PANEL2.C.5: "being an intellectual entrepreneur"

monday, APRIL 4, 2016

  • Session Chair: Brennan Brown, Charles Koch Foundation
  • George Crowley, Troy University
  • Chris Surprenant, University of New Orleans
  • Derek Yonai, Florida Southern College
  • Joshua Hall, West Virginia University


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Selected Excerpts (Full Transcripts below)

George Crowley on “taking over” a finance faculty position:

So, we’ve been very lucky at Troy. We had a big gift, that let us hire a whole bunch of people all at once, and we kind of were able to take over, for lack of a better term, but it’s still, there’s little spots where we’ve been able to make little incremental changes over and above. So, we had a finance faculty member retire, and we were able to go and hire Thomas Hogan. He’s an economist, but he had enough finance background that we were able to kind of use that. And so that’s an interesting line that we were kind of like able to take, and it’s just little incremental things like that.

George Crowley on influencing Alabama politics:

We’ve been really active on state, especially state policy, and even just kind of broader policy type work. Really trying to get students engaged with these ideas. It sounds cliche, but it really does really come back to getting the students involved   [...] even as it relates to our policy work.
Our former director kind of started some fights within the state dealing with medicaid expansion which is something that our Governor has kind of been pushing back on and others in the state are obviously in favor of, and it’s been kind of a back and forth. John Dove and Dan Smith actually just had one of these Mercatus, kind of, state diagnostics on the state that kind of made some waves. Dan Smith has kind of taken it upon himself to try to bring down the state pension system [laughter] [inaudible] at least in getting the conversation going there. I’ve done some stuff on tax reform, I’ve got a Mercatus thing that will be coming out soon.

George Crowley on converting students’ ideologies:

This one student we had never heard of, poly sci major, showed up, literally sat there silently throughout the entire like 10 weeks of the class, didn’t make a comment the whole time. We had them write little essays at the end, and he basically wrote an essay that said, “I am a socialist, but now that I’ve been finally been exposed to some of these ideas, I’m very interested in taking economics.” He switched his major to economics, and kind of banged out the major very quickly, and went on and graduated as an econ major, really just kind of turned on to the ideas themselves

West Virginia University professor Joshua Hall on co-opting state resources:

And ultimately, [I think] resources, more importantly, I want to co-opt resources [laughter]. So, it was a brilliant move to hire Tom Hogan when that opportunity presented itself, and I want to get as many people on the state of West Virginia resources as possible, and so how do you do that?

Florida Southern College professor Derek Yonai on using movie nights and academic programming to recruit for Koch:

Go off The Incredibles, and get them talking about why is it when everyone's super, no body is [...], and then work into the book club where you can refine those ideas further by reading things like Dan Klein's Knowledge and Coordination, Law Legislation and Liberty, Constitution of Liberty, and then hopefully get them involved in the liberty movement, through FEE, IHS, KIP (Koch Internship Program), or if they’ve already done KIP, then eventually into KAP (Koch Associates Program).
Get’em involved at the seminars, get’em involved into our book club, and them letting them figure out where they’re comfortable, and then allowing me, if you will, as sort of the expert to say sort of find a good fit. Maybe you’re better going to a FEE seminar, maybe you’re better going to an IHS seminar. Maybe you’d be a good candidate for KIP

to have [students] go, 'you know I really love this stuff but I need money, I want a job, my parents want me to go get one, you know, a stable occupation,' and I tell ‘em  look, you understand these ideas, you are the best foot soldier we have in this fight for economic freedom because, I talk about it, you get to live it. You get to show people what these principles mean by the ways you act. You’re much more effective at this than I am, you’re [inaudible] far more people than I [am]. So just figure out, where are these students going to be placed, what are they going to be doing because each and every one of them can be valuable in order for us to change, if you will, the trajectory, uh, with regards to economic freedom. So, for those of you who want scalable models, here it is.

Florida Southern College professor Derek Yonai (now at Southern Methodist University) on using Students for Liberty to recruit students for Koch's Liberty Movement:

Now, I know some people outsource it to Students For Liberty. I don’t. The reason being is I think there is too much baggage with it. It’s also harder to sell depending on how “UnKoch” your campus is. I like the Adam Smith Club because it comes off as fairly innocuous to most people, you can bring in people from poli sci, people from mass comms, biology.

Charles Koch Foundation officer Brennan Brown quotes Charles Koch in pep talk:

Let me share a quote with you from Charles Koch, who I believe sums it up very well. This is what he said. He said, “I have a passionate belief in the power of ideas of liberty. If we fail, it is our failure, not that of the ideas. My commitment is such that it is to them, the ideas, I am dedicating my life. If the work of these "edupreneurs," these intellectual entrepreneurs, and the words of Charles Koch for example, speak to you, and resonate with you, then I invite you to talk to Steve Sweet, my colleague who’s here, Clark Scott, who I believe is also here, to talk to you about your vision, your ideas, and how to develop that intellectual entrepreneur within you.

FULL Transcripts

Introduction: Brennan Brown, Charles Koch Foundation

George Crowley, Troy University

Brennan Brown (0:00) My name is Brennan Brown, with the Charles Koch Foundation. I am honored to be with you here with you today, and with our edupreneurs, our intellectual entrepreneurs, who will showcase [ ]. I’ve been with the foundation three years. I’m a recovering economics professor myself, from Northwood University in Midland Michigan, and this is an important conversation. This is really important because this is about being an entrepreneur, an intellectual entrepreneur, or an edupreneur, and focusing in on ways in which you can engage students in meaningful conversations about a marketplace of ideas, a diversity of thought. It’s also about important research that a lot of you are doing that’s timely, that’s relevant, that’s focused on a particular issue, that’s rooted in a republic of science,and it’s also too about mentorship. Academic and professional mentorship.So I appreciate the opportunity to be here, how many folks are familiar with the Charles Koch Foundation? Every single hand went up. Okay. Then you all know that at the Charles Koch Foundation, I won’t go into it any more. I think a couple of things we’ll want to do is one, just create some awareness of the wonderful work that the four edupreneurs are doing, and hopefully, and secondly inspire some of you to take the ideas that they’ve kind of started to build on and do more bigger, better, or your own thing to based upon your local knowledge, your vision, and we might be able to be a part of bringing that to life on your behalf. So I’d like to introduce my colleague Steve Sweet. Steve, you wanna stand up? My guess is that if I ask how many of you are familiar with steve sweet, the same number of hands are going to be raised. And Steve, and Clark Scott will also be here, so that if there are opportunities that you want to talk about right away, after being inspired by our edupreneurs, that option will be available to you. They’re delighted to have everyone, thank you so much for being here. Let me introduce our panelists, our edupreneurs. First Dr. George Crowley from Troy University, Dr. Derek Yodai, Dr. Chris Surprenant, and Dr. Josh Hall. Alright we did do a coin flip to determine who would go first, and George won, so George will lead us off on how to be an intellectual entrepreneur, or edupreneur.
Awesome. Okay! Well this is one of the first presentations where I’ve taken Deirdre McClosky’s advice seriously: to put pictures in the presentation, mostly, instead of words. That’s what she said a presentation should be about. [...] So, taking the last thing Pete said...Pete was my dissertation chair. I look up to him still today, a lot of things he says. But one of the things he really nailed there is how we can be successful in very different parts of the academy. And so I think that’s a great way to think about what I want to talk about. I’m at a very small university that sort of goes under most people’s radar screens. But, I think I’ve done a lot of work there that I’ve certainly found fulfilling in pushing out free market ideas and bringing other free market ideas to me. [0:57] The way I’m thinking about my center, and again, the way I’m going to present remarks, is my center as a platform. And thinking about what we do, whether we have a center or its just ourselves working within our little hubs in, our little universities, or your little we can think of that as a platform for the ideas of others as well. So to give you just a little background, my Center for Free Market Studies was started in 2013, I first landed at Johnson & Wales in 2010, so it took a while to get the center up and going. But we found generous support from an outside donor and were able to launch some of the standard things you see with free market centers or any kind of university center, which is supporting a speaking series, having student research and scholarships, and faculty travel, et cetera. Where I think that we’ve gone in a peculiar direction that I was asked to speak today about is hosting the Classical Liberals in the Carolinas organization. I’ll speak a lot more on that in a moment. [2:00] We’ve had two of those meetings, and from that we actually had a new series, a new set of projects, that are again are relying on the center as a platform rather than something to just kind of throw one person...throw myself or a couple people that work there, out there in the media. Okay, a few things looking at the other talks...and Steve’s gonna talk on this thing a lot more than I am so I’ll just mention a few things that’s [sic] been helpful in terms of the background of founding the center. Building internal support is crucial. One of the gentleman you’ll see in some of these photos is a person who probably is, well not as old as Bernie, but certainly would vote for Bernie…(I’m thinking about our luncheon comments) know, a Bernie Sanders Liberal. And very not completely opposed to what we do but I’d certainly call him a skeptic, let’s put it that way, of the free market movement. [3:00] But one of these people that hopefully we’re all lucky enough to know, and that is just inside field teachers. People who are there to do the work, love the work, love the students, and want to give the students every opportunity. These individuals are rare, but again I’d like to think they exist within every university and they certainly exist within mine. So finding a very proactive ally, even if they’re not compatible on the ideas dimension, just having someone who’s willing to share the workload, come up with ideas, even bringing in opposition to what I want to do has helped. Right? Because I think it makes those programs that much better, and that it’s got an appeal to a much more general audience even at the creation stage.” “Obviously, bringing in students. Hugely important. If you don’t like students, first off, I’m not sure why you’re working at a university. But second, definitely don’t go and build a center because everything will be a nightmare. Building a center obviously means you’re going to work with students more, but I view that as a privilege. And secondly, I said that bringing those students in to work on that center is a crucial...not only in building more connections among students and fostering those relationships, but also I would say even in a more self­interested sense having more students be a major part of your organizations provides a kind of firewall between you and opposition within the university. You know, it’s easy to knock on bringing the wrong speaker to campus, it’s harder to knock on twenty thousand dollars of scholarships. That’s tough to argue, is wrong inherently. “Okay and finally, this networking with other free market centers and organizations, which I’ll turn to right now. So, I was very, very lucky to find some people in Charlotte­­which if you don’t know the Carolinas region, right, we’re on the border between North and South Carolina… [5:04] So I met with some individuals in Charlotte that had a lot of interest in bringing together academics, think tank reps, people who are working on a lot of the same ideas within the Carolinas together, through a collaboration between CFMS, which is my own center, we were the host and the university of course was the larger host, but along with the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy­­that’s a think tank in Raleigh, and who was also instrumental in helping us get our grants, I should say­­they were important in forming this organization. And also the Bastiat Society, which is a great organization that’s got all these chapters across the world now, chapters that bring together people from the business community and introduce free market ideas there. [5:53] “So these three organizations helped to create the network, formulate who are contacts, who are people in the universities that we can invite, and then really energize those connections to get them out there. To get people to come. So one of the things that we thought was so successful about the first one is that it became almost a can’t­miss sort of event. People were re­scheduling vacations and other things because they said, ‘well if that many people are coming, and those particular people are coming, we should really be there as well.’ Before showing some of the pictures I have, one of the things I would say that’s so beneficial about an area­centered, you know, a geographic­led coalition like that are two things. One thing is that we’re obviously all working in the same area, so we’re working on local ideas so it allows us to come together and talk about the Carolinas. But one thing that people miss or under state is that we are geographically­located next to one another, right? I mean we can go and visit each other, we can collaborate, we can share speakers. All these things are very easy to do, but hardly done, right? [7:01] Because we all just get in our silos and it’s really easy to hunker down and deal with the million problems we have right there, much less actually looking around and seeing what other schools are doing in the region. But we’re obviously all doing something. And so bringing that connection together, that’s been very beneficial. Okay, so a couple of pictures from our meetings [presents photos]. You see the logos of our partnering organizations. That’s [me]. I was giving a talk at our first luncheon, you see a lot of our Carolinas folks there, a lot of APEE folks attendance at this conference were there as well. And then this was a panel of some of the major research centers in North and South Carolina. We got all of Charleston, Western Carolina, Duke, Clemson and Wake Forest represented. So having these folks get on board­­they were some of the first ones I invited­­having them there, people from other places, outside that margin, outside [of] the major research schools, wanted to go there, right? Wanted to be part of the conference, to be a part of it. [8:10] This next one I’ve got CLC 2015 [Conservative Leadership Conference], we technically have it in January, but this is Southern counting, you know? We can just count it as 2015 anyway because we got another one coming up in August that will be our real 2016 meeting. But we had Jeff Tucker from FEE [Foundation on Economic Education] start us out. We always have an outside­the­Carolinas speaker to get everything up and running as a reception. And then we have an inside­the­Carolinas speaker to close things out. So again, an interesting way of the model. The middle cut: some really interesting speakers… Jeremy McLellan, he’s a comedian, and Jeremy’s actually gone on to do some larger Libertarian events. I think he’s opened for Gary Johnson on...something, since then. He’s gone on to great things, and after our death. But he was hilarious, and really just...very well with the crowd even though it was so different. [9:03] And then finally, this is a panel of our foundations. This shows our own Steve Sweet here, from CKF in the back, who was on the panel. And then Jack Sommer, who was a retired UNCC professor [UNC Charlotte] who also joined. So that platform, again, has been the largest platform that the center has facilitated. And the work that is being done with that is way outside of my schools. Again, at best I’m just a facilitator for those conferences. But one thing that has grown out from that, personally for me, is creating a little bit of a speaker series that has a little bit more of a theme to it. Something that has its own kind of mini­platform opportunity. So let me very quickly show you what we’ve done this last year, because again I think it has the same idea behind it. [10:00] Charlotte’s one of the fastest­growing cities in craft brewing. Students like beer, so it’s pretty easy to talk about that, of course, at a university. And, our university is known for its placement within the foodservice industry. So it’s not like we’re just teaching them how to drink, or something, we’re bringing in speakers from the industries that they’re gonna go into. So we’re kind of covered...even though, yes, we like beers too, that’s another reason we’re there. Anyway. So we knew it’d be a good, local topic that would work. North Carolina has plenty of political economy issues that I’m interested in, and other scholars at the center are interested in. So what we’ve done is we’ve brought in individuals from breweries and wholesaler associations. Let me just quickly point this out, because it shows how a platform can kind of build on itself, alright? The Bird Song Brewery was an alum that spoke. She had pretty much no interest politically in this topic, she’s a brewer! [11:00] She’s a craftsman, right? An artisan, rather, that’s what she does. But, we got great lines out of her! Like for example, we just asked her, ‘can you think of any regulation that has helped your business?’ She was like, ‘, no.’ [laughter] It was like the best moment of the talk, and it was totally not­scripted! It was authentic as it can be. [27:00] What she did for us, though, is she helped us find this gentleman, Ryan Self, the main spokesman against craft brewing regulation. A big time activist. He had plenty of detail on regulation, and kind of explaining the regulatory landscape in North Carolina, which helped us a lot in understanding the issue. Finally, he found his counterpart for us, this is the bootlegger in the story here. Tim Kemp, who is executive president of the North Carolina wholesalers association. [12:01] Again this guy was kind of like the the tobacco exec coming down to tell us that cigarettes aren’t cancerous. But, having him there, being able to present his case gave us the best arguments from the other side, which again is really helpful to us in formulating what we’re going to do next. As you can see some of this in these panels. Other events that are coming out of this, other events that are coming out of other organizations, but related to ours. And even some academic work here, with a student who’s going to University of Louisville for his work, showing some interest in empirical results on brewing. Okay, I know I’m out of time so let me just...two seconds to wrap up. Both with Classical Liberals in the Carolina’s and the craft brewing speaker series, again I think the real value added is not necessarily getting my name out there, or being some kind of superstar North Carolina. I mean hell, we got Mike Munger down there, there’s no way I’m competing with that anyway. I wouldn’t want to compete with that. [13:02] But, what the center can do, even at a small school like mine, is get a lot of other people into the room. And have a lot of other organizations interested in what we’re doing, and build off of that. Again, a platform for free market ideas is the way we think of ourselves, and we’ve seen tremendous benefit from that.

