Student Book Club Explores Free Market Economic Principles

By Andrew Garrison | 04/10/2024

Tags: Bulletins | Economics | Phil-Smith
Categories: Academics | Faculty/Staff | Students

Phil Smith Book Club

During the fall and spring semesters, College of Business students had an extra-curricular opportunity to learn about free market economic principles, one of the pillars of the Phil Smith Center for Free Enterprise. Each semester, a group of students from economics courses met once a week to discuss a chapter of a book centered on the dangers of unneeded regulation. The book of choice for the past academic year was Socialism Sucks. Authors Robert Lawson and Benjamin Powell, shed light on countries that use socialism, or collective ownership of factors of production, and the resulting economic fragility that ensues from it. The two economists previously spoke to Florida Atlantic students and shared their thoughts in a podcast on "The Unfree World" with Dean Daniel Gropper, PhD. In discussing the book, students learned about the main pillars of economic freedom, which ultimately facilitate economic growth.

Economics is often a subject that appears abstract or reserved only for debates on philosophy. However, economics is at work all around us, in numerous different forms.The Phil Smith Book Club’s purpose is to foster an environment where the exchange of ideas can flourish.

“I feel as though I found the greatest source of comfort from being a part of a book club where discussion is inevitable and plentiful.” 

                                             ~Maria Stern, student 

Discussions were engaging and lively, with many students from diverse backgrounds sharing their experiences in countries mentioned in Socialism Sucks. If ever students do not see eye-to-eye with the authors’ take on economic issues, they were free to voice their opinion. One of the best aspects of the book club is that full agreement is not a prerequisite to participate. The objective is to put forth data that supports the idea that limited government intervention and free markets ultimately go hand in hand with economic growth. Conversations based on these ideas were encouraged and were frequent. The book club's intention is for students to take what they have learned about taking a voyage through the “unfree world” and apply it in their daily lives.

 “I am grateful to Mr. Garrison for providing an opportunity beyond the classroom for his students to investigate economies and economic practices."

~Noah Forman, student 

In addition to deepening understanding of different economic structures, it is a sincere hope that students will not just be willing participants in modern conversation but thought leaders beyond the walls of the College of Business.

“In an environment that encourages diverse school of thought, I was able to deepen my understanding of political philosophies such as socialism and capitalism, all while developing a keen desire to dive deeper into the subject of economics. Professor Garrison not only ignited this passion beyond the four walls of a classroom but in an unlikely place: a book club.

~Nirva Menezy, student

The Phil Smith Book Club will return in the Fall with a new book to discover. If you are interested in joining, feel free to contact club advisor and Phil Smith Director Andrew Garrison: