Economist Michael Munger to give free enterprise talk March 18

Michael Munger, a renowned economist and political theorist at Duke University and a former candidate for the office of governor of North Carolina, will visit Western Carolina University on Wednesday, March 18, as part of the Free Enterprise Speaker Series.

Michael Munger

Michael Munger

Munger will present a talk titled “The Coming Middleman Revolution” at 4 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of A.K. Hinds University Center. The talk is open to the public free of charge.

Munger will address the “middleman revolution,” which is expected to result in a society where people reduce transactions costs, share goods and services, and simply use physical things more efficiently, resulting in an economy built upon the notion of purchasing the services of items rather than buying the actual items.

“Middlemen are often misunderstood, undervalued and even criticized, but Munger’s talk will show the productive and beneficial roles that they play,” said Edward J. Lopez, WCU professor of economics and BB&T Distinguished Professor of Capitalism.

In addition, Munger also will hold a one-hour seminar with WCU’s economics and political science and public affairs faculty about his research on “euvoluntary,” or truly voluntary, exchange, which addresses issues of price gouging, anti-gouging laws and the morality of markets.

Munger received his doctorate in economics at Washington University in St. Louis in 1984. Following his graduate training, he worked as a staff economist at the Federal Trade Commission. His first teaching job was in the economics department at Dartmouth College, followed by appointments in the political science department at the University of Texas at Austin (1986-1990) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1990-1997). At UNC, he directed the master’s degree program in public affairs, which trains public service professionals, especially in city and county management.

He moved to Duke in 1997 and was chair of the political science department from 2000 through 2010. He has won three university-wide teaching awards and currently is director of the interdisciplinary Philosophy-Politics-Economics Program at Duke. His research interests include the morality of exchange and how legislative institutions work in producing policy.

For more information, contact Lopez at 828-227-3383 or