Derek Yonai, Florida Southern College

Chris Surprenant, University of New Orleans

Great! I would like to tell you about four facets of my life as an intellectual academic entrepreneur. But first is the book that I’m writing with Deirdre McClosky that I have finally come to peace with the fact that it’s probably not gonna be published until next year, but that will, nonetheless, solve all problems associated with the bourgeois era that you might have pointed out, that you might have seen or heard about in the first session this morning. The second is my work on Wal­Mart. The third is the work I do with Southern Economic History. And then finally, I’d like to say a couple quick words about my work as a public intellectual and in economic education, and how I’ve been able to strike while the iron’s hot when it comes to policy issues in Alabama and when it comes to policy issues beyond. So when I look at my CV, and I look at the things I have on my plate, the book with Deirdre is probably the biggest thing that I have going on. The proximate cause of the problem was we were both part of a Competitive Enterprise Institute video “I, Pencil” that was filmed in Chicago in 2012. [1:00] So I sent her an email, I said, ‘hey, let’s have lunch.’ She said, ‘okay, let’s have lunch.’ So I went and met her at the club and we had lunch. She said, ‘I want to write a condensation­slash­popularization of my overall Bourgeois Era project, would you like to co­author it? Now then, for the young scholars in the room, if someone of Deirdre McClosky’s stature asks you a question like that, the answer is yes. [laughter]. The answer is yes. I will stop everything I’m doing and I will work on this book. I’ll work on this project. But, it goes back a little bit farther than that. We’d been corresponding for some time. I, at one point, read, I think, in The Bourgeois Dignity, that she wanted to include a chapter about Wal­Mart in one of her future books. [I] emailed her and say, ‘hey, I’ve invested a non­trivial amount of human capital in this, I’d be happy to write the chapter for you. Okay? So perhaps that’s something she could be thinking about. The story starts with being in the right place at the right time. [1:57] Specifically, it’s 2004 at Washington University in St. Louis and it’s the week before my dissertation proposal. I get an email from my chair, John Nye, saying, ‘hey would you like to go pick up Deirdre McClosky at the airport? And then take her to the airport the next day?’ Now it would be very easy to say, ‘no, my proposal’s on Monday, I’ve gotta go focus on that.’ I said, yeah sure, what the heck, I’ll do that. I read the entire draft of Bourgeois Virtues the week before my dissertation proposal, which explains why my dissertation proposal wasn’t as pleasant as I expected it to be. But nonetheless, we had a very nice conversation. She said, ‘you are ambitious,’ because I had, in fact, read the entire 400­page manuscript. So, sow those seeds, water those seeds, eventually they sprout into great things. Similar story with Wal­Mart. It’s 2006, I’ve just started my job at Rhodes College. And I get an email from two friends from graduate school saying, ‘hey, we know that you wrote about social capital in your dissertation.’ And indeed, I wrote a paper on social capital that was published in 2009 in the Review of Austrian Economics and ended up being cited in the Journal of Economic Growth. [3:01] So, I had written on social capital. They said, ‘let’s write an empirical paper on social capital!’ To which I responded, ‘okay, let’s write an empirical paper on social capital.’ We had a conversation in class where we talked about Wal­Mart. And then it kind of hit my: my friends want to do this social capital project, I know where to get Wal­Mart data, people are arguing that Walmart destroys communities and blah blah blah blah blah...let’s throw the Wal­Mart data in and see what happens. So one paper turned into three papers turned into basically a project that’s hijacked my entire research agenda. Not my entire research agenda, but a lot of it. And now we’ve published, like, a half a dozen papers on big box retail, and recently published, if I may be so bold, the definitive summary of the literature of big box retail: Walmart, Costco, et cetera. In the Elgar Handbook of the Economics of Retailing and Distribution. And, if all goes well, we have a paper on Walmart and food security that, once we get the final round of data collected, I hope will appear in NBER Working Papers this summer. [4:04] Now a word about Wal­Mart. I in some sense strayed from my first love, which was the economic history of the South. I’d explored the relationship between lynching and economic growth, you know it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, then this Wal­Mart stuff came along and it sort of derailed the Southern history stuff for a little bit. [33:36] But nonetheless, I was asked to write an article for the Oxford Handbook of Southern Politics, on Southern economy. That came out in 2012, and I probably have Pete [Boettke] to thank for that. The editor is from George Mason. I talked to someone at George Mason, they said to contact you... For the longest time I’ve been looking to resurrect this project and resurrect areas of, and attributes of, this work. And I’m working now with a scholar at University of California at Davis on the relationship between lynching and crime. [5:03] We found some really interesting data from Louisiana. And UC Davis is a really great topic. And on the history program, we found some really nice data for Louisiana. And further, you had on the part of many Southerners, unapologetic...saying that lynching was necessary to defend the honor of White women. You had to clamp down on lawlessness by being vicious and awful, drunken evil guys. There formed in the early 20th Century an organization called the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. And they argued, no. This, in fact, is a measure of lawlessness, the frequency with which this happens is basically a rebellion against the notion of the rule of law. So fortunately now we have, with, some of the data that my co­author was able to pull together in her dissertation on North Carolina, some of the data that my research assistant is now pulling from Louisiana, and then, various large inventories on lynchings, when they happened, to whom, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera... [6:05] We hope to be able to shed some light on this and add some statistical rigor and some theoretical rigor to a very volatile, very emotionally­charged issue. But one for which we have to be very, very careful with the inferences we wish to draw. Most of what I’ve said so far has been an exercise in putting yourself at the right place at the right time. Or, an exercise just in being lucky. I forget who it was that said, ‘fortune favors the prepared mind.’ I realized, a couple of years after I finished graduate school, I had written a couple of pop pieces and done a bit of blogging as a grad student and decided to focus, instead, on my research. And then I realized when our older son was born that I’m, in some sense, responsible for the intellectual climate in the world that he grows up in. And so I started writing more op­eds and things like that. And I would write for free. I’d write for anyone, I’d write for free, for free, for free, for free… [7:00] I got an email from Forbes saying, ‘he, we found this circulating version of your paper on Walmart and obesity. And the early version actually said that Wal­Mart reduces obesity a tiny little bit. So my co­author and I were just dragged through the mud for that. It ended out being turned into a question on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, in fact actually misinterpreted our result. But they [Forbes] said, ‘would you like to write an article about this for the magazine.’ And this, again, is one of those things, when Forbes calls or sends you an email and says, ‘we’ll give you some money to write something for our magazine….’ Yes. Yes, I will. And I went a little bit beyond that. I said, ‘well, I’ve been writing op­eds for a bunch of different places for some time now. I would be happy to contribute anything, whatever you think, anything that might be relevant.’ So I started contributing to Forbes, their online product, fairly regularly. And then in 2010 I was asked to go for Forbes full­time, roughly. [7:58] For a long time, I was weekly with Forbes. The website. Now, I don’t contribute as frequently, but it’s been, for me, an opportunity to practice the craft of writing, practice the craft of making an argument, and practice the craft of distilling economics down to something that the reader of can understand, appreciate, and then comments saying that he hopes I and my family all die in a terrorist attack [laughter]. So, it’s an opportunity, again to do a little bit of public intellectual work. A lot of this boils down to alertness. It boils down to alertness and, I don’t know, maybe […] Discovery. And there’s a lot to be said for the role we can have in infecting freedom­advancing institutional change. Summer 2014: Birmingham was trying to consider whether they would allow Uber and Lyft into the city. I spent about thirty­five minutes on the phone with a member of city council who was leading the charge against it. [9:00] I mean this in the technical sense: that she literally had no idea what she was talking about. So, regardless. No Uber, no Uber, no Uber, no Uber… Summer of 2015: we have a music festival. A bunch of people come and get drunk and they say, ‘what kind of cow town is this, that I can’t get an Uber?’ [The] iron’s hot. I was able to write an article for the Birmingham News which then spurred some people to have a demonstration outside of city hall, and then eventually later we ended up getting Uber in Birmingham. And now I have a student that said to me one day, ‘hey, I heard you’re the reason that Uber in [sic] Birmingham!’ Well, probably not. But, I like to think that at least, at the margin, that’s a tangible example of how to be a Liberty­advancing academic. So with that, I turn it back over to Debi.

Joshua Hall, West Virginia University

“The title of this panel is ‘Being a Liberty­Advancing Academic.’ The title of my contribution to it is ‘How to Leverage Faculty and University Resources.’ So it’s...It’s very specific event. For those that don’t know me, I’m Steve Miller. I’m the director of the Johnson Center at Troy University. There’s a long story of how I got there, and part of the theme here...Art’s right about alertness. He’s definitely right about alertness. One of the most important things to be alert to is find out what your comparative advantage is, and where those comparative advantages are. And then that allows you to really think of the opportunities you can work with. One thing I see as lacking in the world of liberty­advancing academics is people who can’t or are unwilling to take on any administrative responsibilities and take on administrative load. [1:03] And I assure you, for myself and those that have been doing that for a few years now, it’s not like we love it. It’s not like it’s all pleasant. But there are real opportunities there. And there are real opportunities in a lot of ways. But there’s a real opportunity there to see things happen that you want to happen. [40:24] I’ll say this: there’s a very good trend I’m seeing right now. So Scott Beaulier, my predecessor at Troy, is now going to be the Dean of the College of Business at North Dakota State. Bob Mulligan right here is going to be the Dean at the University of Indiana East, at their business school. We’re starting to see more of this. Nonetheless, I’m starting to think we need more deans, we need more provosts. That’s what I want to see from us. Now if that is completely repulsive to you, don’t worry. Probably not your comparative advantage [audience chuckles]. Alright? [2:00] But it is strange how that changes in your mind as you go along. It was repulsive to me, certainly, when I was a new assistant professor. I had no intention of ever being a department chair, or working on accreditation or anything like that. And then I ended up doing all those things. I want to talk about these resources to be leveraged. So the absolute­­and I’ll talk about them kind of in terms of how scarce they are, but we’ll under­report them even though they’re not that scarce. You just may not be aware of them where you are. However, the most scarce thing and the most important thing is faculty lines. Pete [Boettke] has a­­he has a mantra, almost. Of ideas, funding, and positions. That these are the three things that take an intellectual movement...that make an intellectual movement progress. And if we were talking about free market economics, if we were talking about Austrian economics, public choice economics. [2:56] If we were talking about what most of us in this room do, Pete would say we’re doing great on the ideas. There’s no shortage of ideas. As a matter of fact for the people in this room. There’s no shortage of ideas. Ideas are not the problem, and he would also say that funding is not really the problem. However, if you do think funding is the problem, we should talk because I can talk about some strategies and how that works. Because what does seem to be the problem, where people do seem to struggle, is hiring people, or themselves sometimes getting hired. It’s the faculty lines, particularly tenure­track lines.That’s the gold standard right there is a tenure­track faculty line. And so this comes down to alertness, we’ll have these themes repeat. But, you should always, always be aware of how any open tenure track line at your university or in your college could be something that you potentially bring in an ally or partner. And I don’t mean a pure ideological partner, I mean someone who’s gonna help you do the work in building student programs and doing great things. [4:03] That’s extremely important. And you’d be amazed at how those opportunities appear. It may be, ‘oh, well we don’t have any openings in economics. It’s terrible. Well, do you need someone to teach business staff? Is that a job that comes up infrequently? If you’re in a business school? Is there a chance to hire someone someone who does the right kind of geography? Is there a chance to hire someone in political science? Look for these opportunities, because what you want is people in the social sciences especially, or in other business disciplines who are potential allies. The other thing to look at is people who are already at your university, already at your institution, and try to figure out who those allies are. Adam mentioned this, he managed to find someone not who’s ideologically aligned with free market economics, but who was interested in doing great things with students. So it’s a very wide net when it comes to that, but it is surprising. [5:02] I have a great story at Western Carolina. So, I mean, first of all, I was there because of Bob Mulligan, who has done a ton of Austrian macro research. That may slow down, when he’s a Dean. But one day I’m sitting in my office and there’s a guy moving in next door. A marketing professor. And I look on his shelf, and there’s Ayn Rand and Frederic Bastiat and Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig Von Mises, all sitting on his shelf. And I’m like, ‘uh, hey dude what’s up with that?’ [laughter] And his name’s Scott Rader. And it turns out he’s just really into free market economics, he had a career in industry before he came into marketing and he just...he had come to know the nature of regulation, without even really studying public choice, just by studying Austrian economics and Milton Friedman free market economics generally. He had just a really good intuitive sense of the relationship between the state and the market, and how [inaudible]. And he had the advantage of traveling to places like Vietnam and China, et cetera, et cetera. He was really keenly aware of the role of government in the economy and the interplay there. And so he was a natural ally and I realized this is someone who can help Ed Lopez and I and Bob build student programs. And so always be on the lookout for that, there’s an alertness that matters. That’s the most scarce thing, is faculty lines. Another thing to think about in faculty lines­­and I’m focusing the most on this because it’s the most important thing, it’s the most scarce thing as far as I can see. You might be surprised at how many endowed professorships or endowed chairs are at your university that aren’t currently filled. And sometimes they’re not filled because administrators are lazy, sometimes it’s because they’re lazy and a little greedy, so what they like to do is skim the interest off of an endowment every year and spend it on whatever the hell it is they want to spend it on. [inaudible joke] [7:03] A lot of times these things are unfilled, and...I’m not saying, ‘do it this way,’ but a lot of times these donors are still alive, they’re still around, they’d like to see something happen but no one from the university has ever contacted them or dealt with it. That is an opportunity. You want to be careful about how you start that conversation. Sometimes the way to start that conversation is actually to go to another donor, especially if you are working with another donor, and say, ‘hey, I think we can kind of do a deal where we start to build a program, maybe even a center, where this endowed position…you know, we think we can do this consistent with that donor’s intent. And then if this endowed position or this endowment combined with a temporary gift from you. And it could be the Koch foundation, it could be another donor. It could know. We have a big advantage at Troy, we have Manley Johnson, we have other donors that are really interested in what we do. And some of them are willing to put up a lot.’ ...everybody [???] [8:00] So one scarce thing to focus on is donors. And donors are actually less scarce than you think. That’s why I think he [Art Carden] said, ‘well, the funding’s not actually that big of a problem.’ Because a lot of times there’s actually these endowments, these chairs, these professorships, that are out there. And there’s an opportunity. And you’d be surprised at how often they are basically free enterprise chairs. But even then if they’re not, it could be something for regional economic development, or economic development that, you know...there’s one at Western Carolina like that that they’re hiring for right now. These opportunities come up. Be alert and be ready for it. So that’s essentially what has happened. By the way, I hold the Adams­Bibby Chair of Free Enterprise. I think there was a period of time where that was not held, where no one held that chair for about ten, fifteen years. And then when Scott Beaulier was hired they said, ‘oh, this fits! The guy running the Johnson Center can have this Free Enterprise chair. And then when Scott left I just took it. [9:00] Those opportunities are there. Be aware, be alert to that. Now there is a lot of other things… And by the way, you often have to pay the university back. And the main way we pay the university back is we credit hour production. So if you want to have this awesome class that only has ten students in it and you’re doing all these readings and you’re doing all of that...try to, if you have some control over this and you have the ability to do it, try to make it up somewhere else. Where maybe you and your colleagues who are especially effective in the classroom are teaching larger sections and generating those credit­hours. So for example George Crowley, my colleague here, he’s teaching a section of 100 students… [Crowley: “Last semester.”] Last semester? Alright. I’m teaching right now a section of one hundred students, and I also will next semester. We have lighter loads in our Center than the rest of the College of Business. But we more than make up for it, because we’re generating way more credit­hours than those sneaky accountants. [audience chuckles]. And that’s important. That’s a very tangible thing you can show university administrators. That is very much speaking their language, talking about credit­hour production, per faculty member. [10:02] But there’s lots of other things. There’s media resources. A lot of times there’s a tendency to for people who have centers and programs, sometimes they want to take on their own load with media. Start the conversation. Meet with people in the university media department, they are usually very very willing to help you, and that is something you can very much leverage. And they are happy to do it because it’s their job. They’re excited to do it. These kind of things that we do, the kind of things that you will be doing in your institutions, these are things that they can get out there. They have a hook there. Obviously there are other centers at the university. So we have a Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Innovation on our Dothan Campus. We’ve already started partnering with them in terms of having joint events together. And then they love us because they have essentially no budget. So we can afford to bring speakers and other stuff like that, and we love that because that allows us to go into frankly a more populated and prosperous part of Alabama, and reach out to a larger audience. [11:00] There’s faculty development grants. Make sure that faculty, you with some other faculty member, make sure you are taking advantage of every opportunity to get funding to go to conferences and present research and that. George [Crowley] mentioned accreditation this morning in a presentation. Accreditation is an opportunity. Don’t look at it as a threat or a waste of time. Maybe it is a total waste of your time! But I view it as an opportunity. And that’s worked really well. Particularly in business schools, AACSB [Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business] accreditation, they are very interested in getting faculty research output up so they can get or maintain their accreditation. Guess what? This is great for we, the liberty­advancing academics. Because I don’t know any of us who has said, ‘research? Forget it!’ That’s why we’re here, that’s why we went to grad school, that’s why we love students and we love to do research. That academic focus, the fact that so many of us are so talented in the classroom. That pays off well with the university but then also if you are generating research and raising the profile of the university. [12:00] ‘Well hey! This is a university where people do research and they do research that matters.’ And if you follow Pete’s advice, It’s not just in ‘Everyone Thinks I’m Insane At Home Journal.’ It’s know. It’s been widely read and you’re trying to influence the profession more broadly. One last thing I’ll tell you is: branch campuses. Other locations. So I mentioned doing something at the Dothan Campus. We have a campus in Montgomery. Well, Montgomery is the state Capital. We opened up offices in Montgomery last month. We hired a policy analyst there, we’re hiring another policy analyst. This is our chance to actually be more directly involved in state politics. And it’s already started to pay off. So Dan Smith and John Dove did a very detailed diagnosis of the fiscal state of Alabama. We were able to get an audience with the governor’s staff. And the next day we might have heard more back from them if the very next day his sex scandal hadn’t broken…[laughter]. [13:00] But we’ve actually met a couple times with different groups of legislators and they’re very very interested in what we do. The first time there was a presentation of their research they were actually very excited. They had Dan come and speak. The people who do pension reform, that committee on pension reform, they’re very interested in what we do, they’re very interested in that. And then ABC privatization is another thing where we’ve already started to get our message across. And if you’re in a state with ABC laws, like North Carolina or whatever...if you’re anything like me, a Catholic, that should be one of your highest personal priorities [laughter]. It is being able to just go to a store and buy decent bourbon after seven o’clock at night. I’ll end it there. [laughter]

