UW Madison: Socialism, Social Democracy, & Capitalism

Wall Street, New York City, 1847

The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy: “Socialism, Social Democracy, & Capitalism: Which is Right for America?”


The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, a JMC partner program, will be co-hosting a debate on “Socialism, Social Democracy, and Capitalism: Which is Right for America?” This debate will discuss the ideas, philosophy, and practical policy questions behind socialist and social democratic systems, and compare them to capitalist economies (both in ideal form and in current practice in the US). The historical and economic record of socialist and social democratic economies will also be discussed and past experience will be related to current policy proposals. Brian Leiter will speak in favor of social democracy, while Bryan Caplan will speak in favor of capitalism.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 7:00 PM
Deluca Forum, Discovery Building • University of Wisconsin – Madison

Registration required

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Brian Leiter is the Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence, and Director of the Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values at the University of Chicago Law School. His teaching and research interests are in moral, political, and legal philosophy, in both the Anglophone and Continental European traditions, and the law of evidence. His books include Objectivity in Law and Morals (Cambridge, 2001) (editor), Nietzsche on Morality (Routledge, 2002), Naturalizing Jurisprudence (Oxford, 2007), Why Tolerate Religion? (Princeton, 2013), and Moral Psychology with Nietzsche (Oxford, 2019). He is presently working on realism as a theme in political and legal theory, on meta-ethical and metaphysical questions in general jurisprudence, and on philosophical issues about free speech, in both the liberal and Marxian traditions.

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Bryan Caplan is a Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center. He specializes in public economics, public choice, psychology and economics, public opinion, economics of the family and education, genoeconomics, and Austrian economics. Professor Caplan is the author of, among others, The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies (Princeton, 2008), named “the best political book of the year” by the New York Times, and Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think (Basic, 2011).

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The Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy at University of Wisconsin – Madison seeks to promote appreciation and critical understanding of the cardinal principles and institutions of liberal democracy while advancing intellectual diversity. These principles and institutions include constitutionalism and rule of law, the meaning and scope of freedom and free markets in a democratic order, the place and role of religion in liberal democracies, and competition between liberal democracy and competing ideologies, including various forms of autocracy and new political religions.

Learn more about the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy >>



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