Students attend AEI conference

June 4, 2014

AEI-2013-picHistory professor Dr. Travis Ricketts and four students traveled to Washington D.C. June 13-15 for the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Values and Capitalism conference. Topics focused on issues of poverty and human flourishing, said Ricketts, and “our Christian faith as it relates to economics.”

An initiative at the American Enterprise Institute that explores the moral and material nature of a market economy…Values and Capitalism emphasizes how the free enterprise system both creates wealth and rests upon traditional American values.

Bryan students Ariel Bollant, Michael Worrell, Luke Morris, and Jonathan Hernandez were hand-picked for attendance at the event, and their expenses were paid by AEI.

The conference is geared toward undergraduate college students, and during the three day event, students explored the roots of poverty, including the degeneration of the family unit.

For Ariel Bollant, the highlight of the conference was “getting up close and personal with a public policy think tank in the Capital.” Bollant hopes to work at an organization like AEI in the future, and he considered it “a blessing to really see what things were like there and in D.C.”

Speakers included Nick Schulz, who discussed the topic of his new book Home Economics: The Consequences of Changing Family Structure , which examines the relationship between “divorce and out-of-wedlock births in America” and “the economic well-being of the country’s most vulnerable populations.”

“We hear so much in our Christian culture regarding income inequality, poverty, and social justice,” said Ricketts. “Yet culturally, and in our churches, we largely seem to be ignoring this most clear causal factor for poverty. When we talk about helping the poor or human flourishing, we need to make sure that the help we offer is truly helpful and that the incentives are in the right place.”