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Stanford Axes ‘Moral Foundations of Capitalism’ Class

A “Moral Foundations of Capitalism” class has been axed at Stanford University – this despite its popularity among conservative and liberal students alike at the campus, reports the Stanford Review.

The seminar, similar to an elective, “primarily covered the arguments of economists such as Milton Friedman, of Protestant and Catholic religious defenders, and of Objectivists,” reported Devon Zuegel of the Review.

“There was a huge demand for the class … with students sitting on the floor outside, trying to get in,” said a junior, (who wishes to remain anonymous), who took the class in Winter 2012.

While there was steady interest for the course throughout the three years the class was
offered, the type of students that it attracted varied. According to McCaskey, the class was largely made up of competing conservative students in the first year, largely because two students—one Catholic and one Ayn Rand Objectivist—extensively promoted the course before registration. By the third year, however, the class was much more balanced. “The class attracted all sorts of students, right and left wing,” said the junior. “Some objectivists, a couple of libertarians, a member of Stanford Democrats, and even two Marxists.”

“The class was still disproportionately conservative compared to the campus demographic,” said McCaskey, “but it was a good mix with strong opinions. It was just as much an intellectual challenge to be conservative in the class as it was to be liberal.” ….

Despite strong demand, the class was discontinued after three years due to a restructuring of Stanford’s general education requirements (GERs). Beginning next year, one of the new requirements will be “Ethical Reasoning.”

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H/T: Young America’s Foundation

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  • cmkalm

    Further eroding of our free market system.

    • Donald_Dump

      Stanford is a private institution. It is the free market system.

      Don’t like it? Go to Bob Jones U.

      • cmkalm

        Why would a college axe a class that has been a staple of it’s university? Especially one that has a waiting list? Because they have an agenda. It is only in articles like this one from The Fix that are telling us what’s really going on at our college campuses thanks to the free market system. Don’t like this article or my comment? Go to another article.

        • Donald_Dump

          Three years = “staple of it’s [sic] university”? Really?

          Don’t like whining? Stop now.

          • Says the guy whose nom de plume is a bowel movement. Appropriate, though.

          • Donald_Dump

            It’s classy. Just ask my wife, Melanoma.

      • Brett_McS

        There is only one university in America that doesn’t accept government funding, and it isn’t Stanford. Stanford is part of what would more correctly be called “the fascist system” of heavy government involvement in notionally private industry.

        • nacnud

          Patrick Henry College

          • Renatius Barton

            Also Hillsdale Collge

      • john s

        1)Not calling for the govt to step in.
        2)Seems funny to kill a course that is not only popular but extremely relevant, doesn’t it?
        3)Colleges seem to embrace anything that attacks the free market so you can believe that they won’t be getting any more financial support of mine.

        • Unless you stop paying taxes and stop dealing in dollars, they’re going to get your financial support.

        • Donald_Dump

          What!?! No John S. Science Pavillion at Leland Stanford Junior University?

          How will they make up the shortfall?

          • john s

            By asking the govt to take the money out of my paycheck anyway, no doubt. Hurray for subsidized student loans, right? That’s working real well – for the universities at least.

      • cmkalm is not arguing that Stanford does not have a right to do this. They do. She is is saying the lack of good ideas out there is a detriment to free markets, which is true.

        • Donald_Dump

          Stanford is part of the free market system of private universities. If there is a demand for this course, some other enterprising university (or universities) will offer the course, or one like it. Rational actors will efficiently ride the invisible hand all the way to those schools, and Stanford will suffer financially. There is no detriment. Unless you don’t believe in the free market system.

          • Sigivald

            What makes you think that the modern American educational system is a free market?

            Rothbard (e.g.) would laugh until he died* if he heard that.

            (* Fortunately for him, he’s already dead.)

  • georgedixon1

    Try though one might….one cannot cure stupid.

    Try to afford a social program without the surplus which a capitalistic system, with proven energy, can generate. If you hate capital and growth, by default, you embrace redistributive poverty and assured failure.

    Dare to be normal…it works when allowed to.

    • SemperWhy

      Heh. Isn’t that the purpose of college? To try and fix stupid?

