Capitalism: Unlocking Human Potential

FEE Seminar (Ages 18 - 26)
Thursday, May 26, 2016 - Sunday, May 29, 2016
Clemson University | Clemson, SC

Schedule         |         Speakers         |        Travel Info

The advent of capitalism transformed human society with longer lives, higher incomes, social mobility, and the development of a thriving middle class. Most importantly, capitalism changed the way people think about human potential; it gave birth to the notion of universal rights. Join us as we discuss the biggest myths about markets and capitalism, and explore the social, cultural, and moral outcomes of a thriving commercial sector. At this seminar for students 18-26 years of age you will:

  • explore the relationship between markets and morality
  • learn about the virtues of value creation
  • acquire the tool of economic thinking that will help you see the world in a whole new way

The most common response from students after a FEE seminar is, “Why haven’t I heard about these ideas before?”

This is a partner program sponsored by the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism.

If you are ready for 3 days that will change your life, then apply to a FEE summer seminar today! Applications close on March 31, 2016.



Thursday, May 26

  • 2:00 - 5:30 pm: Check-in
  • 6:00 - 8:00 pm: Dinner & Opening Remarks

Friday, May 27

  • 7:45 - 8:45 am: Breakfast
  • 9:00 - 9:30:  Welcome & Feedback Activity
  • 9:30 - 10:15 am: Seven Principles of a Free Society (Lawrence W. Reed)
  • 10:30 - 11:15 am: The Source & Nature of Rights (Craig Biddle)
  • 11:30 - 12:15 pm: Reading Discussion
  • 12:15 - 1:30 pm: Lunch
  • 1:30 - 2:15 pm: Self Interest Rightly Understood (Brad Thompson)
  • 2:15 - 4:00 pm: Free Time
  • 4:00 - 4:45 pm: Discussion
  • 5:00 - 5:45 pm: The Trader Principle (Andrew Bernstein)
  • 6:00 - 7:00 pm: Dinner
  • 7:00 - 9:00 pm: Social (Tiger Town Tavern 368 College Ave)

Saturday, May 28

  • 7:45 - 8:45 am: Breakfast
  • 9:00 - 9:45 am:  Rights-Protecting Government & Objective Law (Craig Biddle)
  • 10:00 - 10:45 am: Trading Game Activity
  • 11:00 - 12:00 pm: Debate: Is Moral Diversity an Asset or a Liability when Making the Case for Capitalism? (Max Borders & Craig Biddle)
  • 12:00 - 2:00 pm: Lunch and Free Time
  • 2:00 - 2:45 pm: History of Capitalism in the 19th Century (Andrew Bernstein)
  • 3:00 - 3:45 pm: Discussion
  • 4:00 - 4:45 pm: Power Corrupts (Max Borders)
  • 5:00 - 5:45 pm: Is Money the Root of All Evil? (Andrew Bernstein)
  • 5:45 - 6:00 pm: Feedback Collection
  • 6:00 - 7:00 pm: Dinner
  • 7:00 - 9:00 pm: Social (Tiger Town Tavern 368 College Ave)

Sunday, May 29

  • 7:45 - 8:45 am: Breakfast
  • 9:00 - 9:45 am: Entrepreneurship & Creating Value (Max Borders)
  • 10:00 - 10:45 am: Moral Defense of Capitalism (Lawrence W. Reed)
  • 11:00 - 11:45 am: Faculty Q&A Panel
  • 11:45 - 12:15 pm: Closing Remarks & Final Feedback collection
  • 12:15 - 1:30 pm: Lunch
  • 12:15 - 2:00 pm: Check out of Dorms



Andrew Bernstein holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Graduate School of the City University of New York. He is the author of The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic, and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire (2005); Objectivism in One Lesson: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Ayn Rand (2008); Capitalism Unbound: The Incontestable Moral Case for Individual Rights (2010); and Capitalist Solutions (2011). He has taught Philosophy at SUNY Purchase, at Marist College, at Hunter College, and at several other New York-area colleges. He has lectured at Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the United States Military Academy at West Point, and many other outstanding universities. He is the 2013-14 Hayek Visiting Scholar at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism at Clemson University, where he is writing a new book, entitled: Heroes and Hero Worship: An Examination of the Nature and Importance of Heroism.

Craig Biddle is editor of The Objective Standard and author of Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It. He is currently writing a book on the principles of thinking in principles. In addition to writing, he lectures and teaches seminars on ethical and epistemological issues from an Objectivist perspective.

Max Borders is the Director of Idea Accounts, Creative Development at Emergent Order. He is formerly the editor at and The Freeman magazine. He is also co-founder of Voice & Exit -- an annual event in Austin dedicated to themes of human flourishing. Max is also the author of Superwealth: Why we should stop worrying about the gap between rich and poor.

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008, after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for twenty years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught Economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its Department of Economics from 1982 to 1984.

He holds a B.A. degree in Economics from Grove City College (1975) and an M.A. degree in History from Slippery Rock State University (1978), both in Pennsylvania. He holds two honorary doctorates, one from Central Michigan University (Public Administration—1993) and Northwood University (Laws—2008).

A champion for liberty, Reed has authored over 1,000 newspaper columns and articles, dozens of articles in magazines and journals in the U. S. and abroad. His writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, among many others. “He has authored or co-authored seven books, including “A Republic—If We Can Keep It,” “Striking the Root: Essays on Liberty,” “The Great Hope,” and “Are We Good Enough For Liberty?” He is frequently interviewed on radio talk shows and has appeared as a guest on numerous television programs, including those anchored by Judge Andrew Napolitano and John Stossel on FOX Business News.

C. Bradley Thompson is a Professor of Political Science at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study Capitalism. He received his Ph.D at Brown University, and he has also been a visiting scholar at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.

Dr. Thompson lectures all over the U.S. and around the world, his op-ed essays have appeared in dozens of newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, and he appears regularly on television and radio. He is a homeschooling father of 3 children and, most importantly, he supports Arsenal Football Club. In a former life, Dr. Thompson played on the 1978 Queen’s University national championship football team in Canada, and in 1980 he placed third in the long jump at the Canadian Track & Field Olympic Trials.


Travel Information

You should plan to arrive at Clemson University (Calhoun Dr, Clemson, SC 29634) no later than 5:00 pm on Thursday, May 26th, and all participants are required to depart by 2:00 pm on Sunday, May 29th.

Plan to fly into Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP). Clemson University is about 45-minutes from the airport, and we will do our best to pick everyone up (including making a run later in the evening to pick up the inevitable stragglers), but we are not guaranteeing transport from the airport to Clemson. Taxi service is available for about a $60 - $100 per trip as well as other shuttle services to and from the airport. If you have any questions about travel to and from the airport, please contact Eric Allison, [email protected].

Please choose a flight that arrives before 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 26th and do not plan to leave the seminar earlier than 1:00 p.m (which means a flight that departs no earlier than 3pm) on Sunday, May 29th.

You will be staying in suite style dorms in a double occupancy room with a roommate that shares a bathroom with another double occupancy room. Linens (bedsheets, pillowcases and towels) will be provided with your room, but you should bring a light blanket if you are susceptible to cold.