Morals & Markets

Morals and Markets

Exploring the intersections between ethics, politics, economics, and markets

Dr. Richard M. Salsman

Morals and Markets is a 90-minute webinar held on the fourth Thursday of each month (8-9:30PM EST) and hosted by The Atlas Society’s Senior Scholar, Dr. Richard Salsman, Ph.D., assistant professor of political economy at Duke University.

The purpose of Morals and Markets is to explore the intersections between ethics, politics, economics, and markets. A few readings are included in advance of each session; the sessions begin with opening comments by Dr. Salsman, followed by participants’ questions, comments, and debate. Dr. Salsman emphasizes the ideas and interpretations of novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, including open-ended interpretations by her successors, but webinar participants need not be familiar with (nor endorse) those ideas; moreover, the webinar incorporates relevant ideas from all types of important and influential philosophers, legal theorists, political economists, business executives, and politicians.

Since 2015 Dr. Salsman has taught in Duke’s Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE); he also conducts a popular seminar for first-year students, titled “Capitalism, For and Against.” Many of the topics, controversies, and debates that arise in these settings are relevant to topics covered in Morals and Markets.

Morals and Markets is geared to currently matriculating college students, but also welcomes recent graduates and serious high school students. Invite your friends, classmates, or colleagues... anyone who might be interested in joining this webinar!

Meet our host:

Dr. Richard M. Salsman is an Assistant Professor of Political Economy at Duke University, president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., a Senior Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, a Senior Scholar at The Atlas Society, and an essayist for Capitalism Magazine. He has authored Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions (AIER, 1990), The Collapse of Deposit Insurance and the Case for Abolition (AIER, 1993), Gold and Liberty (AIER, 1995), and The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence (EE, 2017). His next book, scheduled for release in 2021, is Where Have All the Capitalist Gone? Dr. Salsman earned a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College (1981), an M.A. in economics from New York University (1988), and a Ph.D. in political economy from Duke University (2012). In the 1980s Salsman worked on Wall Street, for the Bank of New York and Citibank. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst.


"Morals & Markets provides students of all levels an opportunity to engage with some of the most interesting (and sometimes difficult!) issues in philosophy, politics, and economics. Professor Salsman's experience as an outstanding educator and commitment to presenting a holistic view of contemporary tensions between public policy and moral philosophy encourage vibrant debate and an unparalleled learning experience. I am enthusiastic about Dr. Salsman's future iterations of Morals & Markets with the support of The Atlas Society!"
- Nikhil Sridhar

“Dr. Salsman’s lectures from Morals and Markets always leave me with a newfound framework to consider important ideas; they serve as some beacon of critical thinking in a world that needs it. The topics discussed are always fully engaging, both intellectually and practically and the discussion helps me orient my views of current political circumstances, historical trends, and political philosophy, more generally, in a rationally focused way. I hope Morals and Markets grows to become an institution – it certainly deserves to be one.”
- Clifford Gilman Jr.

"Morals and Markets has been a spectacular learning experience for me. Professor Salsman's lectures and guided discussions have opened my eyes to alternative ways of viewing issues and generally strengthened my grasp of the intersections between philosophy, politics, and economics."
- Gaurav Sharma

Recent Course Topics

We promote open Objectivism: the philosophy of reason, achievement, individualism, and freedom.