Q&A with CKF's Brennan Brown

(0:52) Our faculty and graduate students taught over 4,000 students last academic year. (2:27) What do you want to do, and what is your skill set, and how can that interact well with your institution? I’m about creating value for other people, and I kind of see the most value for people in the liberty movement writ large, and so what the center does with financial income, we have sort of, our donors [foundations] and our alums of the college provide us with opportunities I can have a conversation. (4:40) It is hard. But to focus on people who are creating value, a lot of your problems disappear because, whatever institution you’re at, they care about excellence and hiring good people. Creating value for everybody, not just in your centers. How can anybody be against that? People come, hey here’s our books. Here’s what we do. You’re against placing students well? You’re against undergraduate research assistants? You’re against free courses? We, we contribute twelve free courses to the college of business, economics through our visitors, our managing director, and our programing. That creates a lot of good will, that you then can use to make inroads in other areas. So what [] has caused me to think about is [] you’re good at. What if you’re good at creating value for graduate students, and you can not be good at creating value for undergraduates. Or, we can’t be good at being, at this current time, being good at the policy research side. Why? Institutionally, it just doesn’t work. We’re three hours, on a good day, from the state capitol. The opportunity cost is just enormous for us to be engaged in that way, but we can be engaged by doing research in journals that may or may not have a policy focus, and then [the heartland institution institute for public policy, or something else will take that and run with it, and we’ll be a part of the conversation, uh, uh, that way. Don’t be dogmatic, but be firm. What I mean by that is be somewhat ecumenical when people come to you with interesting ideas, but gut check that against the mission, and be firm when it comes to saying, nope I don’t (inaudible) our mission. Or can you tell me how that would be a [benefit to our] mission.
Q: Brennan Brown (8:55) In every case, you all have developed a number of programs that are having impacts on students, or timely and relevant research, or academic mentorship or professional mentorship. What advice would you have to someone in the audience that doesn’t have all that infrastructure in place. Where do they start, what would you tell them? A: Josh Hall (12:35) That was my first thing I would say, is how can you do what you already do a little bit better, and a little more public. And maybe get some resources to help bring students to APEE, and.. i A: Derek Yonai (12:45) Building off of what Chris and Josh were saying, one of the things, and I’m going to make sure to answer this backwards, one of the things I feel a lot of people do when they try to start seminars is emulate other people, or there seems to be this common recipe that people tend to follow. Do a speaker series, do this, do that, magic happens. Sort of build it and they will come. And again, having been out in the wilderness, dealing with a $1500, I get sick when I see that, like physically ill because I just see wasted resources that I never had. My first bit of advice is to figure out what the heck do you want? What do you want to be? You can’t chart a path somewhere if you don’t know where you want to go. So the first thing is figure out what you want to be. What direction do you want to go in? Do you want to help generate grad students the way Bob did over at Capital, do you want to do policy work? What do you want to do? A: George Crowley (14:10) Yea, and I guess I would just add, the kind of entrepreneurship part to this, to get back to the theme of all this, is kind of about picking your spot, sort of finding what the opportunities [] to make this thing work. So, we’ve been very lucky at Troy. We had a big gift, that let us hire a whole bunch of people all at once, and we kind of were able to take over, for lack of a better term, but it’s still, there’s little spots where we’ve been able to make little incremental changes over and above. So, we had a finance faculty member retire, and we were able to go and hire Thomas Hogan. He’s an economist, but he had enough finance background that we were able to kind of use that. And so that’s an interesting line that we were kind of able to, kind of like, take.And it’s just little incremental things like that. Even if you’re by yourself at a place where you don’t have any [resource] just getting the ideas into the classroom, try to get the students turned on to stuff. I mean, that was my own personal experience as an undergrad, you know, you just get turned on to the idea and then, from there you can see where that goes, kind of picking your spot, and that’s the entrepreneurship part. A:Chris Suprenant (15:45) How much of my story do you want to hear where they tried to, I had a dean who hired me to do what I am doing now, and within the first three months of my, of being at UNO they tried to get me fired. They said they didn’t like what I was doing, they didn’t like the ideas. Fortunately that dean is gone. The dean I have now is very friendly. But I think that you ask people to judge things on the merits. And say, what exactly am I doing that you don’t like? Is it mentoring students? Is it bringing outstanding speakers to campus? So, I’ve [brought] us three and a half years from a handful of very far left faculty who were very upset when I got there, and doing things with the dean to try to cause me problems. But now, those people are coming to our events, sending their students to us. They still disagree, with me, but these were all people who sat on the P&T (promotion and tenure) committee at the university and put me through within literally thirty seconds of a discussion. My suggestion if you encounter problems, is if you have some money, not much money, ten, fifteen bucks, take someone out to lunch. So if someone is giving you problems, a colleague. Shoot them an email, take them out to lunch, and have a discussion with