2021-2022 COMPAS Program: Markets and the Open Society

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"Markets and the Open Society" logo

The 2021-2022 COMPAS Program will be on the theme Markets and the Open Society.

Markets have many benefits for an open society. As engines of economic growth, markets extend the frontiers of human well-being. As sites of innovation, markets expand the bounds of human capabilities. As a non-coercive means of coordinating behavior, markets diminish the threat of tyranny.

However, markets also pose challenges for an open society. The concentration of economic power threatens to restrict individual opportunity, stifle innovation, and distort public discourse. A one-sided emphasis on economic growth and material gain threatens to limit our moral horizons and degrade the natural environment. The extension of markets into areas like education, health care, and criminal justice threatens to undermine the distinct ends that those institutions are designed to promote.

The Markets COMPAS will explore a wide range of ethical questions that are raised by the relationship between markets and the open society, including:

• How do markets inspire and stifle individual creativity?

• How do markets promote and hinder social progress?

• How do markets expand and limit human freedom?

• How do markets foster or interfere with social and political equality?

• What, if anything, shouldn’t be for sale?

• Is money speech? Is there a “marketplace of ideas”?

• Can markets save the planet?

• Should open societies have open borders?

• What’s the relationship between the market and the family?

…and more!

We welcome partnerships on these or other related themes. Please contact cehv@osu.edu with proposals.