Reason presents a libertarian-themed debate series recorded monthly before a live audience in New York City. Moderated by former Barron's Economics Editor Gene Epstein, the Soho Forum features Nobel prize winners, radical thinkers, and other public intellectuals facing off over the future of abortion, bitcoin, electric vehicles, government debt, illegal drugs, robotics, sex work, and other controversial topics.
Socialism or Capitalism? A Soho Forum Debate
"Socialism is preferable to capitalism as an economic system that promotes freedom, equality, and prosperity."
That was the proposition at an in-person Soho Forum debate held on Sunday, April 18 in The Villages, Florida.
Is More Presidential Power Necessary in the Modern World? A Soho Forum Debate
Do U.S. presidents need fast-track authority or should their power be sharply curtailed? At a Reason-sponsored Soho Forum debate held on March 17, 2021, and moderated by Soho Forum Director Gene Epstein, Terry Moe and Gene Healy went head-to-head on this issue. It was an Oxford-style debate, meaning the winner is the person who moves the most people in his direction.
Should Businesses Only Focus on Shareholder Value? A Soho Forum Debate
At each of Whole Foods Market's more than 500 American stores, managers ask every team member—from the meat clerks to the baristas to the janitorial staff—to orient their work around a shared purpose, which is to make natural and healthy food widely available. This goal, according to Whole Foods CEO and co-founder John Mackey, is in no way inconsistent with maximizing shareholder value, often seen as the essential purpose of a corporation.
At a Reason-sponsored Soho Forum debate held on February 18, 2020, Ayn Rand Institute Chairman of the Board Yaron Brook challenged this view. He believes that maximizing profit should always be the primary goal of companies, and it's that focus which explains why capitalism has lifted the broad masses out of poverty. That's the message businesses should be emphasizing, he said, and it's inspiring enough.
Should the U.S. Government Adopt an Industrial Policy? A Soho Forum Debate
American Compass Executive Director Oren Cass vs. the Cato Institute's Scott Lincicome on whether the U.S. should increase its intervention in the manufacturing industry.
End the COVID-19 Lockdowns? Two Epidemiologists Debate
Should the COVID-19 lockdowns be replaced with a more targeted strategy? In an online Soho Forum debate on December 13, 2020, Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard biostatistician and epidemiologist and coauthor of the Great Barrington Declaration, debated Andrew Noymer, an associate professor of population health and disease prevention at the University of California, Irvine, who signed the John Snow Memorandum. Soho Forum director Gene Epstein moderated.
The Electoral College: Keep or Replace? A Soho Forum Debate
Is the electoral college the best system for electing a president? That was the subject of an online Soho Forum debate held on Wednesday, November 11, 2020. Richard Epstein, a law professor at New York University, defended the system against Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Harvard. Soho Forum director Gene Epstein moderated.
Dave Smith was great!
Thanks for the the awesome content. Came here after many suggestions from Dave Smith at Part of the Problem.
Too much to list
My biggest problem is with Andrew and his blatant lies without skipping a beat. Like for example the Dakota’s he said that they have higher cases and deaths than majority of states with communist lockdowns. That is a blatant lie. Especially South Dakota hasn’t locked hardly anything down since day one. Also the compliments are ridiculous. It’s one thing to be civil and recognize others views but it’s another to constantly compliment the others ignorance. And Andrew I believe the 30 percent plus of all med sizes businesses that are DESTROYED would be absolutely disgusted with the way you promote these unconstitutional lockdowns for political agendas. I always threw up a few times listening to your lies and ignorance and I believe that’s probably why you are in California and please stay there.
Stimulating debates held in a libertarian venue
I appreciate the purity of the debate format: a direct clash of ideas, some rebuttal and Q&A, concluded by an audience vote.
The topics range from economic to political issues relevant to our times. Topics are best when they challenge some view that might stretches libertarians one way or another: whether or not to break up big tech, for example, pits government intervention against large firm market capture, producing a vibrant topic for debate.
I have noticed some debaters of exceptional quality — Richard Epstein in particular shines through in his breadth of knowledge and articulation. In contrast, though, the recent debate on COVID-19 lockdowns was very poorly articulated.
As a non-libertarian, I find this whole thing very refreshing. I want to challenge my own views, and this podcast absolutely has me challenging my views on government intervention in private life and other clashes of rights and power. Very good stuff!