Values & Capitalism on Campus: Houghton College

On April 5, 2013, Houghton College hosted Values & Capitalism for an event on free trade and fair trade, featuring AEI resident scholar Claude Barfield. Dr. Barfield offered an historic overview of economic development since 1945, contrasting the stories of nations that have moved towards more open markets with those that have not.

Dr. Barfield noted the dramatic decrease in the number of people living on less than $1 a day, a direct result of economic growth spurred by global trade, while also acknowledging the downsides that come with freer trade. While he generally supports fair trade efforts, Dr. Barfield noted that their impact is marginal, and they should not advocate policies that keep families in an industry that does not have a future in that particular country. Instead, he suggested that fair trade efforts could go beyond agriculture and focus on industrial vocations.

Following the lecture, Dr. Barfield took questions on the economic effects of subsidies, the role of government in an increasingly global world, and the need for good governance in order for trade to flourish.

Claude Barfield at Houghton

The following day, Dr. Barfield spoke to an Economic Freedom class on the state of political and economic liberty in China. Dr. Barfield outlined China’s recent economic history, its impact on the US economy, and some of the challenges facing the Asian nation as it becomes wealthier and more globally integrated. For further reading on the issue of trade, check out his excellent book “Swap: How Trade Works.”

In addition to these lectures, Values & Capitalism also provided a “Navigating DC Jobs & Internships” workshop for a group of Houghton students. Our next campus event will be at Seattle Pacific University on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., on the topic of economic growth.

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