The United States was founded on the principles of natural rights, equality, and classical republicanism, but how well did it actually live up to these ideals? In this lecture, Professor Rob McDonald of the US Military Academy at West Point describes the conflict between the ideals of the American Revolution and the unfortunate realities of the time.
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Have you ever stopped to think about the incredible risks the Founding Founders took when they rebelled against British authority? They were starting a war with the greatest military power of the time even though they did not have a mighty fighting force themselves. And they were fighting for a type of government that most people thought was impossible. In this video mini-course, Professor Sarah Burns of the Rochester Institute of Technology explains the historical and philosophical context of the American Revolution from the changing role of the British army in the colonies to Radical Whig theory.
What happens when governments default on their debts? In this video, Professor Garrett Jones of George Mason University uses the Greek government debt crisis to explain what happens when governments default on their debts and why it's not always a bad thing.
How should we understand Ayn Rand’s political philosophy? In this video, Professor Jennifer Burns of the University of Virginia argues that Rand belongs to the classical liberal tradition.
Economics is built on the premise that humans act rationally, but everyone behaves irrationally some of the time. Is it possible that human irrationality nullifies economic theory? Join Professor Antony Davies of Duquesne University and Erika Davies of George Mason University as they take you on a crash course of behavioral economics, discussing topics like rational choice, heuristics, nudging, and public choice economics.
Americans make up around four percent of the world population and yet they control over 25% of the world’s wealth. If that wealth were shared evenly across the globe, couldn’t we solve the problem of global poverty overnight? In this video, Professor Matt Zwolinski of the University of San Diego explores how best to end poverty for good.
This course is an introduction to economics for non-majors and political economy, with an emphasis on the moral and ethical problems that markets solve, and fail to solve. Taught by Professor Michael Munger of Duke University, this course includes full length lectures, links to readings, and a sample final exam.
The Institute for Humane Studies has partnered with the authors of the textbook Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know about Wealth Creation and Prosperity to help teach students why economic understanding is essential for life in today's society. With videos and quiz question corresponding to each element, this collection can be used as a study guide for "Part 1: Twelve Key Elements of Economics".
Do you think that a majority vote is always the fairest way to reach a consensus? Think again! In this video, Professor Diana Thomas of Creighton University explains that it is very easy for a savvy politician to dictate the winner of a vote using Condorcet’s Paradox.
People say the government has a debt problem, but what causes federal government debt? In this video, Professor Antony Davies of Duquesne University traces the root cause of government debt to find out if the problem is too much spending or too little government tax revenue.
Professor Matt Zwolinski of the explains philosopher Peter Singer's drowning child thought experiment and explains why its moral may not be as clear cut as it appears.
Presumably you've already made plans for surviving a zombie apocalypse, but have you thought through the important economic factors that might make the difference between surviving and losing your brain to one of the walking dead? In this video, Professor Anthony Davies of Duquesne University discusses how a zombie apocalypse would affect the price of gasoline, the supply of money, and the economy as a whole.
This reading list examines the different perspectives of philosophers such as Robert Nozick, G.A. Cohen, and Derek Parfit on income equality and encourages students to consider whether and why equality matters.
Philosophers across many different ideologies argue that equality is an important human ideal. But what type of equality should we strive for? In this lecture, Professor Mark LeBar of Florida State University reviews four different kinds of equality and the obstacles in achieving them.
In this video, Professor Don Boudreaux of George Mason University explains how the price system is able to coordinate the behavior of billions buyers and suppliers in a great chain of global cooperation.
Trade benefits both buyers and sellers, but what happens when the transaction affects a third party? In this video, Professor Michael Munger of Duke University defines the term externality and explains different ways to solve the problem of externalities.
Many people are concerned with growing income inequality, but according to Professor Antony Davies of Duquesne University, there are a lot of misconceptions about inequality. In this lecture, Professor Davies explores five common myths about inequality, covering topics like profit, types of equality, and the standard of living.
According to Professor Bryan Caplan of George Mason University, many people suffer from "anti-foreign bias", believing that countries should prioritize goods made within their own borders and limit immigration to preserve jobs for citizens. In this video, Professor Caplan explains how trade and immigration actually increase wealth for everyone.
The story of John Horse and the Black Seminoles has been largely untold, but according to Professor Amy Sturgis of Signum University, it deserves to be remembered. Not only did they create the largest haven in the U.S. South for runaway slaves and lead the largest slave revolt in U.S. history, but they also secured the only emancipation of rebellious slaves prior to the U.S. Civil War. In this video, Professor Sturgis tells the incredible story of the Black Seminoles.
According to Prof. Don Boudreaux of George Mason University, free trade is nothing more than a system of trade that treats foreign goods and services no differently than domestic goods and services. In this video, Professor Boudreaux defines free trade and protectionism and provides real world examples of free trade.
