Undergraduates: Enter The Douglas B. Rogers Memorial Essay Contest

Doug Rogers was a great guy. We went to graduate school together in George Mason University’s economics department. He quickly became an accomplished scholar, publishing in academic journals and contributing to multiple books while still a student. Sadly, Doug died in a car accident last year shortly before completing his dissertation. He was far enough along that he was awarded his Ph.D posthumously. He even won GMU’s Israel Kirzner Award for Outstanding Dissertation.

Usually, nothing good comes from such tragedies. A family lost its son. The world of ideas lost a great mind. And I, along with many others, lost a friend. In this case, Doug’s family has found some small positive. In collaboration with St. Vincent College in Doug’s hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, they have established an essay contest in Doug’s memory. It is open to all full-time undergraduates in the U.S. and Canada. If you’re a college student, I hope you will consider entering.

Doug was a principled libertarian and had a deep understanding of free markets; he would have fit right in here at CEI. That’s why the inaugural Douglas B. Rogers Conditions of a Free Society Essay Competition is such a great way to honor his memory. This year’s topic is Frederic Bastiat’s famous quote, “The state is the great fiction by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.”

It’s a fertile topic that scholars from the high school level all the way to tenured professors have wrestled with. There are implications for policy issues ranging from the welfare state and poor fiscal health here and abroad, to rent-seeking by businesses, to explaining how politicians troll for votes. If you have something to say on the subject, you have until January 10, 2013 to enter the contest and potentially win $2,000 and an invitation to a prize dinner.

More information on the essay contest is here. Doug’s bio is here. His life may have been short in duration, but it was long in accomplishment. How fitting then, that Doug’s family is honoring his memory by giving young scholars an opportunity to make some accomplishments of their own.