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Steve Forbes addresses GW students

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George Washington University

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Steve Forbes addresses GW students

Editor-in-Chief of Forbes presents on capitalism, taxes, healthcare, and more

12.13.16

Steve Forbes, renowned economist, two-time presidential candidate, and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine came to speak at The George Washington University on Dec. 8. This was part of a presentation in the Ken and Janice Shengold Advancing Freedom Lecture Series. It was hosted by the Young America's Foundation and co-sponsored by Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity, Graduate Student Economics Association (SAGE), The Alexander Hamilton Society at GW, GW Young Americans for Liberty, and GW Network of Enlightened Women (NeW).

Forbes’ speech was titled, "Reviving American Capitalism: The Forbes Formula for Economic Success," which drew many GW students.

Forbes’ warm personality and genuine infatuation with all things economics lit up the Funger lecture hall throughout his speech. Forbes began his presentation by dismissing the age-old accepted definition of economics: "The allocation of scare resources”.

Following his opening he stated, “That does not get the blood moving, especially on a night like this," referring to the cold December evening.

Instead, Forbes wished to shift our understanding of economics from the allocation of scare resources to a better definition. He described economics as the “creation of new knowledge” and the “creation of resources.” Knowledge is what diverges our current society from humans of the Stone Age. Forbes wishes to celebrate our development of markets because of the vibrant methods of creation and new knowledge.

“The human mind is the real source of capitalism,” Forbes said.

“The human mind is the real source of capitalism.”

Forbes elaborated on this point by referencing World War II. Though there was horrific destruction in major areas of the world, such as Japan, knowledge was not destroyed. People in these countries turned “scarcity into abundance” by means of foreign aid and encouragement. This grew into a thriving economy post-war.

Forbes also sought to reject the “myths” of free markets. He refuted many popular conceptions of capitalism and markets currently. These are ones that revel in the financial world being laced with greed and corruption.

He explained that many people want to think of capitalism as a “slightly corrupt bargain” in the sense that it provides a better standard of living, but at a social cost. However, Forbes challenged this by pointing out all the amazing advances capitalism has been able to account for. This includes simplifying processes and developing technology for mass production.

He explained that many people want to think of capitalism as a “slightly corrupt bargain” in the sense that it provides a better standard of living, but at a social cost. However, Forbes challenged this by pointing out all the amazing advances capitalism has been able to account for.

Forbes asserted that the market does need rules for civility and fairness, but they need to operate with freedom in order for amazing things to happen.

Freshman Shalin Bhatt, a biology major with an interest in business and government, shared his impressions of Forbes’ words of wisdom. “The presentation challenged a lot of views and I gained respect from those who pursue business. He was a very interesting and captivating speaker,” he relayed.

Next, the presentation addressed taxes. Forbes suggested an elimination of the complicated tax codes that plague our country and establish a simple flat tax instead. He views taxes as not only a means for raising money, but a price and burden for doing productive things or succeeding.

To finish, Forbes addressed the monstrosities that make up the health care system and future implications. The disconnect between patients and providers has accounted for horrendous market imbalance and even life threatening situations when hospitals do not release their health violations or malpractice cases.

Forbes called for a change in nationwide shopping for health insurance. Right now the programs are state by state, but Forbes believes nationalizing the process helps consumers by forcing the companies to compete on a larger scale.

Additionally, Forbes called for true transparency in hospitals. Forcing hospitals to post their prices increases patient power in medical interactions as well as pushes hospitals to lower extremely high rates if they have to compete with or be compared to other organizations.

At the end, Forbes opened the floor to questions. Many GW students leapt at the chance to speak. The conversation ranged from President-elect Donald Trump’s new economic policy to foreign relations.

Amid policy and economic confusion throughout the United States, GW students continue to seek higher understanding through the wisdom of experienced professionals and challenge their own beliefs through real-world interactions.