Making the Moral Case for Free Enterprise
An America’s Founding and Future Lecture
Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute
Author of Gross National Happiness: Why Happiness Matters for America – and How We Can Get More of It (Basic Books, 2008), and The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise (Forthcoming, May 2012)
Fairness. Opportunity. Earned Success. These traditions are at the heart of the free enterprise system, and have long been central to America’s exceptional culture. In recent years, however, policymakers have dramatically weakened these traditions—by exploding the size of government, propping up their corporate cronies, and trying to reorient our system from rewarding merit to redistributing wealth. American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks bases this lecture on his forthcoming book, The Road to Freedom, in which he shows that this trend cannot be reversed with materialistic appeals about the economic efficiency of capitalism. Rather, free enterprise requires a moral defense rooted in the ideals of earned success, equality of opportunity, charity, and basic fairness. Arthur builds this defense and demonstrates how it is central to understanding the major policy issues facing America today. The future of the free enterprise system has become a central issue in our national debate, and Arthur offers a practical manual for defending it over the coming years. Both a moral manifesto and a prescription for concrete policy changes, The Road to Freedom will help Americans in all walks of life translate the philosophy of free enterprise into action, to restore both our nation’s promise and our own well-being in the process.
Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a non-partisan public policy think tank in Washington, D.C. committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise. Until 2009, Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University, where his research focused on the intersections of economics, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Previously, Brooks spent 12 years as a professional French hornist with the City Orchestra of Barcelona and other ensembles. He is a native of Seattle and currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife Ester and their three children.
Arthur has written nine books, including The Battle: How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government will Shape America’s Future (Basic Books, 2010), Gross National Happiness (Basic Books, 2008), Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism (Basic Books, 2006), and the graduate business textbook Social Entrepreneurship (Prentice-Hall, 2008).
He is the author of the forthcoming book, The Road to Freedom, to be released on May 8th 2012.