Student Seminar- "Will Capitalism Destroy Itself?"

The Salvatori Center will host a day-long student-centered seminar on Saturday October 6th.  We will accept up to 12 students from across the 5Cs and offer a $125 stipend for participating. The seminars are designed to promote student discussion by exploring the philosophical roots of contemporary issues. 

The seminar discussion will be led by Eric Helland, CMC Professor of Economics. The seminar will focus on whether capitalism as a spontaneous order is self-sustaining.

Our fundamental question is why, starting in the 17th century, a small number of countries in Western Europe began to experience rising per capita income. The first session will focus on the role of markets in explaining this transformation, examining the works of Adam Smith and F.A. Hayek. The second will critically examine the determinants of the transformation, focusing in particular on culture versus institutions in a debate between Douglas North and Deirdre McCloskey. Our third session will focus on three critiques of capitalism: Karl Marx’s critique that capitalism is inherently exploitative, Thomas Piketty's critique that growing income equality is an inherent byproduct of capitalism, and Joseph Schumpeter’s critique that the powerful will seek to protect themselves from competition. The roundtable will conclude with a dinner focusing on the work of John Rawls and F.A. Hayek on whether capitalism naturally produces a just distribution of income.

  • Students will be paid a stipend of $125 for participating
  • We will accept up to 12 students from across the 5Cs for the seminar
  • To apply, please send an email to with a few sentences on why you’d like to participate by Thursday September 27
  • Accepted students are expected to attend all sessions (including lunch and dinner)


Tentative Schedule on Saturday October 6th

10:30am-12 Session 1: Smith and Hayek

12-1 pm Lunch

1-2:30 Session 2: North and McCloskey

2:30-3pm Break

3-4:30pm Session 3: Marx, Piketty and Schumpeter

4:30-5:30pm Break

5:30-7pm Dinner on Rawls and the distribution of income (including Professors Thomas and Hurley from CMC’s PPE Program)  

Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 10:30am

Kravis Center
888 Columbia Avenue, Claremont, CA

Event Type

Research Institutes, Salvatori Center


Students, zzCUC Conference


weekend, student event, capitalism, salvatori, salvatori center, student seminar

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