  • Andy Johnson

    Can’t have anyone thinking “capitalism” is moral or ethical… They might start to question the pablum they have been fed for 20 some years… Typical silliness from people who have never made a commitment to a customer, a vendor, an employee, a banker, or met the IRS commitments…or faced jail time and penury for failure… Where does money come from-? They probably cannot say much beyond “the government”…

    Sad… teaching children to be drones and eunuchs as their careers… for this somebody paid $50-60k per year… malpractice-? false advertising-? need some lawyers to set thing afire

  • I’ll bet there were some interesting discussions in that class! But that’s too bad, I’m an Objectivist and I’m familiar with McCaskey, and the country needs more of this. Capitalism is often (falsely) smeared as being immoral, so the world needs more of this type of course. DESPERATELY.

    However, the new requirement of “Ethical Reasoning” also presents a great opportunity for Objectivists and liberty-lovers in general.

  • It didn’t fit the narrative.

  • It is no longer the purpose of colleges to educate students in what makes western civilization great and prepare them to build upon it. The purpose of our universities is to indoctrinate students in the failed doctrine of Marxism. The left made absolutely no bones about this being their intention and they have done it.

    I don’t see the current system, where families pay tens of thousands of dollars to a university to lie to their kids, lasting much longer — if for no other reason than the previous graduates these institutions have turned out have bankrupted us trying to make socialism work.

  • Henri Gnu

    Ironically, this was due to the department making a command decision to allocate its scarce resources.That there was student demand made no difference. For all I know, the cancellation was made in good faith and will lead to something better: but I get the feeling that this is a prime example of why inexpensive online credentialing has a future, because the student demand seen here would be treated as an incentive, rather than be subject to bureaucratic bigfooting.

    • Micha_Elyi

      Marginal Revolution University has a home for this course.

  • Let me guess, “Ethical Reasoning” will be Marxist to its core.

    • Sadly – most likely.

    • Morgan Liberte

      Yes. In fact, the “textbook” and the entire course can be summed up in one line: “The ends justify the means.” To the Left, that’s what “ethical” means.

  • Michael

    Ethical reasoning is more encompassing and less likley to be spending time with republican hot buttons

    • Bertibus

      More ‘encompassing’? Of what? Only someone who has no experience of the world of business could utter such an inanity.

  • The professor who taught this course needs to contact one of the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) providers and see if this course cannot be offered online to everyone.

  • Aaron1960

    NO DIVERSITY ALLOWED! Unless it’s leftist ‘diversity’.

  • Laka

    The student who took the class and commented favorably on it, “wishes to remain anonymous.” Smart person. That kind of heresy will definitely get you sentenced to extra Victim’s Studies classes to fulfill your “Ethical Reasoning” requirement.

  • 17_woods

    Those interested should go on-line to Hillsdale College for free classes on the Constitution, and read von Mises and von Hayek. Self-educate.

  • richard40

    We cant possibly have any classes teaching capitalism and the free market to compete with the marxist professors.

  • Doozielu

    Amazons at universities order the class closed!! Why not just pump democrat politician speeches overhead and dope the kids up for 4 years??

  • barthomew

    When the Soviet Union collapsed, Gorbachev got a standing ovation at Stanford when he said that no one won the Cold War. Stanford had declined the Reagan papers. In a later speech, Gorbachev said that the West had won the Cold War. Now he says that Putin has undone the reforms he brought about–actually, that Reagan, Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, George Meaney, and Z. Brezezinski brought about.
    The 20th century was the bloodiest in history. Primary perpetrators were the governments of the Communist Soviet Union and of Red China, plus the National Socialist government of Germany.
    Moynihan noted that the taxi driver in the Soviet Union knew more about the terrible condition of the economy than the profs at Yale, who were still presenting as true the false ecconomic figures the Soviet Union was still putting out right before it fell. Yale had the deluded spirit of Stanford.

  • 10000li

    This isn’t really a loss. Libertarians still have plenty of opportunities to educate conservatives, liberals and Objectivists in the moral foundations of capitalism.

  • Moral foundations of capitalism? Hmm.. let’s think, the “moral foundations” of capitalism are: exploitation, nihilism, cynicism, and greed. I doubt Milton Friedman or Ayn Rand recognized this simple reality.