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Amid growing debates about the morality of free enterprise, Michael Novak of Ave Maria University spoke at AEI on Thursday evening to promote the virtues of democratic capitalism. Novak revealed how capitalism has served to alleviate poverty, promote economic growth and enable the conditions for a flourishing society. He also warned of the dangers of increasing trends toward statism and overregulation, which discourage small business creation.
Two young entrepreneurs then offered a window into their own experiences with free enterprise. Katarina Price of Katarina Price Photography offered an encouraging story about discovering her passion for photography after losing her job in a restructuring following the crash of 2008. In the same vein, John Sweet of Niedlov's Breadworks explained how his love of bread-making led him to start a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based artisan bakery in 2002, which is currently thriving. Price and Sweet's stories illustrate the power of Novak's observation that creativity, building a sense of community and practical wisdom are essential to making any free enterprise succeed.
Thirty years ago, America was gripped by a severe, ongoing recession. Much of Europe faced persistently high unemployment and Syria’s ruler unleashed a bloody crackdown on its own people.
This troubled atmosphere, which has significant echoes in today’s society, set the stage for Michael Novak’s 1982 treatise, “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism.” His fundamental insight — that man’s economic, cultural and political identities are indivisible — continues to inspire business leaders and entrepreneurs today to view their work as a personal calling with the power to transform and serve.
At this AEI event, Novak will reflect upon the moral roots of free enterprise in the context of the current political-economic landscape, and two young entrepreneurs will respond to his lecture.
If you cannot attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Josh Good, AEI
Michael Novak, Ave Maria University
Katarina Price, Katarina Price Photography
John Sweet, Niedlov’s Breadworks LLC
Wine and Cheese Reception
For more information about this Values and Capitalism quarterly event series, please contact Greg Lane at [email protected], 202.862.4879.
For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected], 202.862.4871.
Josh Good is the program manager for the Values & Capitalism initiative at AEI. Good previously spent four years as a consultant at ICF International, and he has also worked on several public-private partnerships that serve ex-prisoners, low-income fathers and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families welfare officials.
Michael Novak, a theologian, author and former US ambassador, is a distinguished visiting professor at Ave Maria University. He was the 1994 recipient of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, which awards $1 million. Novak has written 26 influential books on the philosophy and theology of culture, with particular focus on the essential elements of a free society. His writings have appeared in every major Western language, as well as in Bengali, Korean and Japanese. Novak’s most notable work, “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism,” was published underground in Poland in 1984; after 1989 in Czechoslovakia, Germany, China, Hungary, Bangladesh and Korea and many times in Latin America. His latest book is “No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers.” He has received many international awards for his work and influence.
Katarina Price, in keeping with her passions for photography, people, culture and storytelling, founded and is the lead photographer at Katarina Price Photography. Her strength is drawing people out on film and capturing their most important moments. Price has 12 years of experience in the documentary film industry, including various roles in programming, business and legal affairs, partnerships and employee relations at Discovery Communications Inc. and at the National Geographic Channel.
John Sweet is a baker and an entrepreneur. In his early career, Sweet worked in several bakeries before launching his own in 2002: Niedlov’s Breadworks in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Today, Niedlov’s is an independent, owner-operated family business serving local customers and numerous restaurants throughout the greater Chattanooga area. It was honored by the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce as Small Business of the Year in 2009 and by the United States Small Business Administration as Tennessee’s Small Business of the Year in 2010.