Book Colloquium

Spring 2022

Each semester the Center for Public Choice and Market Process (CPM) sponsors the Economics Book Colloquium, in which students and faculty meet to discuss interesting contemporary writing in economics. In Spring 2022, the EBC will be reading "Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism" by Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall. Registration is required.


Many Americans believe that foreign military intervention is central to protecting our domestic freedoms. But Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall urge engaged citizens to think again. Overseas, our government takes actions in the name of defense that would not be permissible within national borders. Emboldened by the relative weakness of governance abroad, the U.S. government is able to experiment with a broader range of social controls. Under certain conditions, these policies, tactics, and technologies are then re-imported to America, changing the national landscape and increasing the extent to which we live in a police state.

Coyne and Hall examine this pattern―which they dub "the boomerang effect"―considering a variety of rich cases that include the rise of state surveillance, the militarization of domestic law enforcement, the expanding use of drones, and torture in U.S. prisons. Synthesizing research and applying an economic lens, they develop a generalizable theory to predict and explain a startling trend. Tyranny Comes Home unveils a new aspect of the symbiotic relationship between foreign interventions and domestic politics. It gives us alarming insight into incidents like the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri and the Snowden case―which tell a common story about contemporary foreign policy and its impact on our civil liberties.

About the Authors:

Christopher J. Coyne is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and the Associate Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center. He is the Co-Editor of The Review of Austrian Economics and The Independent Review. He also serves as the Book Review Editor for Public Choice.

Chris is the author or co-author of Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism (2018, Stanford University Press), Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails (2013, Stanford University Press), Media, Development and Institutional Change (2009, Edward Elgar Publishing), and After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy (2007, Stanford University Press). 

Abigail R. Hall is an Associate Professor in Economics at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. She is a Research Fellow with the Independent Institute, a non-partisan research and educational think tank based out of Oakland, California, an affiliated scholar with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and an affiliated scholar with the Foundation for Economic Education. She earned her PhD in Economics from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, USA in 2015. She graduated with a B.A. in economics and business administration with an additional concentration in mathematics from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Dr. Hall’s broader research interests include Austrian Economics, Political Economy and Public Choice, Defense and Peace Economics, and Institutions and Economic Development. Her work includes topics surrounding militarism, the U.S. military, and national defense, including, domestic police militarization, domestic extremism, arm sales, weapons as foreign aid, the cost of military mobilization, and the political economy of military technology. She has written extensively on the domestic consequences of foreign intervention and the economics of propaganda. 

Discussion Leeder:

The Discussion Leader will be Dr. Peter Calcagno, Director of the Center for Public Choice & Market Process and Professor of Economics here at the College of Charleston. 


Colloquium information: 

  • The EBC is open to any interested College of Charleston students; it is not limited to economics majors.
  • The EBC meets approximately every two weeks, for 1 hour and 15 minutes, on Wednesday from 3:00-4:15 in Beatty 301. See schedule for exact meeting dates.
  • Participation in the colloquium is voluntary, and no course credit is given for participation. We request that you only sign up to participate if you expect to be able to attend all of the sessions in the schedule below.
  • All students should be prepared to discuss all of the scheduled chapters for each meeting. The format will be an open discussion but focused on the topics raised in the assigned readings. Importantly, this colloquium is not intended to be a lecture. Ideally, the professors will do little talking.
  • Participants receive their copy of the book free from the CPM.
  • This semester the Colloquium will be limited to 15 student participants. 


All meetings are Wednesdays from 3:00-4:15 in Beatty 301. See exact dates below.


Assigned pages of the book should be read prior to each meeting.

January 26

  • Preface: Tyranny Comes Home
  • Chapter 1: Mark Twain's Omnious Warning

February 9

  • Chapter 2: The Boomerang Effect: How Social Control Comes Home

February 23

  • Chapter 3: A Perfect Storm: Why America Is Susceptible
  • Chapter 4: Surveillance

March 16

  • Chapter 5: The Militarization of Police
  • Chapter 6: Drones

April 6

  • Chapter 7: Torture
  • Conclusion: Reclaiming the Great Republic

April 20

  • Virtual Meeting with the Authors
 Tyranny Comes Home Cover


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