The Institute for Human Studies (HIS) from George Mason University, in collaboration with the Johnson Center of Troy and the John Templeton Foundation, hosted a daylong seminar on Saturday, Nov. 4, on “The Unintended Consequences of Regulation” in Patterson Hall.
“IHS event brings out people who are well learned with their specific topic and are really good public speakers,” said Stephen Miller, associate professor of economics.
The seminar dealt with the relationship between markets, government and crony capitalism, exploring the unforeseen side effects of government regulation in areas such as ridesharing, cellphones, entrepreneurship and the environment.
“The IHS event seemed like an excellent place to discuss ideas about economic development,” said Cade Ashley, a junior economics major from Jemison.
“The speakers were well-informed and engaged well with the audience,” Ashley said.
“There was a real shared sense of community regarding the ideas presented, and that added to the atmosphere.”
Guest speakers included Art Carden, associate professor of economics at Samford University; Carrie Kerekes, associate professor of economics at Florida Gulf Coast University; Jared Meyer, senior research fellow at The Foundation for Government Accountability; and Howard Baetjer, lecturer in the department of economics at Towson University.
“The ideas discussed may not necessarily be different, and some of the contents of the lectures may be covered by upper level economics classes,” Miller said. “But in these seminars, we have different people have a take at things from different angles and we get different ways to explain it.”
Regarding the concept of regulation, Carden talked about how regulations have been shaping people’s actions and choices.
Kerekes discussed the economics of conservation, while Baetjer said markets regulate themselves and any government interferences in markets are unnecessary.
Meyer spoke on how progress in technology has impacted the role of government regulations.
The purpose of the event was to foster a sense of academic freedom and liberty in the marketplace.
“The seminar was pushing to create a discussion about the government regulating the market,” said Sean Alvarez, a senior economics major from Troy.
In Alvarez’s view, it is important to generate conversations on topics such as regulation because these are the things that are existent in society that people do not talk much about even though they may seem counterintuitive.
“I feel like we should talk about topics such as this one because over the years we become complacent with what we have instead of asking why specifically there is regulation or why certain things are happening in the world,” Alvarez said. “And talking about things like these in a seminar, perhaps we could get something done.”
According to Miller, the seminar, which is the second of its kind, was funded through a special grant to IHS through the John Templeton Foundation.
“Students got to relax and learn away from the humdrum of the semester, just thinking and even debating with the speakers about the ideas,” said Miller.
The seminar was free of charge and took place from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. There was a total registration of 100 individuals.