#EconlibReads offers reading groups (both live and online-only) on a regular basis. Each Group will focus on a particular topic, and a common set of readings will form the basis for our discussions. Our sister site, AdamSmithWorks, offers similar groups.

Participation is offered at no-cost, and there is no need to be an expert on the topic for discussion! In fact, these reading groups are designed to be appropriate for people engaging with the topic at hand for the first time as well as for established scholars. The only requirement is that participants be eager to read and engage in civil conversation.



Our November Virtual Reading Group is Equality, Economics, and Individualism in Dystopian Fiction, with Professor Caroline Breashears.

In this virtual reading group (VRG), we consider the answers offered by several classic and recent dystopian tales. Propaganda, (in)equality, central planning, the criminal justice system, censorship, poisoned language, mob violence: all these and more are explored in examples of the genre, though often from different perspectives. For instance, is the critical problem in society a movement to achieve equality, as Ayn Rand warned? Or is the problem an insistence on inequality so that a select few consolidate power, as George Orwell suggests?

Our goal is not to reach a consensus but to explore how dystopian fiction help us to re-see our  world with all its problems and possibilities. What are the most critical rights and responsibilities we must embrace to ensure our freedom? And what is necessary to create the best world that is realistically possible?

To register, click here. Space is strictly limited, and pre-registration is required. We ask that you not register unless you can commit to all four 60 minute sessions. Participants will need to acquire their own readings; those who complete all four sessions will receive an Amazon e-gift certificate as reimbursement.


The Readings and Sessions are as follows:

Session One (Tuesday, November 10, 3pm EDT)

Sessions Two (Tuesday, November 17, 3pm EDT) and Three (Tuesday, November 24, 3pm EDT)

  • George Orwell’s 1984

Session Four (Tuesday, December 1, 3pm EDT)

All selections in Brave New Worlds, John Joseph Adams (ed.)

  • Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery”
  • Phillip K. Dick, “The Minority Report”
  • Kurt Vonnegut, “Harrison Bergeron”



And through November 5th, join us in our #EconlibReads Facebook group for our ongoing discussion of Bryan Caplan’s The Myth of the Rational Voter




Please find a PDF version of our previous Reading Group discussion questions below:


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