The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism

Communicating Capitalism:
Exploring the Morality of Markets

• What is the moral basis for a free market?

• How do individual rights function in a capitalist society?

• How can I communicate these ideas effectively?

The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism is pleased to announce that it will be holding its ninth annual summer conference for undergraduate and graduate students on Liberty, Free Markets and Moral Character over Memorial Day Weekend 2015 (May 21 - May 24) on the campus of Clemson University in Clemson, SC. We are happy to be co-hosting this event again with the Foundation for Economic Education.

History has made it clear that capitalism is the best economic system for creating material efficiency and prosperity. But to win the battle of ideas in favor of free markets, it’s necessary to communicate why capitalism is the best economic system morally. At this conference, you’ll explore the moral justifications for capitalism offered by different schools of thought, and learn to effectively communicate the principles of a free society.


More Information:

Conference Schedule

Thursday, May 21

2:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Dorm Room Check-in
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Check-in and Dinner

Friday, May 22
9:00 am – 9:30 am: Welcome and Evaluation Activity
9:30 am – 10:15 pm: What is Classical Liberalism?, TBA
10:30 am – 11:15 am: Self-Interest Rightly Understood; C. Bradley Thompson
11:15 am – 11:30 am: Break
11:30 am – 12:15 pm: Group Discussion on Assigned Readings (Ethical Bases for Liberty)
12:15 pm – 1:30 pm: Lunch
1:30 pm – 2:15 pm: A History of Capitalism; Andrew Bernstein
2:30 pm – 3:15 pm: A Moral Defense of Capitalism; Lawrence W. Reed
3:30 pm – 4:15 pm: Group Discussions on Lectures
4:30 pm – 5:15 pm: The Source and Nature of Rights; Craig Biddle
5:30 pm – 6:15 pm: Contrasting Other Ethical Bases for Liberty; TBA
6:15 pm – 7:30 pm: Dinner
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm: Social

Saturday, May 23
9:30 am – 10:15 am: Rights-Protecting Government and Objective Law; Craig Biddle
10:30 am – 11:15 am: Principles of Free Market Economics; Lawrence W. Reed
11:30 am – 12:15 pm: Group Discussions: Assigned Reading
12:15 pm – 2:30 pm: Lunch and break
2:30 pm – 3:15 pm: Social and Public Policy Implications of Capitalism; Andrew Bernstein
3:30 pm – 4:15 pm: Changing Culture through Communication; C. Bradley Thompson
4:30 pm – 5:15 pm: How to Advance Liberty; Lawrence W. Reed
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Writing and Public Speaking Workshops
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm: Dinner
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm: Social

Sunday, May 24
9:00 am – 9:45 am: Presentation, TBA
10:00 am – 11:00 am: Group discussion on Communication
11:15 am – 12:00 pm: Debate: "The Path to Liberty: Philosophic or Pragmatic?"
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm: Evaluation Activity
12:30 pm – 1:15 pm: Lunch
1:15 pm – 2:00 pm: Faculty Q&A/Closing Remarks



Andrew Bernstein

Andrew Bernstein holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Graduate School of the City University of New York. He is the author of The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire (2005); Objectivism in One Lesson: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Ayn Rand (2008); Capitalism Unbound: The Incontestable Moral Case for Individual Rights (2010); and Capitalist Solutions (2011). He has taught Philosophy at SUNY Purchase, at Marist College, at Hunter College, and at several other New York-area colleges. He has lectured at Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the United States Military Academy at West Point, and many other outstanding universities. He is the 2013-14 Hayek Visiting Scholar at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism at Clemson University, where he is writing a new book, entitled: Heroes and Hero Worship: An Examination of the Nature and Importance of Heroism

Craig Biddle

Craig Biddle is editor of The Objective Standard and author of Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It. He is currently writing a book on the principles of thinking in principles. In addition to writing, he lectures and teaches seminars on ethical and epistemological issues from an Objectivist perspective.

Lawrence Reed

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008, after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for twenty years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught Economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its Department of Economics from 1982 to 1984.

He holds a B.A. degree in Economics from Grove City College (1975) and an M.A. degree in History from Slippery Rock State University (1978), both in Pennsylvania. He holds two honorary doctorates, one from Central Michigan University (Public Administration—1993) and Northwood University (Laws—2008).

A champion for liberty, Reed has authored over 1,000 newspaper columns and articles, dozens of articles in magazines and journals in the U. S. and abroad. His writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, among many others. “He has authored or co-authored seven books, including “A Republic—If We Can Keep It,” “Striking the Root: Essays on Liberty,” “The Great Hope,” and “Are We Good Enough For Liberty?” He is frequently interviewed on radio talk shows and has appeared as a guest on numerous television programs, including those anchored by Judge Andrew Napolitano and John Stossel on FOX Business News.

C. Bradley Thompson

C. Bradley Thompson is a Professor of Political Science at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study Capitalism. He received his Ph.D at Brown University, and he has also been a visiting scholar at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.
Professor Thompson has published five books, including 
Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea
Freedom and School Choice in American Education
• and the award-winning John Adams and the Spirit of Liberty;
He is currently writing two books, one on “The Ideological Origins of American Constitutionalism” and another to be entitled “Our Killing 
Schools: How America’s Government Schools are Destroying the Minds and Souls of our Children.”
Dr. Thompson lectures all over the U.S. and around the world, his op-ed essays have appeared in dozens of newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, and he appears regularly on television and radio. He is a homeschooling father of 3 children and, most importantly, he supports Arsenal Football Club. In a former life, Dr. Thompson played on the 1978 Queen’s University national championship football team in Canada, and in 1980 he placed third in the long jump at the Canadian Track & Field Olympic Trials. 


Feedback from Past Years

“This conference was one of the most interesting and intellectually stimulating experiences I have had—I had the opportunity to meet and engage in intelligent discussions with other students who had my passion for learning, for philosophy, and for the use of reason.” - 2010 Attendee

“The conference was an incredible experience; it is easily the best weekend of my life….The sheer amount of content packed into the lectures was spectacular” - 2010 Attendee

“Everything I wished my college education would have been.” - 2007 Attendee

“Without a doubt, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I don’t think that I got much more than 3 hours of sleep on any given night. Each day was completely stocked to the brim with profound discussions, as well as lectures that were among the best that I have had the pleasure of experiencing. “ – 2009 Attendee

“I cannot begin to explain how refreshing it was to hear professors and students advocate values other than relativism and collectivism.” – 2009 Attendee

“This conference left me more personally and morally enlightened than I have ever felt leaving one of my college classes.” – 2009 Attendee

Printable conference flyer



This year's conference is co-sponsored with the Foundation for Economic Education: