Economist, author visiting campus

Madina  Seytmuradova
Staff Writer

Nationally syndicated columnist and economist Walter Williams will give a presentation at Troy University next week.

The author of 11 books will talk about his latest publication, “American Contempt for Liberty,” at an event in Claudia Crosby Theater on Wednesday, April 20, at 10 a.m.

Stephen Miller, executive director of the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy and associate professor of economics, said Williams is “one of the greatest communicators of economics alive.”

Miller studied under Williams as a Ph.D. student at George Mason University, where Williams serves as a distinguished professor of economics.

“He makes economic concepts relatable and understandable to students,” Miller said. “Students are guaranteed to learn from his talk.”

Williams, a native of West Philadelphia, describes himself as a confrontational radical and troublemaker during his college days in his autobiography “Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.”

“I was more sympathetic to Malcolm X than Martin Luther King because Malcolm X was more of a radical who was willing to confront discrimination in ways that I thought it should be confronted, including perhaps the use of violence,” Williams said in a 2011 interview with The Wall Street Journal. “But I really just wanted to be left alone. I thought some laws, like minimum-wage laws, helped poor people and poor black people and protected workers from exploitation. I thought they were a good thing until I was pressed by professors to look at the evidence.”

He is known for writing on race and economics in his articles and books such as “State Against Blacks,” and “Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?”

“He takes the most controversial current topics and makes you see them in a new light,” Miller said. “Whether it’s proposed minimum wage increases and their effect on young minorities or the question of whether or not you should vote in presidential elections, he’s sure to have an explanation you hadn’t considered.”

Daniel Smith, assistant professor of economics and assistant director of the Johnson Center, is another one of Williams’ former students. He said that Williams addresses a broad range of economic issues involving the government debt, loss of liberty and freedom, minimum wage, occupational crisis and laws that disproportionately harm African-Americans.

Smith also said that it is important for all Troy students who wish to be better citizens to attend Williams’ lecture.

“We all have to understand economics to make informed decisions,” Smith said. “Being able to analyze political issues using economics can help them (students) make informed decisions, and hopefully make America a better place to live in.”

Williams’ presentation is open to the general public.

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