March 6 — The Rise and Decline of Economic Freedom in the United States
March 26 — The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates
April 6 — The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Market
April 9 — Debate on the Future of the Western Welfare State
September 19 — The Role of Government in a Free Society
October 17 — It's a Small World After All: Globalization, Interconnectedness, and the Wealth of Nations
November 7 — Prison Gangs and Governance: Order in the Criminal Underworld
Robert Lawson, Jerome M. Fullinwider Centennial Chair in Economic Freedom in the O'Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom at Southern Methodist University visited Texas Tech University to deliver a public lecture addressing the decline of economic freedom in the United States in the early part of the 21st century. Citing his research published annually in the widely-cited Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report, Prof. Lawson identified several areas where public policy changes have caused a relative decline in economic freedom in the United States.
Peter Leeson, Professor of Economics and BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at George Mason University visited Texas Tech University to deliver a public lecture, co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science, discussing his research on the law and economics of early eighteenth century piracy. The lecture focused primarily on material from his recent book, The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates.
Thomas Woods, Jr., host of The Tom Woods Show and Senior Fellow at Ludwig von Mises Institute, visited Texas Tech University to deliver a public lecture, co-sponsored by The Texas Tech Catholic Students Association and the Leadership Institute, discussing fundamental economic principles and their consistency with the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching. Dr. Woods laid out a case for recognizing and promoting the moral imperative of "the preferential option for the poor" as being manifest in the institutions of private property, the rule of law and the market economy.
The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization and the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University co-hosted a debate about the future economic feasibility and sustainability of the modern western welfare state. The debate featured Michael Tanner, Senior Fellow at Cato Institute, and Peter Lindert, Distinguished Professor of Economics at University of California at Davis.
Tanner argued that massive unfunded liabilities driven by demographic changes will mitigate against any possible economic feasibility of US government social spending programs in the long run. Lindert recognized the significance of demographic changes as drivers of the long-run cost of government social spending programs. Both participants recognized a fundamental need for structural changes of social spending programs, but disagreed on the long-term economic feasibility of such programs.
Walter Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, visited Texas Tech University to deliver a public lecture discussing the ideal role of government in a free society in light of constitutional principles, the major writings and statements of the Founding Fathers and current trends in political economy. The event, co-sponsored the Office of the Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, drew over 800 attendees from the Texas Tech University and broader Lubbock communities to the Allen Theatre.
It's a Small World After All: Globalization, Interconnectedness, and the Wealth of Nations — October 17
Andrew Young, Associate Professor of Economics and BB&T Scholar at West Virginia University, visited Texas Tech University to deliver a public lecture examining the impact of increased worldwide internet access on comparative institutional quality. Dr. Young cited research that demonstrates the impact that institutional quality has in producing beneficial economic outcomes related to income and a host of other indicators of wealth. This increase in the availability of information due to increased internet access has dramatically expanded the potential for institutional spillovers to develop.
David Skarbek, Lecturer in Political Economy at King's College London, visited Texas Tech University to deliver a public lecture focusing on the history, function and purpose of prison gangs in the United States penal system. Dr. Skarbek cited his research that explains why prison gangs did not emerge as a regular part of the penal system until the second half of the 20th century. As inmate populations increased dramatically during that time, prison gangs emerged as the primary form of governance, primarily to provide security in instances where formal protection is inadequate and to decrease transaction costs for illicit exchange.