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American Enterprise Institute: Happiness, Free Enterprise and Human Flourishing

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American Enterprise Institute's event featuring His Holiness, the Dalai Lama: Happiness, Free Enterprise and Human Flourishing


A very interesting event took place last month at the American Enterprise Institute featuring His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, in a panel discussion on “Happiness, Free Enterprise, and Human Flourishing.”

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The American Enterprise Institute is a not-for-profit, private institution for education and research, comprised of both scholars and contributors who are committed to "expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity and strengthening free enterprise." A transcript and audio podcast and video of the event are available at the AEI website.

Founded in 1938, the institution's research is dedicated to the study of seven aspects of self-government: education, health, politics and public opinion, society and culture, economics, foreign policy and defense, and Energy and the environment. The institute maintains a list of current experts in each of those areas, with the exception -- at least for the present -- for energy and the environment

There are also some specialized sites readily accessible for -- among other areas of interest -- the Culture of Competition, American Citizenship, and Values and Captialism.

The director of AEI, Arthur C. Brooks, is the author of "The Road to Freedom," in which he describes his approach as "the fight for cultural renewal in America based on free enterprise.

Only free enterprise encourages and allows each of us to define our destiny and earn our success. Only free enterprise encourages true fairness based on merit and opportunity. And free enterprise is the only system that can lift up the vulnerable and those who have fallen on hard times by the millions—by rewarding entrepreneurship and encouraging charity.

These three principles — earned success, true fairness and helping those in need — are the foundation of the moral case for free enterprise.

The first panel -- and the one in which His Holiness took an active part --was on “Moral free enterprise: Economic perspectives in business and politics.” Arthur Brooks moderated and summarized the the discussion by pointing to the fact that a capitalist society will always work best when free enterprise is driven by an individual's "moral living and the practice of compassion."

The second panel was entitled “Unlocking the mind and human happiness,” and was moderated by Arthur Zajonc, and co-hosted by the Mind and Life Institute. In this panel it was noted especially that free enterprise works best when it is "practiced in the spirit of compassion rather than division."

The AEI website hosts two videos that are also relevant to the topic of the event, which include "The Secret to Happiness," featuring Mr. Brooks; and videos of each of the panels, and special highlights of those delivered by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.


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