The Contributions of Adam Smith
A one-day conference on the philosopher's innovations across disciplines, from moral psychology, politics, to economics.
Thursday, October 29-Friday, October 30
BB&T Speaker Series in Political Economy, Free Markets, and Free Societies
The Hobby Center for Public Policy invites you to attend the BB&T Speaker Series in Political Economy, Free Markets, and Free Societies. The BB&T Speaker Series convenes nationally renowned scholars and leading professionals to discuss timely policy and ethical issues. Lectures are free to the public. Lectures are co-sponsored by the Honors College's Phronesis program. Details about each individual lecture are below.
April 7 at 9:30 am, Student Center Theater Room
"The Rule of Law": Current Status
James E. Fleming, Nadine Strossen, Steven Simpson, Tara Smith
Rule of law: the just application of law that emphasizes no one is above the law.
Rule of law: an ideal we strive for as a society or government.
The meaning of the term is as varied as the many political debates that have invoked it. The University of Houston Hobby Center for Public Policy’s “BB&T Speaker Series” hosts a panel of experts in the fields of law, civil liberties and philosophy to discuss “The Rule of Law: Current Status.” The event begins at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 7 in the UH Student Center Theater. It is free and open to the public.
“This distinguished panel of scholars, from various backgrounds and viewpoints, will share their thoughts on a fundamental principle separating democracies from dictatorships,” said Jim Granato, professor of political science and director of the Hobby Center. “The policy implications are profound, since ‘rule of law’ considerations in the United States cover the entire spectrum – from national security to domestic policies.”
Economic Crisis: Causes, Consequences and Remedies
September 16 at 5:00 pm, University Center Theater Room 103/203
America's Fiscal Constitution: Its Truimph and Collapse
What would Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Truman, and Eisenhower have done about today’s federal debt crisis?
America’s Fiscal Constitution tells the remarkable story of fiscal heroes who imposed clear limits on the use of federal debt, limits that for two centuries were part of an unwritten constitution. Those national leaders borrowed only for four extraordinary purposes and relied on well-defined budget practices to balance federal spending and revenues.
That traditional fiscal constitution collapsed in 2001. Afterwards—for the first time in history—federal elected officials cut taxes during war, funded permanent new programs entirely with debt, grew dependent on foreign creditors, and claimed that the economy could not thrive without routine federal borrowing.
For most of the nation’s history, conservatives fought to restrain the growth of government by insisting that new programs be paid for with taxation, while progressives sought to preserve opportunities for people on the way up by balancing budgets. Virtually all mainstream politicians recognized that excessive debt could jeopardize private investment and national independence.
With original scholarship and the benefit of experience in finance and public service, Bill White dispels common budget myths and distills practical lessons from the nation’s five previous spikes in debt. America’s Fiscal Constitution offers an objective and hopeful guide for people trying to make sense of the nation’s current, most severe debt crisis and its impact on their lives and our future.
What's Fair? A Lecture Series on Justice and Desert in America
October 6 at 4:00 pm, Honors Commons
The Death Penalty and Prison Reform in Texas
Sister Helen Prejean
Sister Helen Prejean has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on the death penalty and helping to shape the Catholic Church’s newly vigorous opposition to state executions. She travels around the world giving talks about her ministry. She considers herself a southern storyteller.
Sister Helen is a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph. She spent her first years with the Sisters teaching religion to junior high school students. Realizing that being on the side of poor people is an essential part of the Gospel she moved into the St. Thomas Housing Project in New Orleans and began working at Hope House from 1981 – 1984.
During this time, she was asked to correspond with a death row inmate Patrick Sonnier at Angola. She agreed and became his spiritual adviser. After witnessing his execution, she wrote a book about the experience. The result was Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States. It became a movie, an opera and a play for high schools and colleges.
Since 1984, Sister Helen has divided her time between educating citizens about the death penalty and counseling individual death row prisoners. She has accompanied six men to their deaths. In doing so, she began to suspect that some of those executed were not guilty. This realization inspired her second book, The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions, which was released by Random House in December of 2004.
Sr. Helen is presently at work on another book - RIVER OF FIRE: MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY.