Meet our 2016 Essay Contest winners, and learn more about our annual contests, including a new Video Contest for the 2016-2017 school year.
What conditions encourage innovation? What discourages innovation? Do governments help, or do they increase the time and cost of developing new products? Should businesses really have to protect themselves by lobbying, or should the government just leave entrepreneurs alone to develop products and services? This segment looks at technological innovation and government rules.
What does it mean to “delay gratification”? What does a child’s ability or willingness to delay gratification indicate? Is this something that can be taught? Should it be? This segment looks at one role parents can play in fostering successful traits in their children.
What is spontaneous order? How is it that without government direction, food is available in stores, cars are manufactured, information is available on the Internet, and people can get medical care? And what happens when government gets involved? This segment looks at the economics of spontaneous order.
Who should help victims of natural disasters? Should citizens voluntarily help? Should government? Who is better at it? This segment looks at the role government and charity-based organizations play in providing disaster relief.
Do you always do what you’re told? Should you? Does doing what you’re told absolve you of responsibility for the consequences of your actions? This segment looks at the Milgram experiment on obedience to authority and our willingness to follow orders.
What is the Fed? Okay, it’s the Federal Reserve. But what is that? What does it do? What is its role? How does the Fed affect us and our money? This segment looks at the origins and impact of the Federal Reserve.
Do you make rational decisions? Would you hire the best applicant for a job? Would you rate your teacher or professor fairly? This segment looks at recognizing bias in ourselves.
What if you want to create a product or service but don’t have the money? What can you do? You can borrow from a bank perhaps. Or you can crowdfund. What is crowdfunding? How does it work? Does it do any good? This segment looks at the benefits of crowdfunding.
Are there any limits on the government’s ability to protect its citizens? Should there be? What is the proper balance between our country’s security and our own privacy? This segment looks at the controversy surrounding the NSA.
Should people be allowed to compete against existing cab companies? Should passengers get to choose who drives them? What about the safety of passengers? Should the government protect people by regulating cab and other car services? What other reasons would the government have to regulate cab and car services? This segment looks at the current controversy over regulation of innovative car services.
What is the best way to protect endangered species? How can we ensure the survival of species and ensure that people’s property rights are not taken away? Should the government attempt to regulate land when the endangered species doesn’t even live on that land? What’s the solution? This segment looks at one government attempt to save an endangered frog.
Should businesses need permission from other businesses to compete? Should the government help established businesses keep out competition? Is uncontrolled competition too chaotic and disruptive? Do we need the government to control competition? This segment looks at moving companies and the urge to regulate them.
Why are there so many rules for us to follow? Why do governments seem to churn out more rules every day? When are there enough rules? Do more laws mean less freedom? This segment looks at some regulations and how they impact people.
What’s the best way to choose a product or service? Has the availability of feedback on the Internet diminished or eliminated government’s role in regulating business? Do markets regulate businesses better than government regulation does? This segment looks at consumer protection through reputation and regulation.
Do women make less than men? Do employers discriminate against women by paying them less? This lesson focuses on the controversy surrounding the wage gap between men and women.
Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! All right? Maybe or maybe not, says scholar Daniel K. Benjamin. Making a new tissue out of a used one wastes resources, hardly a benefit the environment. Melting and casting aluminum cans, though, saves resources and benefits the environment. Just ask the aluminum company: they know that saving scraps pays for itself. So why does it take a lesson from your third-grade teacher to get you to recycle household waste?
The Kronies are in action… Mandating, Tarrify-ing, Inflating, and Boondoggling their way to profits powered by their special konnection to the G-Force. Watch Big-G and his team stomp out competition!
Why are there so many obese Americans? What should be done about it? Who’s responsible? The government? Businesses? Us? This segment looks at proposals to curb obesity.
What is fracking? What does it do? How does it affect us? Should we celebrate it because it might reduce our oil consumption or condemn it because it might put our drinking water at risk? Who should we believe when some people tell us fracking is bad and others tell us it’s good? This segment looks at the debate over fracking.
Should people need government permission to work? Do unregulated businesses cause chaos? Should taxicabs be approved by government and their owners required to purchase medallions? This segment looks at both sides of the taxi regulation issue.
How should we improve mass transportation? Are newer and faster trains the answer? Why do so many people presume it’s government’s job to improve mass transportation? Is there a place for entrepreneurs and businesses to help? This segment looks at high speed rail projects, private buses, and the history of New York’s subways.
Why have colleges gotten so expensive? Has the money gone to improve education? Has the government forsaken our children? This segment looks at the rising cost of a college education.
Why do we favor one candidate over another? Is it because we look at the issues and choose our candidate accordingly? Or is it because we look at the candidates? And how do candidates and their campaigns react to the way we choose? This segment looks at voters, political races, and the psychology behind the campaigns that get candidates elected.
