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Center for Free



Michael Novak, 1933-2017

Sadly, we must note the loss of Michael Novak on February 17th. Highly respected, Dr. Novak was a philosopher, theologian, diplomat and author, who was for many years based at the American Enterprise Institute. In The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, he explored the important interplay between free enterprise, democratic politics, and pluralistic cultural institutions. One of his important insights was the need for realism in assessing economic and social systems:

“Democratic capitalism is neither the Kingdom of God nor without sin. Yet all other known systems of political economy are worse. Such hope as we have for alleviating poverty and for removing oppressive tyranny – perhaps our last best hope – lies in this much despised system.”

Early in his career, Dr. Novak understood the importance of identifying how social cooperation can be achieved as a practical matter. Many philosophers focus incompletely on questions concerning social justice and think insufficiently about the operation of economic systems. Dr. Novak saw democratic capitalism as a morally superior system precisely because it permits economic opportunity for all. Individuals are encouraged to consider where they could be next year in voluntary cooperation with others, rather than adopting a more divisive politics of envy. Michael Novak will be greatly missed, but his work will continue to encourage realistic assessment of what works best for the welfare of the ordinary person.

Center for Free Enterprise logoThe Center for Free Enterprise connects business education to human welfare and engages students in rigorous education about the principles and institutions needed for free individuals to flourish with dignity in a civil society.

The Center is a regional and national leader in free enterprise student engagement. Free enterprise exists where the rule of law, limited governance, and free markets intersect. It is based on the philosophy of individualism and freedom where individuals can utilize their inherent creativity for the benefit of themselves and others.

The Center :

  1. Educates students about the necessary conditions for free enterprise.
  2. Examines moral questions in relation to individual action in free enterprise systems and in planned economies.
  3. Communicates vital relationships between free enterprise, rule of law, personal freedom and pluralistic politics.
  4. Engages in impartial scholarship investigating the role institutions play in supporting a free civil society.
  5. The Center promotes the principles of free enterprise, individual liberty, the rule of law, and economic freedom on campus and to the public at large.

More Resources For Free Enterprise

Center for Free Enterprise

The Center for Free Enterprise examines the important role free enterprise plays within the global economy.


Monday – Friday
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM


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Dr. Antony W. Dnes
Director of the Center for Free Enterprise

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Dr. Joseph Connors
Assistant Professor of Economics

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Karen Persun
Program Coordinator

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The Politics, Law, and Economics Lecture Series

PoliticsLawLog-(1).pngThe PLE Lecture Series is designed to highlight the ways in which politics, law and economics work together to sustain free enterprise. Nationally-renowned scholars, journalists and policy-analysts visit Florida Southern and share their insight and experience with students. Open to the public, this series is a great opportunity to meet experts in various fields.

We are grateful for generous financial support from:


Spring 2017 Schedule

All lectures will be held at 6:00 PM in the Becker Business Building Room 112.

March 2 - Live Free and Prosper

Dr. Thomas R. Saving

Dr. Thomas R. Saving is an NCPA (National Center for Policy Analysis) senior fellow, and the Executive Director of the Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M University. A University Distinguished Professor of Economics at Texas A&M, he also holds the Jeff Montgomery Professorship in Economics.

The Myth of the Wage Gap to be presented by Diana Furchtgott-Roth has been postponed because of her appointment to the Labor Department Transition Team. This important lecture will be rescheduled at her earliest convenience.

Adam Smith Club

The Adam Smith Club is a community of students who discuss and share ideas that support economic freedom. Students engage with one another and faculty through a book club, movie nights and related activities.

BookClub1-(2).jpgBook Club

Students meet with the Center’s faculty to discuss readings related to free enterprise. Books have included Matt Ridley’s “The Origins of Virtue: Human Interaction and the Evolution of Cooperation”, Jason L. Riley’s “Please Stop Helping Us”, and Frank Furedi’s “What’s Happened to the University?”

