The Foundations of a Free Society


The conference examined the political economy foundations of a free society, beginning with the basic economic underpinnings of a free society. We explored the Anglo-American and French Enlightenment philosophical foundations of classical liberalism; the resulting adoption of common law in England and civil law in Western Europe; and the institutionalization of classical liberalism and French Enlightenment, via common law and civil code, into Anglo-American and Western European capitalism.


Conference Readings

Brubaker, Elizabeth, “The Common Law and the Environment: The Canadian Experience” In Who Owns the Environment?, edited by Peter J. Hill and Roger E. Meiners, 87-118. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998.

Friedman, Milton and Rose Friedman. Free To Choose. New York: First Harvest, 1990.

Gwartney, James, Robert Lawson and William Easterly. Economic Freedom of the World: 2006 Report. Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 2006. (accessed November 9, 2009).

Hayek, F. A. New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Hayek, F. A. The Constitution of Liberty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

Huntington, Samuel P. “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (Summer 1993): 22-49.

Libecap, Gary. Contracting for Property Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Madison, James. "Property." University of Chicago . (August 26, 2009).

McChesney, Fred S.. “Government as Definer of Property Rights.” The Journal of Legal Studies (June 1990): 297-335.

North, Douglass and Barry Weingast. “Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England.” The Journal of Economic History XLIX, no. 4 (December 1989): 803-832.

Pejovitch, S.. “Transaction Costs.” Liberty Fund "Foundations of a Free Society", Indianapolis, IN, June 12, 2008.

Pejovitch, S.. “The Role of Culture.” Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Bowling Green University, October 21, 2004.

Pierre Manent. An Intellectual History of Liberalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.

Rogge, Benjamin A. Can Capitalism Survive?. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1979.

Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981.