Five Southeast Missouri State University students from the Harrison College of Business joined undergraduates from across the country at the Seventh Annual Weekend Exploring Liberty seminar Dec. 1-2 in Springfield, Illinois.
The two-day seminar provided an introduction to classical liberal ideas with informative lectures and discussions, and was sponsored by the Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government. Hosting the event was Dr. William Kline, associate professor of business administration in the College of Business and Management at the University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS).
Topics included “Minorities and Markets,” “Conscious Capitalism,” “Liberty and Power in the U.S. Constitution,” “Why You Should Read Ayn Rand,” “The Importance of Privacy,” “Liberty in Illinois,” “Two Pillars of Libertarianism” and “Intellectual Property and Liberty.”
Southeast undergraduate students participating in the conference included Valeriia Andreieva, a financial economics major from Cherkassy, Ukraine; Rebecca Hursh, an accounting major from Bonney Lake, Washington; Marion Mideva, a financial economics major from Nairobi, Kenya; Daryna Rybchenko, a healthcare administration major from Cherkasy, Ukraine; and Daniel White, a triple major in economics, philosophy and criminal justice from Chaffee, Missouri.
“The seminar gave students the opportunity to examine the historical, economic, and philosophical foundations of a free society and how these principles apply to contemporary issues,” said Dr. Natallia Gray, Southeast assistant professor of economics.
Several successful entrepreneurs and subject-matter experts served as featured speakers, including Alexander McCobin, chief operating officer of Conscious Capitalism Inc.; Adam Moore, professor in the Information School at University of Washington; Greg Bishop, a government reporter with Illinois News Network; Stephen Hicks, director of the Center for Ethics at Rockford University; and Kenneth Owen, assistant professor of history at UIS.
“I wanted to attend because I wanted to learn more about the impact liberty has on economics and the market,” said Hursh, who enjoyed a presentation on “Intellectual Property and Liberty” given by Moore. “He addressed the importance of intellectual property protections in a market system, and I learned that without these protections people would have less incentive to innovate because they could just wait until someone else created the product and then just copy the results. I found this to be extremely relevant since the internet allows easy access to share copied material if no protections exist.”
White said he also enjoyed the presentations, and will be able to apply what he learned to his current studies and career.
“I learned about the importance of privacy and how people use the information they find for either personal gain or to damage personal image,” White said. “I will be able to use that information and tactics to prevent others from infringing on my own privacy.”
“I wanted the students to learn more about President Abraham Lincoln, whose legacy embodied the principles of liberty and freedom,” Gray said. “Much of his adult life was spent in Springfield and his ideals formed during his early life and career here guided the nation through the American Civil War fought largely over the question of slavery.”
The Southeast students were able to attend the seminar thanks to a $40,000 Economics Teaching and Research Program grant for 2017-2018 supporting student travel for professional development, including conference and seminar participation, from the Charles Koch’s Foundation.
“Thanks to the generosity of the sponsors, the housing, meals, and travel were all free for the seminar attendees,” Gray said.
**Top Photo Caption: Students visited the Lincoln Tomb. From left are Rebecca Hursh, Marion Mideva, Daniel White and Valeriia Andreieva.