The Moral Foundations of Capitalism
The Moral Foundations of Capitalism: Understanding the Theory, Practice, and Ethics of Capitalism and Free Market Economies
Guilford College Program funded by the BB&T Foundation
In June 2009, Guilford College announced a $500,000 grant from the BB&T Foundation paid out over 10 years. The grant will fund a number of programs related to understanding the ethics of capitalism and free market economies. The BB&T Foundation supports about 60 similar college and university programs, but Guilford’s is unique because of our integration of our core values.
Faculty members in the Department of Business Management and the Center for Principled Problem Solving developed the Moral Foundations of Capitalism program and submitted a grant proposal through the Office of Advancement to the BB&T Foundation.
Principled Problem Solving
The bulk of the funds will support partial tuition scholarships and summer internship support for Principled Problem Solving (PPS) Scholars with identified interests in ethics and business in some combination. A portion will be used to develop a teaching module on the ethics of capitalism for the PPS Scholars Program and to support faculty teaching this module.
As part of the 2010-11 green & beyond theme year, the grant funded speakers on the relationship between sustainability and capitalism. The series “Moral Choices and the Bottom Line: Sustainability and Economic Development,” featured speakers with expertise and passion in the areas of sustainable business practice, economic development and green job creation. Speakers included Piedmont Biofuels founder Lyle Estill; Joel Makower, executive editor of GreenBiz.com; and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, the CEO of Green for All.
A faculty-led discussion series on the ethics of capitalism began in spring 2011 and will be offered on a regular basis. This discussion series will address Ann Rand’s Atlas Shrugged as well as Paul Krugman’s The Conscience of a Liberal and John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. This series is open to junior economics and business students. Participating students will receive copies of the texts for reading in preparation for the series.
IDS 400: The Ethics of Capitalism
Building on the pre-existing Business Ethics course, this interdisciplinary capstone course was offered for the first time in the spring 2011 semester. The course was developed by faculty from the Department of Business Management and approved by the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Educational Policy Committee in spring 2010.
This course will help students think about the relationships and connections among
- The process of individual choice and free markets that are the foundations for the business, economic and political theories of capitalism,
- The government and its role(s) in a capitalistic economy, and
- Alternative interdisciplinary theories (often contradictory and incompatible) on the morality or ethics of capitalism.
This course is open to all seniors. Required texts include:
- Milton Friedman, Free to Choose
- Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (condensed version)
- Paul Krugman, The Conscience of a Liberal
- Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, Communist Manifesto (1848)
- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (excerpts)
- PBS Series “The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy; The Corporation”
- Film, “Capitalism: A Love Story”
For more information about the programs supported by the BB&T Foundation gift, contact Mark Justad, director of the Center for Principled Problem Solving.