Bart J. Wilson credits the Freedom Center’s Visiting Fellows Program, created by Mary L. Rigdon, Freedom Center Director and Associate Professor of Political Economy & Moral Science, as a catalyst that provided the perfect opportunity, location, and collaboration to help him write Meaningful Economics. His Visiting Fellow Spotlight summarizes this forthcoming book that continues to reintegrate economics and the humanities to promote a better understanding of how decision-making impacts individuals and society.

“The integration of the study of human behavior with economics is critically important, particularly in the current context where economic considerations are frequently, and incorrectly, seen as being at odds with the principles of justice,” Saura Masconale, FC Associate Director and Assistant Professor of Political Economy & Moral Science, said during the workshop. “Mary and I are pleased to support Bart, and we appreciate how his work highlights the value of the Visiting Fellows program to UArizona and the scholars we welcome to campus.”

Wilson is Professor, Donald P. Kennedy Chair in Economics and Law, and Director of the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University. The Freedom Center hosted a Manuscript Workshop to provide valuable, constructive feedback and help him continue refining the book.

“After spending a year in my own head drafting the manuscript, the workshop is an opportunity to hear how other people interpret my ideas and react to my presentation of them,” Professor Wilson said.

Kaveh Pourvand, FC Postdoctoral Research Associate, organized the workshop with prominent scholars including:

  • Price V. Fishback, Regents Professor, APS Professor of Economics, Eller College of Management, UArizona
  • Robert Gordon, FC Faculty and Assistant Research Professor, UArizona
  • Johanna Jauernig, FC Postdoctoral Research Associate, UArizona
  • James Konow, FC Visiting Fellow and Professor of Economics, Loyola Marymount University
  • Saura Masconale, FC Associate Director and Assistant Professor of Political Economy & Moral Science, UArizona
  • Deirdre McCloskey, FC Visiting Fellow and Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication, University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Stanley Reynolds, Eller Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Eller College of Management, UArizona
  • Vlad Tarko, Associate Professor of Political Economy & Moral Science, UArizona
  • Peter Vanderschraaf, Professor of Political Economy & Moral Science and Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law (PPEL) Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Affiliate Faculty, Department of Philosophy, UArizona
Participants at Bart J. Wilson's Book Manuscript Workshop
Scholars participating in the book manuscript workshop (L-R): Deirdre McCloskey, Peter Vanderschraaf, Stanley Reynolds, Vlad Tarko, James Konow, and Robert Gordon.

Each participant read the draft manuscript and provided meaningful feedback to support and strengthen Professor Wilson’s work. The workshop was comprised of four sessions, each facilitated by one of the participating scholars. They summarized their perspective, led a group discussion, and invited Professor Wilson to ask follow-up questions and respond to the comments. Throughout, he was deeply focused and collaborative, addressing the group’s insights.

“The participants wanted to hear more upfront about why meaning and purpose and value matter to the study of economics,” Professor Wilson continued. “I appreciated this feedback and believe it will strengthen the impact of my key points.”

The manuscript workshop illustrates two fundamental Freedom Center values: a commitment to academic freedom and a multidisciplinary approach to enhancing understanding of the elements that shape individual and societal prosperity.

“Drawing upon philosophy, politics, economics, law, and ethics, we can present a holistic view of how people’s decisions impact their lives and society. We welcome diverse perspectives, encourage critical thinking, and believe progress is accelerated by constructive debate. Meaningful Economics has benefitted from this process, and we look forward to its publication,” Rigdon concluded.