Friedrich Hayek was undoubtedly one of the most important classical liberal thinkers in modern times. Throughout his career, he sought to illustrate the importance of liberty to human flourishing. This reading list provides students with an introduction to Hayek's work on liberty, from the knowledge problem to his famous book The Constitution of Liberty.
Economist Russ Roberts once remarked, "How strange it is that we live in the richest society in human history and we don't teach our children how we got to be the richest society in human history." We are unbelievably wealthy, yet most of us give little thought to what it takes to create that wealth. This video course, featuring Professor Dan Russell of the University of Arizona, explores the nature of wealth and the institutions that help us create it.
Professor James Stacey Taylor of the College of New Jersey discusses the contributions of philosopher and economist Adam Smith to the Scottish Enlightenment. Smith is best remembered as the father of modern economics, but he also made important contributions to philosophy in his book "The Theory of Moral Sentiments".
Professor James Stacey Taylor of the College of New Jersey discusses the contributions of philosopher, historian, and economist David Hume to the Scottish Enlightenment, with a particular focus on sentimentalist philosophy.
Professor James Stacey Taylor of the College of New Jersey discusses the contributions of philosopher Francis Hutcheson to the Scottish Enlightenment, especially his contributions to the sentimentalist approach to morality.
If you were a government official trying to raise revenue, who would you tax? Pick whether to tax cigarettes, luxury goods, or oil and gas in this interactive game and Professor Art Carden of Samford University will explain how the market will react.
Today people often believe that classical liberalism is all about free market economics, but according to Dr. Stephen Davies of the Institute of Economic Affairs, this definition misses the mark. In this lecture, Dr. Davies explains three key insights from classical liberalism and how the ideology has influenced how we approach subjects like history, economics, and even psychology.
The US government debt is now bigger than the debt of any other government in human history. It is so big, that it is hard to comprehend just how big it is. This immersive 360 degree video helps illustrate the scale of the debt while Professor Antony Davies from Duquesne University breaks down the debt and explains its implications.
Between 1840 and 1860, fur trappers used to say there was no law west of Leavenworth, Kansas. So how did more than 300,000 people avoid bloodshed and chaos when they crossed the American plains on the Oregon Trail? In this video, professor and cattle rancher P.J. Hill explains how the pioneers used contracts resolve disputes and keep the peace.
Income inequality in America is a serious issue. People are worried about a widening gap between the rich and the poor in the United States. But is the global story the same? In this video, Professor Tyler Cowen of George Mason University explains how globalization is affecting income inequality worldwide.
The Austrian School of Economics produced some of the 20th century's most influential economists including Israel Kirzner, Ludwig von Mises, and Nobel Prize winner Friedrich Hayek. This reading lists provides an introduction to the ideas of Austrian Economics, from the knowledge problem to the role of the government in the economy.
The question of income inequality has become a key issue in contemporary politics. What caused the distribution of wealth in America to become so lopsided in favor of the 1%? What are the best ways to even the playing field? How can society best help its poorest? Does inequality even matter? The Institute for Humane Studies asked two professors-- Professor Steve Horwitz, economist at St. Lawrence University, and Professor Jeffrey Reiman, philosopher at American University- to answer questions about wealth, fairness, inequality in the United States. This is their debate.
Is private property just? In this lecture, Professor Chris Feiman of the College of William and Mary presents some of the major philosophical challenges to private property.
Edward Snowden's revelations about government surveillance of private citizens sparked debate around the world about the trade off between privacy and security. The Institute for Humane Studies invited Professor Ronald Sievert of Texas A&M and Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation to answer questions about government data collection. This is their debate.
Where do rights come from? In this lecture, Dr. Bill Glod of the Institute for Humane Studies explains the two approaches that philosophers use to derive rights, consequential and deontological, and their ability to provide a strong argument in favor of rights.
Economics assume that exchange happens voluntarily, but sometimes exchange results in spillover effects called externalities. In this video, Professor Sean Mullholland of Stonehill College defines externalities and explains both public and private solutions to the problem.
Robert Nozick was one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, but according to Professor Chris Freiman of the College of William and Mary, he is frequently misunderstood. In this lecture, Professor Freiman gives an overview of Nozick’s political philosophy.
Paradoxically, while natural disasters clearly destroy wealth, they also seem to create wealth and employment when the damages are repaired. But 19th century French economist Frédéric Bastiat argued that this idea is a fallacy and fails to take opportunity costs into account. In this video, philosophy professor Dan Russell of the University of Arizona defines opportunity costs and explains the importance of Bastiat’s realization on contemporary economics.
In this lecture, Professor Howie Baetjer of Towson University explains how the market process generates improvements in the human condition, highlighting how profit and loss serve to help people channel their activities in creative and socially useful directions.