ACRE Reading Group

Spring 2018:

The Capitalist/Pre-Capitalist Mentality – Monday Nights, 5:30-7:30pm

Was America founded by self-sufficient farmers or by producers and consumers intimately connected to vibrant and complex local and international markets? When did colonists move from an informal community-based economy to capitalism? Or were they capitalists all along? Historians’ long debates over these questions has seeped into part of our beliefs about life in early America. Participants will read and discuss important works by leading scholars that examine the role of agriculture, markets, and the “empire of goods” in the evolution of America’s founding. We’ll explore questions such as: Was anyone in early America really self-sufficient? What was the role of markets in the lives of most colonists? Was there “a moment” when capitalism appeared? What kinds of goods were colonists interested in buying? How did this world of goods contribute to the American Revolution?

Freedom and Human Flourishing: Poverty, Prosperity & Quality of Life around the World – Tuesday Nights, 6-8pm

Participants will read and discuss work by scholars such as George Ayittey, Daron Acemoglu, Bill Easterly, and Deirdre McCloskey that examine the role of personal freedom, markets, and culture in promoting human flourishing. We’ll explore questions such as: Why are some nations prosperous while other remain impoverished? How should we measure socio-economic progress? What role does foreign aid play in helping the poor? How has the quality of life changed over time around the world? How do government policies and markets affect our well-being?

Additionally students who participate in this reading group will have the opportunity to participate in a joint summit hosted by Southern Methodist University on February 16-17, 2018.

Want to check out our past reading group topics? Click here!