Robert Frank, the author of PUP smash hit The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good, will be delivering the 2012 Paul V. McNutt Lecture at Indiana University. This annual lecture honors Paul V. McNutt, who was dean of the IU law school, governor of Indiana, U.S. high commissioner to the Philippines, director of the Federal Security Agency and chairman of the War Manpower Commission during World War II. Previous McNutt lectures have been delivered by Bruce J. Schulman, and Andrew J. Bacevich.
A brief summary of Frank’s book can be found in the IU press release:
In “The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good,” published in 2011 by Princeton University Press, Frank argues that Darwin’s insights about evolution help explain the workings of modern economies and why the market doesn’t always provide efficiency and serve the public good.
His case rests on Darwin’s insight that individual and group interests often diverge. For example, bull elk evolved massive antlers as effective weaponry in the competition for access to females; but the resulting antlers, which are 4 feet across and weigh 40 pounds, made the species vulnerable to predators in wooded areas. In the modern marketplace, similarly, a parent might accept a riskier job at higher pay to buy a house in a better school district. But because school quality is a relative concept, when other parents make the same choice, they succeed only in bidding up house prices.
What: 2012 Paul V. McNutt Lecture at Indiana University
Who: Robert Frank, economist at Cornell University
Topic: “The Darwin Economy”
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Where: University Club Presidents’ Room, Indiana Memorial Union