COBE lecture series focuses on economic freedom and prosperity


Russell S. Sobel, visiting scholar in entrepreneurship in the School of Business Administration at The Citadel, speaks at the COBE Global Capitalism Distinguished Speaker Series.

As Russell S. Sobel talked, displayed behind him was a large satellite time-lapse photo of the Earth at night.

"Some places are bright and shiny with prosperity and wealth, and sadly there are other places on the face of the globe that are dark and dim and impoverished," said Sobel, the guest lecturer for the Radford University College of Business and Economics' Global Capitalism Lecture Series sponsored by BB&T on Oct. 31.

Sobel, a visiting scholar in entrepreneurship in the School of Business at The Citadel, argued that the economic policies of a state or country "determine their fate, not their education levels or their resources or their geography. Too many people use those as scapegoats for their poor."

Throughout his 30-minute lecture titled "Economic Freedom, Entrepreneurship and Prosperity," Sobel provided those gathered in COBE's multipurpose room with numerous examples of countries and states that get it right with their economic policies and those that do not.

Following his lecture, Sobel hosted a brief question-and-answer session with the audience.

COBE hosts the lecture series once during the fall and once during the spring semesters. The event is made up of two lectures, one which is open to the campus community and the public, and a second with a luncheon. Each event brings RU students, faculty and administrators together with professionals from the business community.


Students listen to Russell S. Sobel, visiting scholar in entrepreneurship in the School of Business Administration at The Citadel.

Senior Chrissy Edwards of Richmond said COBE events, such as the lecture series, are a wonderful opportunity for students. "Events like these give students a real-life perspective, and it's another way for us to learn outside of the traditional classroom. And it's a great networking opportunity," said Edwards, who is majoring in marketing with a minor in international studies.

Sobel serves on the editorial board for three academic journals and on the advisory board for four university centers. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and his research, including the 2008 Sir Anthony Fisher Award for best state policy publication of the year.  Sobel's recent research focuses in the areas of state economic policy reform and entrepreneurship. 

Sobel has authored or co-authored more than 150 books and articles, including a nationally-best-selling college principles of economics textbook. His research has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, Investor's Business Daily and The Economist Magazine. He has appeared on CNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, NPR and the CBS Evening News. 

In addition to his role at The Citadel, Sobel serves as a visiting fellow at the South Carolina Policy Council.

COBE's Global Capitalism Lecture Series is an ongoing collaboration between BB&T and the college to stimulate thought and discussion about capitalism, the tenets of free enterprise and the best practices of successful organizations.

Sobel joined a distinguished group of previous speakers who have participated in the BB&T-COBE series: Christopher Coyne, director of graduate studies of the Department of Economics at George Mason University; Hamid Ghanadan, founder and president of the Linus Group; Mary Rose Carosia and Theresa Werner of S&P Capital IQ; Kevin Daley, a past vice president at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency and founder of Communispond; former BB&T Chair and Chief Executive Officer John Allison; Jason Bingham, vice president, Central Territory of North America, for Ingersoll Rand; and Keith Shields, senior statistician and analytic development lead for Marketing Associates in Detroit.

Nov 4, 2014