Skip to Main Content

Brandt Foundation Lectures

The Brandt Foundation Lectures at Boise State University are made possible by the generosity of the John H. & Orah I. Brandt Foundation. The purpose of the Brandt Foundation Lectures is to bring noted speakers to our campus who have made important contributions to public understanding of individual liberty, free markets, limited government, and the Constitution. Beginning with the 2004 inaugural lecture by Nobel Laureate James M. Buchanan, the Brandt Foundation Lectures have attracted large audiences and contributed significantly to Boise State University and the larger community. The annual lectures are free and open to the public; no tickets are required. Free parking is provided in marked areas on the night of the event.

2017-2018 Speaker

Jason Brennan

“Why Not Capitalism?” 

  • When: Monday, November 6, 2017, 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.
  • Where: Student Union Jordan Ballroom at Boise State
  • Cost: Free and no tickets are required. No charge parking will be provided near the Student Union Building in the parking garage at Lincoln Avenue and University Drive

Jason Brennan

Jason Brennan

Jason Brennan is the Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Chair and Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He previously was a Research Fellow in Political Science and an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brown University. He specializes in politics, philosophy, and economics.

Most economists believe capitalism is a compromise with selfish human nature. As Adam Smith put it, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” Capitalism works better than socialism, according to this thinking, only because we are not kind and generous enough to make socialism work. If we were saints, we would be socialists. Brennan argues that capitalism would remain the best system even if we were morally perfect. Even in an ideal world, private property and free markets would be the best way to promote mutual cooperation, social justice, harmony, and prosperity. Socialists seek to capture the moral high ground by showing that ideal socialism is morally superior to realistic capitalism. But, Brennan responds, ideal capitalism is superior to ideal socialism, and so capitalism beats socialism at every level.

He is the author of In Defense of Openness: Global Justice as Global Freedom (Oxford University Press, 2018), with Bas van der Vossen; Against Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2016); Markets without Limits, with Peter Jaworski (Routledge Press, 2015); Compulsory Voting: For and Against, with Lisa Hill (Cambridge University Press, 2014); Why Not Capitalism? (Routledge Press, 2014); Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2012); The Ethics of Voting (Princeton University Press, 2011); and, with David Schmidtz, A Brief History of Liberty (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). He is co-editor, along with David Schmidtz and Bas Van der Vossen, of the Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism (Routledge, 2017).

He is currently writing Cracks in the Ivory Tower: The Bad Business Ethics of Higher Ed, with Phil Magness, under contract with Oxford University Press.

His books have been translated fourteen times, into Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Turkish, Italian, Greek, Mongolian, and Swedish. Gegen Demokratie (Ullstein, 2017), the German translation of Against Democracy, was number 33 on Der Spiegel’s bestseller list.

Learn more about Jason Brennan at his website: jasonfbrennan.com/.