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Sep 15, 2016

Socialism Or Capitalism? The Debate Comes To Campus

Sponsored Content provided by Robert Burrus - Dean , Cameron School of Business - University of North Carolina Wilmington

While capitalism is still favored by the majority of Americans, a January poll suggests socialism’s popularity is on the rise. 

As reported in The Washington Post, a poll asking respondents whether they had a favorable or unfavorable view of socialism and capitalism found capitalism to be the big winner overall. But respondents under 30 years of age decisively embraced socialism.

Some older Americans dismiss the millennials’ choice by saying they are too young to remember the failure of centrally-planned economies or the lack of personal freedoms in socialistic or communistic societies.

Too young to recall? Perhaps.

A casual examination of recent history finds a meltdown in financial markets during the financial crisis, lingering unemployment (until recently) and the possibility of continued underemployment, deep and growing levels of income inequality and potentially crushing student loan payments. These observations support forecasters that remind the current generation they are potentially the first generation to achieve less economically than their parents. It’s no wonder alternatives to the perceived status quo are being explored both politically and economically.

Regardless of your personal preference, the economic systems will be the subject of a debate at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at UNCW’s  Burney Center.

Two distinguished academics - Dr. Steve Horwitz from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York and Dr. Gerald Friedman from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst - will discuss issues comprising of the roles of markets and governments within society, including their ability to exacerbate or reduce inequality. They will also cover multiple ways of conceptualizing income inequality and how it impacts economic efficiency and what, if anything, we should do about it. You’ll leave with ideas and questions about how real standards of living depend not only on absolute but also on relative incomes.

The on-campus debate is sponsored by the BB&T Global Center for Capitalism and Ethics in the Cameron School of Business.  For more information, visit

Robert T. Burrus, Jr., Ph.D., is the dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, named in June 2015. Burrus joined the UNCW faculty in 1998. Prior to his current position, Burrus was interim dean, associate dean of undergraduate studies and the chair of the department of economics and finance. Burrus earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in mathematical economics from Wake Forest University. The Cameron School of Business has approximately 60 full-time faculty members and 20 administrative and staff members. The AACSB-accredited business school currently enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students in three degree programs and 200 graduate students in four degree programs. The school also houses the prestigious Cameron Executive Network, a group of more than 200 retired and practicing executives that provide one-on-one mentoring for Cameron students. To learn more about the Cameron School of Business, please visit Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected].

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