Are we safer today because of lawsuits? Should companies that produce dangerous products be immune from lawsuits? What exactly is a dangerous product? Should manufacturers be sued when something goes wrong? What responsibilities do product users have? This segment looks at one effect of product liability lawsuits.
What good do entrepreneurs do? Is it creating jobs? Is it the charity they do with the money they’ve made? Do successful entrepreneurs have an obligation to give back? This segment attempts to answer those very questions.
For more than half a century, Leonard Read’s classic story has opened eyes and changed minds by the hundreds of thousands, revealing the wondrous achievements of individuals whose contributions are coordinated by nothing more than incentives and market prices.
What makes people happy? Are we happiest when we’re doing well, or when we’re doing better than others? On what do we base our happiness? This segment looks at the relativity of happiness.
Is college really a bastion of free speech, a marketplace of ideas, where views can be discussed in an atmosphere of openness? Are some cultural, economic, and political views more acceptable on campus than others? Who decides? Should only one side of a debate be allowed on campus, because some students might be bothered by the other side? This segment looks at the debate over limiting free speech on college campuses.
Can politics and politicians solve all our problems? Is government more effective than private enterprise? Can’t we count on the entrepreneurial spirit to innovate and to develop solutions to the problems we face? This segment looks at several entrepreneurial endeavors, including energy efficient cars, space travel, and new methods of cleaning up oil spills.
What’s the difference between secrecy and privacy? Should public servants have a right to privacy while at work? If people are allowed to video record public officials, will that affect the way those officials do their jobs? If so, will the effects be positive or negative? This segment looks at the debate over video recording of police.
Who creates jobs? And who creates jobs the best? Can the government help, or do government attempts to create jobs lead to inefficiencies and waste? Do government regulations help or hinder job creation? This segment looks at job creation and the role of government.
What’s happened to freedom in America? Are there too many laws? Can the average American even know what’s legal and what’s illegal today? This segment looks at several examples of people unknowingly running afoul of the government, including children selling lemonade and Girl Scout cookies in front of their homes, a lobster importer, and people building a home on their own land.
What is the problem with some people having more money than others? Would it be better if everyone had the same? What if we could make sure everyone earned the same amount of money as everyone else? What would happen then? This segment looks at income disparity in America.
Should people be allowed to eat whatever they want? Even if it’s bad for them? What are the limits on freedom? What are the limits on government power? This segment looks at some regulations on food and asks the question: Is it the role of government to protect me from myself?
Why has life changed so much over the past few centuries, after remaining relatively the same for hundreds of thousands of years? Why does it seem that changes occur faster now than in the past? How have our lives been affected by innovation? What does the future hold? This segment looks at the reasons for and results of collaboration and innovation.
Do government programs always help? Do the outcomes match the promises? What about the unseen, unintended results? This segment looks at the Cash for Clunkers program, and its results.
Why is America so prosperous? Is it our natural resources? Or is it something more? Perhaps it’s because America is a good place for entrepreneurs. This segment looks at entrepreneurship in America.
Should people be allowed to offend each other? Criticize each other’s views, religion, even race? Should the government protect us from offensive speech, or protect offensive speakers? How important is free speech in a free society? How unique is freedom of speech in the world? This segment looks at free speech in America and some other countries.
Are you opposed to sexism? Shouldn’t men and women be treated equally? Isn’t fairness a virtuous goal? Don’t we all believe in fairness? Doesn’t Title IX simply prohibit discrimination based on sex? Can good laws have bad results? This segment looks at Title IX and some unintended consequences.
What makes people happy? Is it money? What role does success play? This segment looks at entrepreneurship, happiness, and the American Dream.
Should interns get paid? Should minimum wage laws apply? Shouldn’t the education and training an intern gets be considered? Are there any unintended consequences of mandating that interns be paid? This segment looks at internships in America.
Is our government on an unsustainable spending spree? Does it regulate too much? And does anyone really even care? This segment looks at government debt, spending, and regulation, and advancing the cause of liberty.
Why would anyone oppose a minimum wage? Don’t all workers deserve to be paid fairly? Don’t we need someone to protect workers from being taken advantage of? Is there a downside to minimum wage laws? Are there unintended consequences even to the well-intentioned minimum wage? Whom do such laws help? Whom do they hurt? This segment looks at the minimum wage and some unanticipated results.
How can we help those in need? And just who is in need? How do we know? Do people who panhandle really need money to survive? Do our attempts to help people really help them? This segment looks at panhandling and charitable intentions.
This short video suggests that the solution to America’s jobs problem is specific reforms that wouldn’t cost taxpayers and would provide opportunity for millions of Americans who worry where their next paycheck is coming from.