them. Just figure out where the common ground is, because my sense is that most of the disagreements we have are empirical disagreements. I have never found a faculty member where I’ve gone in and said like, look, I’m interested in making people’s lives better. Here are all the problems that we face in New Orleans. Everyone agrees with me. I say, okay, then our disagreement is just empirical. It’s just well, what’s the best way of doing it. Oh, let’s just have the students read it and let them decide for themselves. And noone’s given me any problems. So, my advice, take people out to lunch, $20 bucks. A: Derek Yonai (17:47) The feedback I’ve had has been completely positive, now, that’s ex post. Ex ante they were looking like, this is crazy, we wanted you to run a center. God. But as soon as they see the result of what kind of culture we’re creating, right now they’re sophomores, with our sophomores and we’re creating with our freshman, the kinds of activities we’re doing, the kinds of, if you will, survey responses we’re getting back and the feedback we’re getting back, from the stakeholders, and the pubic... The faculty in the school of business, no matter where they are in the ideology spectrum, ...let me put it to you this way: they love what we’re doing so much, that right now, they’re scared they’re going to lose it. Outside the school of business, we’ve partnered up with our poli­sci department, which is very far on the liberal left, but they helped us push through our political economy major, they actually co­sponsored our minor. We actually had them push it through, and they’ve been sending students to our classes. So the feedback has been really good, part of it has to do with the fact that, again, my goal has been about intellectualizing the discussion. When I go there, the concern was that I was going to be some crazy nut job ideologue. When they found out that I’m an academic, and that I cared about intellectual debate, it really seemed to soothe a lot of nerves. With all the activities the students are engaged in, and the fact that I will play the devil’s advocate, and challenge them when they seem like they are being very dogmatic for freedom, that has done a lot in gain [...] in general a lot of support, on campus, and especially off. A: George Crowley (19:10) I would just add, at Troy we, the academic side, there’s not been really any pushback at all, we’ve had a little bit of, occasional, kind of, giving some folks in the administration heartburn about some of the policy stuff that comes out, but even that hasn’t been particularly aggressive. It’s mainly, you just, you hang your hat on the fact that you are doing good work. That’s the principle, and that it’s getting the, kind of, Troy brand, in addition to the Johnson brand, like out there in the [] public policy discussion in a way that it’s never been before, and that’s not usually the kind of thing that.. You do have to be, not just a pure ideologue, dogmatic, kind of just shoot from the hip, you have to actually be doing good work. CO­OPTING STATE RESOURCES A: Josh Hall: (20:10) Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is just get people excited about these ideas!, it gets people excited!, even if you disagree, it’s the way you look at it, it’s like yea, let’s keep doing this. It’s something to re­energize. Like, a faculty member in the college who had never, had not written anything since nineteen ninety­one, and Scott Beaulier and I show up, and suddenly he’s like, writing papers, like within six months. Part of that is Scott’s, you know, influence, but these things become infectious. And ultimately, [I think] resources, more importantly, I want to co­opt resources [laughter]. So, it was a brilliant move to hire Tom Hogan when that opportunity presented itself, and I want to get as many people on the state of West Virginia resources as possible, and so how do you do that? You have to understand your institution, and bring people along that want to be a part of what you’re doing. That’s why we have only two funded lines, but four affiliated faculty. People say, I want to be a part of that. A: Josh Hall (23:03) How can you do what you already do a little bit better, and a little more [inaudible]. And maybe get some resources to help bring students to APEE. Q: Brennen Brown (0:33) In closing, I think it’s pretty clear that what brings us all together is the belief in, and the commitment to the power of ideas. Let me share a quote with you from Charles Koch, who I believe sums it up very well. This is what he said. He said, “I have a passionate belief in the power of ideas of liberty. If we fail, it is our failure, not that of the ideas. My commitment is such that it is to them, the ideas, I am dedicating my life. (80:36) If the work of these edupreneurs, these intellectual entrepreneurs, and the words of Charles Koch for example, speak to you, and resonate with you, then I invite you to talk to Steve Sweet, my colleague who’s here, Clark Scott, who I believe is also here, to talk to you about your vision, your ideas, and how to develop that intellectual entrepreneur within you. And thank you so much for being here, and thank you so much for the experts here who are with us. Chris, George, Derek, Josh

Closing Remarks: CKF's Brennan Brown

In closing, I think it’s pretty clear that what brings us all together is the belief in, and the commitment to the power of ideas. Let me share a quote with you from Charles Koch, who I believe sums it up very well. This is what he said. He said, “I have a passionate belief in the power of ideas of liberty. If we fail, it is our failure, not that of the ideas. My commitment is such that it is to them, the ideas, I am dedicating my life. (80:36) If the work of these edupreneurs, these intellectual entrepreneurs, and the words of Charles Koch for example, speak to you, and resonate with you, then I invite you to talk to Steve Sweet, my colleague who’s here, Clark Scott, who I believe is also here, to talk to you about your vision, your ideas, and how to develop that intellectual entrepreneur within you. And thank you so much for being here, and thank you so much for the experts here who are with us. Chris, George, Derek, Josh.