Political Economy Programs


The CEPE political economy program encourages students to investigate the relationship between political structures and social outcomes. Our goal is to provide opportunities for students who have an interest in the rationale and effects of public policy to develop the research, reasoning and communication skills necessary to prepare them for graduate programs and "idea" careers. By sponsoring a progressive series of programs from public lectures and reading groups to writing workshops and student research grants we create a community where students can explore and develop their passion for ideas.

CEPE Lecture Series

The CEPE sponsors public lectures by scholars working in the classical liberal tradition field of political economy to discuss their work with the college community. While the Political Economy Lecture Series serves as an accessible means for the general student body to explore these ideas, intimate dinners with the scholars also provides a unique opportunity for selected students and faculty to engage respected scholars and thinkers.

Past speakers have included Michael Shermer, founder of Skeptic Magazine, P.J. O'Rourke, political commentator, and Gad Saad-author of The Consuming Instinct.

CEPE Reading Groups

Our political economy reading groups are weekly meetings of students and faculty- from departments as diverse economics, philosophy, rhetoric, history and classics- interested in exploring how prevailing ideas affect our society. Students interested in reading groups in Fall 2012 should contact the professor designated as the head of the reading group in the list below.

Profs. James Frusetta (History) and Jennifer Dirmeyer (Economics)- The Art of Not Being Governed

Prof. Patrick Wilson (Philosophy)- John Locke's Second Treatise on Government

Tuesdays-lunch-11:30. What are the advantages of government over anarchy? How does a government gain legitimacy? Is the role of government to promote virtue or only to protect people's property? Under what circumstances is a revolution obligatory? Locke addresses these and other fundamental political questions in his Second Treatise of Government. Join the Locke Reading Group to learn Locke's answers and to find out why he so deeply influenced the American founding fathers.

Prof. James Arieti (Classics)

Communicating Ideas Contest

The CEPE sponsors writing contests on two blogs: Explanatory Power, a forum for exploring how economics helps us understand the world we live in, and Because., a forum for unraveling philosophical puzzles. By offering prizes for the best essays and answers posted by students we encourage students to take the first steps in presenting reasoned arguments for the critique of their peers.