Program Summary

Common Sense Concept is one aspect of a new American Enterprise Institute initiative that explores the moral and material nature of a market economy.  The project emphasizes how a market economy creates wealth and both rests upon and encourages traditional American values.  Publications and events are intended primarily for college students, with particular emphasis on engaging evangelical Christian students in a discussion on the compatibility of their faith and the system of free enterprise.

AEI president Arthur Brooks (courtesy of AEI)

A major component of the project is a series of short books written at the level of college undergraduates and educated, but non expert, citizens.  Each book describes a particular public policy issue in basic terms, providing a market-friendly introduction for college students who are beginning to think about how to engage public debates.  The books are geared to college students generally, but particularly address themes of interest to evangelical students and are well-suited for course adoption.  Arthur Brooks and Pete Wehner’s Wealth and Justice, Steve Hayward’s Mere Environmentalism, and Alex Pollock’s Boom and Bust are now available for order.

Events based on the book series are hosted by colleges and universities around the country.  Additionally, we host a quarterly event series to discuss and debate contentious issues regarding morality and markets.  Speakers have included Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of World Magazine and provost of The King’s College, Jay W. Richards, author of Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem (HarperOne, 2009), P.J. Hill, professor of economics at Wheaton College, and Anthony Bradley, associate professor of economics at The King’s College.  Most recently, we hosted Dr. James Hunter, author of To Change the World: the Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (Oxford, 2010) for an event on how the themes of this groundbreaking book relate to the emerging Millennial generation of evangelicals.

For more information or to discuss bringing an event to your campus or town email

  • Just Thoughts

    The path he chose was a path going in the opposite direction of many his age, but he chose it with the same thirst for swift achievement. As soon as he reflected seriously on it, he was convinced and convicted of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul, and at once he instinctively said to himself: 'I want to live for immortality with Him and I will accept no compromise.' -Dostoevsky, Brothers K