professor in the Shimer Great Books School at North Central College. Munger’s talk, “Is Capitalism Sustainable?” is scheduled for Feb. 17, while Kotsko’s address, “Beyond Capitalist Freedom,” is slated for Feb 18.
The keynotes, along with a panel discussion on Feb. 18, are open to the public.
Because the colloquium was envisioned as a student-centered opportunity, there are two text seminars geared toward majors and other interested students, allowing them to think critically and discuss openly the themes and impacts of Freidman’s work. In addition to the keynotes and panel discussion, students will be reading selections from the book and discussing those in two group sections, one led by Dr. Munger and the other by Dr. Kotsko, ensuring differing perspectives on Capitalism and Freedom.
“Our guest scholars come at the material with different disciplinary tools in their toolkits,” said Jeffrey Gower, assistant professor of philosophy. “These events allow the colloquium to provide a forum for students, as well as the larger community, to reflect on the College’s contribution to the legacy of Capitalism and Freedom by engaging in open discussion and debate that is at the heart of the Wabash experience.”
The Capitalism and Freedom Colloquium is sponsored by the James Lau ’73 PPE Fund. Additional support is provided by the Wabash Public Policy Project. Recordings of the keynotes and panel discussion will be available at a later date on the College’s Whenever, Wherever Wabash page, the digital hub that connects to alumni, parents, and friends to campus events and experiences.
Capitalism and Freedom Colloquium Schedule
(*All public events in Baxter Hall, room 101)
Thursday, February 17
7-8:30 p.m. *Keynote Address, Michael Munger, “Is Capitalism Sustainable?”
Friday, February 18
8 a.m. Breakfast
9:30-10:45 a.m. Text Seminar
Noon-1 p.m. *Keynote Address, Adam Kotsko, “Beyond Capitalist Freedom”
2:15-3:30 p.m. Text Seminar
4:15-5:30 p.m. *Panel discussion on education and the distribution of income