Sunday, December 8, 2013


Speaking of academics, Chris Clarke’s reposting of his What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? The Graphic Novel makes for a good moment to mention the latest Templeton news:
Texas Tech University’s Free Market Institute received a $1.7 million, three-year grant from the John Templeton Foundation to study the origins of economic freedom and prosperity, according to a Tech news release.

The grant also will fund post-doctoral fellowships, visiting professors, doctoral student fellowships, guest lecturers, summer research stipends and a major conference.

“This will be the largest grant the Free Market Institute has received since the initial pledge of $4 million that founded the institute,” said Benjamin Powell, director of the institute.

…“We won’t just be learning more about how to make societies prosperous, but about the deeper culture and values that will sustain freedom and prosperity long into the future,” he said. “The main research project funded by the grant will study what causes countries or U.S. states to adopt institutions that support an environment of economic freedom that causes prosperity.”

How economic freedom is improved is much less understood than the benefits that freedom provides, Powell said, and the research project will address this major gap in that understanding.
Administrators are thrilled:
…Texas Tech President M. Duane Nellis said understanding economic questions such as the one covered in the grant make Tech’s FMI stand out as a research institute and can have far-reaching applications that impact millions of people.

“It will be interesting to see what Dr. Powell and others uncover as they work toward a better understanding of how economic freedom and prosperity interact,” Nellis said. “I appreciate Dr. Powell’s continued efforts to secure external sources for funding.”

…“In its first year since opening, the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech is already making a tremendous impact on our students, faculty and campus,” said Tech Chancellor Kent Hance. “This $1.7 million grant is just another example of the institute’s excellence, and we are proud of Dr. Powell and his team’s efforts to highlight the importance of free market thinking and economic freedom.”
I’m fascinated by how open they are about the Institute’s agenda, the celebration of external funding regardless of source or purpose or what it makes of the university, and the neoliberal politics of the administrators themselves.

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