The Market for Ideas Reading Groups

The Market for Ideas Reading Groups provide a forum for students to engage with key texts in economics and related disciplines with a cohort of their peers under the guidance of a Bagwell Center affiliated faculty member. Each reading group will meet for a total of five hours per semester to discuss readings assigned by the faculty member. Student participants will receive the assigned reading materials, plus a $200 honorarium for each reading group completed (each individual student can potentially participate in up to 4 reading groups).

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Remain enrolled as a full-time student in good standing at Kennesaw State University throughout their participation in the Market for Ideas Reading Groups.
  • Attend and actively participate in all scheduled programming.
  • Arrive on time and prepared for each meeting, having carefully read any assigned readings in advance.
  • Participants are also encouraged to attend Bagwell Center events and to build relationships with other participants and Bagwell Center faculty.

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, January 31, 2023.

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Spring 2023 Offerings 

Book: Anthem, Harrison Bergeron, and Animal Farm (3 books)
Faculty Leader: Prof. Michael Patrono
Meeting Dates: 2/21/23, 2/28/23, 3/14/23, 3/21/23
Meeting Time: 2:30pm-3:45pm
Location: KSU’s Main Campus

Book description for Anthem by Ayn Rand: Anthem is a dystopian science fiction novella by Ayn Rand. Mankind has entered a new dark age as a result of the evils of irrationality and collectivism and the weaknesses of socialistic thinking and economics. Individuality and ambition have become sins. Technological advancement is now carefully planned (when it is allowed to occur at all). Here is the story of one man willing to risk everything to rebel against a society that refuses to believe in the power or rights of the individual.

Book description for Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut: It is the year 2081. Because of Amendments 211, 212 and 213 to the Constitution, every American is fully equal, meaning that no one is stupider, uglier, weaker, or slower than anyone else. The Handicapper General and a team of agents ensure that the laws of equality are enforced.

One April, fourteen-year-old Harrison Bergeron is taken away from his parents, George and Hazel, by the government and to a place unknown. But what happens in the aftermath will challenge the status quo and inspire his peers about the hidden potential within one's own individuality.

Book description for Animal Farm by George Orwell: A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus, the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

 When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.



Book:
Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas—Not Less
Faculty Leader: Dr. Timothy Mathews
Meeting Dates: 3/3/23, 3/17/23, 3/31/23, 4/7/23
Meeting Time: 1:25pm-2:15pm
Meeting Location: KSU’s Main Campus

Book description for Fossil Future by Alex Epstein: For over a decade, philosopher and energy expert Alex Epstein has predicted that any negative impacts of fossil fuel use on our climate will be outweighed by the unique benefits of fossil fuels to human flourishing--including their unrivaled ability to provide low-cost, reliable energy to billions of people around the world, especially the world’s poorest people.

And contrary to what we hear from media “experts” about today’s “renewable revolution” and “climate emergency,” reality has proven Epstein right:

  • Fact: Fossil fuels are still the dominant source of energy around the world, and growing fast—while much-hyped renewables are causing skyrocketing electricity prices and increased blackouts.
  • Fact: Fossil-fueled development has brought global poverty to an all-time low.
  • Fact: While fossil fuels have contributed to the 1 degree of warming in the last 170 years, climate-related deaths are at all-time lows thanks to fossil-fueled development.

What does the future hold? In Fossil Future, Epstein, applying his distinctive “human flourishing framework” to the latest evidence, comes to the shocking conclusion that the benefits of fossil fuels will continue to far outweigh their side effects—including climate impacts—for generations to come. The path to global human flourishing, Epstein argues, is a combination of using more fossil fuels, getting better at “climate mastery,” and establishing “energy freedom” policies that allow nuclear and other truly promising alternatives to reach their full long-term potential.

Today’s pervasive claims of imminent climate catastrophe and imminent renewable energy dominance, Epstein shows, are based on what he calls the “anti-impact framework”—a set of faulty methods, false assumptions, and anti-human values that have caused the media’s designated experts to make wildly wrong predictions about fossil fuels, climate, and renewables for the last fifty years. Deeply researched and wide-ranging, this book will cause you to rethink everything you thought you knew about the future of our energy use, our environment, and our climate.



Book:
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Faculty Leader: Dr. James Boudreau
Meeting Dates: 3/15/23, 3/22/23, 3/29/23, 4/5/23
Meeting Time: 11:15am-12:05pm
Location: KSU’s Main Campus

Book description for Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman: System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation―each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives―and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Topping bestseller lists for almost ten years, Thinking, Fast and Slow is a contemporary classic, an essential book that has changed the lives of millions of readers.

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