On March 1-2, seven members from Trinity University’s conservative community attended a conference with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) in Fort Worth, TX. Undergraduate college students had to apply with an essay and be accepted into this conference, which they attended free of charge. The conference, entitled “Markets and Morality”, centered around the moral implications of capitalist systems, and involved several lectures by experts in their fields.
Bishop Davidson, an Associate Regional Director for Student Programs and Outreach for ISI, gave his insight on the conference.
“We certainly have our own beliefs, but we know those beliefs ought to be discussed and tested”, said Davidson, speaking about the purpose of ISI as an organization. “ISI would like to be a community for students serious about ideas.”
“ISI was a great learning experience, especially for those interested in economics and philosophy”, said Emma McMahan, a Trinity sophomore who attended the conference. “My favorite part of the conference was Dr. Rachel Ferguson’s lecture about David Hume and his criticism about John Locke’s idea of property rights.”
In addition to Ferguson’s lecture, conference attendees also heard from speakers such as Dr. Tawni Hunt Ferrarini, a professor at Lindenwood University, who spoke very concretely about the importance of free markets, and how government failure must be taken into account when considering market failures. Students also listened to a talk given by Dr. Jayme Lemke of George Mason University, in which she aimed to prove the importance of having women in the workforce, in control of their own finances. The dinner keynote address was given by Jonathan Butcher of the Heritage Foundation. Butcher informed his listeners about education savings accounts and the great possibilities that can be achieved when families can use their educational funds towards the child’s best interests.
The aim of the conference was to challenge minds to think about the way markets operate in a new light.
“In truth, markets aren’t merely efficient, morality should be a part of the conversation, and there are good, moral reasons to support the free market,” stated Davidson. “We hoped to put a more holistic view of markets forward, especially during a time when the morality of the free market is being justifiably questioned by many young people in America”.
The overall idea perpetuated by all of the talks, and the lesson that attendees took home, was that economic growth can only happen when room for freedom is allowed, and when citizens are permitted to acquire and utilize their resources as they please.