Free Enterprise Speaker Series event focusing on morality, free market

Two free market economists will visit Western Carolina University on Monday, Oct. 5, to discuss morality, big business and economic inequality as part of the Free Enterprise Speaker Series.

Economics professors Eric Schansberg of Indiana University Southeast and Stephen Miller of Troy University will present “Are Free Markets Christian? Is Christianity Free Market?” from 4 to 5:15 p.m. in Room 101 of the Forsyth Building. The event is free and open to the public.

The discussion is timely with the visit to America by Pope Francis, said Edward J. Lopez, BB&T Distinguished Professor of Capitalism and professor of economics with WCU’s College of Business. The pope has been critical of big business and its treatment of labor and the environment.

“This discussion will grapple with issues like the morality of markets and governments, the social duties of Christians, and the perceptions and misperceptions of population growth and globalization,” Lopez said. “The pope’s critics say he doesn’t understand basic economics and naively advocates a communist socialism. But his defenders say he actually promotes an egalitarian capitalism, in which government authorities guarantee economic freedom for all and not just for a privileged minority.”

Schansberg, an evangelical Christian, is active in public policy circles and author of “Poor Policy: How Government Harms the Poor” and “Turn Neither to the Right nor to the Left.” Miller, a Roman Catholic, is a researcher on labor and economic issues, income inequality and fiscal policy, and is director of the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy. Miller also was, until this past spring semester, a WCU associate professor of economics.

The discussion is sponsored by the WCU Free Enterprise Club and the BB&T Moral Foundations of Capitalism Programs. For more information on this or other series events, contact Lopez at 828-227-3383 or