The Hillsdale College Classical Liberal Organization hosted junior Cal Abbo to host a presentation on Tuesday regarding the flaws of the neoclassical economic argument.
Abbo, who was invited to speak after writing a number of articles for the Collegian regarding similar issues, addressed a club that encourages discussion from all sides of the political sphere.
“We are extremely open to dissenting opinions,” Senior Calvin Zabrocki, vice president of the Classical Liberal Organization, said. “I would say this almost goes to the point of actively seeking them out for our events. An echo chamber is never good for an intellectual ecosystem. The free exchange of ideas requires two differing opinions.”
“I would agree that CLO is probably one of the most open to outside opinions,” senior Christian Betts, president of the organization said. “I don’t agree with Cal’s arguments but I think it’s important to have a dialogue between differing view points as to avoid an echo chamber.”
Abbo argued that conservative economic theory on paper is not always a viable option in the real world. He pointed to a lack of experience in most theories that he said was detrimental to the soundness of their arguments.
“The central problem with theoretical economics will always be applying the theorems to the real world,” Abbo said. “After making certain assumptions about human nature and how people act, it becomes impractical to reapply that theoretical system back to the real world.”
Zabrocki was one of the club members to invite Abbo to speak.
“We noticed the back and forth of the Collegian articles between Cal and critics so we wanted him to be able to articulate his position in a long-form atmosphere,” Zabrocki said.
Abbo authored a number of pieces for the Collegian earlier in the semester in which he presented his arguments for healthcare reform in the United States.
Abbo was delighted to receive an invite to voice his views on a majority conservative campus and believed that it was a great opportunity to produce discourse on topics that are sometimes viewed as taboo.
“Hillsdale is a great place for stuff like this because we want to emphasize diverse opinions in the pursuit of real, actual truth,” Abbo said. “I was so happy when Christian and Calvin invited me to give a presentation, and the discussion afterward was very fruitful.”
The discussion between students following the talk was cordial and productive. Abbo responded to students who voiced concerns with his premises while the audience seemed excited to engage in lively debate. While it seemed that almost all of the listeners disagreed with Abbo’s arguments, they gleaned what they could from his lecture.
“I’d say where we disagree most is the use of economics in the way we talk about health,” Zabrocki said. “There seemed to be a major difference in the role of economics in viewing human action.”