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TFAS Alumni in NYC Reconnect to Discuss What Philosophy Teaches Us About Economics


Man speaks in front of crowd
Dr. James Otteson compares the seven deadly sins to seven economic fallacies and explains how believing in them leads to severe economic challenges.

On May 18, 2022, TFAS alumni and supporters gathered at the Harvard Club in New York City for the continuation of the Liberty + the Future NYC Alumni Lecture Series. After a long pause, the lecture series and networking event started back up with an engaging presentation from Dr. James R. Otteson.

A TFAS senior scholar and University of Notre Dame professor, Otteson delivered a timely lecture on his latest book, “Seven Deadly Economic Sins: Obstacles to Prosperity and Happiness Every Citizen Should Know.”

Everyone on all sides wants a just and humane society, we also all want increasing opportunity for everyone.” – James R. Otteson

Otteson offered a unique perspective on prosperity and happiness by applying philosophy and ethics to the practice of economics. He started off his lecture with a summary of the ‘seven cardinal sins’ (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth) and offered a compelling parallel story of seven central economic fallacies. He explained why these are fallacies, why believing in them leads to mistakes and loss, and how exorcizing them from our thinking can help us avoid costly errors and enable us to live in peace and prosperity.

Following the lecture, guests were able to connect, network and continue the conversation. The room was filled with a diverse group of individuals, and several new friendships were formed.

Men pose for a photo.
Dr. Otteson, Brian Scales and John Tomasi reconnect after many years at the event.

Because this was the first event in the series since the beginning of the pandemic, alumni and supporters used the opportunity to reunite and reconnect with the TFAS Network. Guests stayed long past the closing of the program to soak in the moment and enjoy each other’s company.

TFAS Vice President of International and Continuing Education Programs Michelle Le ’95, ’96 enjoyed reconnecting with alumni at the event.

“Events such as these stand as testament to the lifelong impact that TFAS has in people’s lives,” Le said.

Wes Parnell EJI ’17, ’18, a reporter at Lost Debate, attended the lecture. He explained that the series was “a great event before the pandemic and even more important after.”

“Dr. Otteson delivered an engaging and stimulating lecture,” he said. “It sparked conversation amongst alumni, the kind of conversations that can be lost on Zoom calls.”

Parnell said the opportunity to see his TFAS colleagues face-to face and catch up with their accomplishments “was both refreshing and inspiring.”

People talking
Michelle Le ’95, ’96 chats with Wes Parnell, EJI ’17, ’18 after the lecture. The pair shares their key takeaways from the lesson.

“It was a great event with even better individuals,” he said.

The event is a part of TFAS’s quarterly lecture series and networking event exclusively available to TFAS alumni and friends in the greater New York City area. The series is made possible through the generosity of the Achelis and Bodman Foundation. Their gift, made in support of our 50th Anniversary Liberty + Leadership Campaign initiative to engage and mobilize the global TFAS Alumni Network, allows alumni leaders to continue their education in liberty.

To learn more about the series and how you can register for future events, visit TFAS Alumni Connect.




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