MTSU’s Political Economy Research Institute presen...

MTSU’s Political Economy Research Institute presenting online lecture series

The Political Economy Research Institute at Middle Tennessee State University is hosting a series of online community lectures this fall with several nationally known authors and speakers.

The institute is currently hosting three live webinars discussing a range of topics, including government spending, police reform, and the role of public service during the pandemic. The PERI’s educational programming, while normally held on campus, has transitioned to a virtual environment out of safety precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Burt Folsom

Dr. Burt Folsom

Radley Balko (Photo by Noel St. John)

Radley Balko

Glenn Jacobs, Knox County mayor

Glenn Jacobs

• On Wednesday, Sept. 16, the first PERI webinar, “Uncle Sam Can’t Count,” will be presented by Dr. Burt Folsom, visiting professor of economic history at Kennesaw State University. Folsom will be discussing his book, Uncle Sam Can’t Count: A History of Failed Government Investments, from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy, co-authored with his wife, Anita Folsom. This lecture is made possible by support from the M. Thomas and Martha R. Collins Lecture in Free Enterprise.

• On Tuesday, Sept. 22, the second PERI webinar, “Reforming Policing in Tennessee,” will be presented by Radley Balko, a columnist with the Washington Post. Balko is the author of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces and The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South. He frequently reports on criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties. His work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Mississippi Supreme Court and two federal appeals courts.

• On Thursday, Oct. 15, Knox County, Tennessee Mayor Glenn Jacobs will be presenting the third PERI webinar, “Being Mayor During COVID-19,” where he will share his insight into government service during the pandemic. Jacobs, elected mayor in 2018, is also known for his professional wrestling career as WWE champion Kane. He is the author of Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling and Politics.

Political Economy Research Institute logo (PERI)For more information about the speakers and to register to attend the free Zoom webinars, visit Each lecture will consist of a presentation and a Q&A session with attendees.

Additional virtual events with partnering universities will present lectures with economist Deirdre McCloskey and author Matt Ridley. Details on those events are forthcoming.

Recent PERI events have included Dr. Howard Henderson’s (Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University) lecture on “Criminal Justice Reform in Tennessee,” Dr. Nicholas Buccola’s (Linfield College) lecture on “Frederick Douglass’ Plea for Free Speech and Open Inquiry,” and Dr. Benjamin Powell’s (Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University) lecture on the “Myths and Realities of Socialism.”

Dr. Daniel Smith, director of the Political Economy Research Institute; associate professor in Economics and Finance

Dr. Daniel Smith

The Political Economy Research Institute is a joint venture between MTSU’s Jones College of Business and the University Honors College. Under the direction of Dr. Daniel J. Smith, associate professor of economics at MTSU, the PERI engages students in research to further their understanding of how business and economic principles impact financial conditions and the well-being of society.

To learn more about the PERI or the online lecture series, visit or email

— Brian Delaney (