Meetings are held at 4:30 PM
Becker - 3rd Floor
January 19, January 26
February 9, February 23
March 16, March 30
April 13, April 27

BookClub2.jpgMovie Night

The Adam Smith Club hosts a regular movie night, followed by an informal discussion about how the film’s underlying themes relate to human nature and free enterprise.

Movies are showing at 5:30 PM
Becker 112
January 20 - Bridge Of Spies
February 14 - Monsters, Inc
March 24 - A Beautiful Mind
April 21 - V For Vendetta




Integral to the Center’s educational outreach are two majors dedicated to the study of free enterprise: the Bachelor of Science in Political Economy and the Bachelor of Science in Business and Free Enterprise. Political Economy examines the ways in which politics, law and economics work together to support a full-functioning free enterprise system. The Business and Free Enterprise major emphasizes both economic analysis and political science, helping majors understand business transactions from a broader, social perspective.


Introduction to the Philosophy of Business

Many people have preconceived notions of what free enterprise means and what role business plays in our social order. This class challenges many preconceived notions of free enterprise by examining the relationship between individuals and the state and that between individuals and society. The course uses economic analysis to examine the role markets play in coordinating individual economic activity and creating widespread gains from trade. The course shows how business is inherently socially beneficial.

Advanced Philosophy of Business and Market Based Management

This course conducts an in depth examination of the institutional structure necessary for a flourishing social order. The course examines market behavior and applies economics to understanding the economy as an informational feedback mechanism allowing social cooperation and entrepreneurial activity. The course also discusses how societies provide quality assurance in the absence of government regulation. This requires the student to apply basic economic theory, particularly supply and demand and opportunity-cost analysis, and to apply the understanding of social science to business management.

Summer Program in Free Enterprise

This summer program addresses a contemporary policy issue with a youthful slant.  Admitted students are invited to Florida Southern for an in-depth examination of a pressing issue from a free enterprise perspective. Recent topics included an examination of how to encourage entrepreneurship, and ways in which free enterprise thinking can help solve problems in the criminal justice system. The program is free to participants.


About the Center for Free Enterprise

The Center for Free Enterprise helps students understand and appreciate the important role free enterprise plays within the American economy. A free enterprise system promotes economic prosperity by creating a favorable environment where businesses compete with minimum regulatory interference, allowing them to develop vigorously providing wider gains from trade as they do so. Through extracurricular activities such as guest lectures, luncheons and off-campus seminars, students can explore the principles and institutions that sustain free enterprise.

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A native of the United Kingdom, Dr. Antony Dnes holds a BA in economics from the University of Leicester, England; a Master of Letters in economics and natural resources from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland; a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Edinburgh; and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of London. He has served as professor and head of Economics at the University of Hull Business School, UK, professor and associate dean at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, and taught for several years at the Virginia Tech in the US. Dr. Dnes is a member of the editorial board of International Review of Law & Economics and was elected academic director of the Western Economics Association from 2008 to 2010. He has consulted for the UK Intellectual Property Office, the UK Lord Chancellor’s Department, the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council, and the World Bank.

Current affiliations include editor-in-chief of the scholarly journal Managerial & Decision Economics, senior affiliated scholar at George Mason University Law School’s Mercatus Center, and mentor for the Institute for Humane Studies in Arlington, Virginia. The author of several books and more than 40 journal articles, Dr. Dnes was a 2009 Leverhulme Fellow and has been a visiting professor at the University of Oxford’s Wolfson College, UC Berkeley School of Law, and George Mason University Law School, among others. Read his faculty page
Read about Managerial and Decision Economics

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Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Joseph Connors, assistant professor of economics and CFE Fellow, brings to his teaching and outreach work extensive experience as an economics researcher. His current research is focused on how economic and political institutions impact those living in extreme and moderate poverty. Additional research interests encompass cronyism, rent seeking, and political entrepreneurship. A native of California, Dr. Connors graduated with honors from Santa Clara University, and earned a Ph.D. in economics from Florida State University, where he worked with James Gwartney, Ph.D. His publications have appeared in the Independent Review, Social Education, and in several book collections. Read his faculty page