In 2004, the Liberty Fund began partnering with organizations to host small, Socratic-style conferences focused on themes of liberty and responsibility in economics, among others. Recently, the Acton Institute and the Liberty Fund hosted the “Liberty, Markets and Responsibility Colloquium.” The multi-day event brought together professors in economics, journalism and politics, as well as religious leaders, community activists and two Acton staff members, including external relations officer Kayla Kaseska.
The small group spent the weekend addressing the relationship among freedom, markets and culture and “discussing (and sometimes disagreeing on) economic theories and debating if and how capitalism can survive,” explained Kaseska. “Attendees were put in a circle with a discussion leader who provided historical context to each reading, managed the queue of speakers and submitted questions for the attendees to consider.” For this particular colloquium, Victor Claar, associate professor of economics at Florida Gulf Coast University, was the facilitator. “He kept the group engaged while creating a friendly and thought-provoking atmosphere,” said Kaseska.
“The highlight for me was watching respectful debate and hearing different perspectives on economic theories and policy,” shared Kaseska. “But no matter the background, we all came out with the same agreement: free markets are the way to create a flourishing economy, but they must be sustained by a moral society.”