The Saurman Provocative Lecture Series

Have you been provoked lately?

San Jose State University Department of Economics presents the Provocative Lecture Series, a forum to raise intellectual arguments on a variety of thought-provoking topics, offered in memory of David S. Saurman, Ph.D., former Professor in the Department of Economics.

This lecture series fosters the tradition in higher education of challenging ideas and developing critical thinking in an environment of respect and intellectual discourse on controversial topics. Presenters in the Provocative Lecture Series are noted for their outstanding scholarship and public speaking ability; students, faculty, the general public, as well as the media are invited.

Our goal is to help students and life-long learners develop the critical thinking skills necessary to reach their own informed positions on controversial issues. We invite you to attend, relax, ponder, and enjoy the thought process at upcoming lectures. You can also enjoy viewing recordings of past lectures at the video archive.

If you would like to support The Saurman Provocative Lecture Series, please see donation details

Upcoming Lectures

Fall 2019

November 19, 2019, Tues. 
Marc Joffe, MPA
Sr. Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation
SJSU, SU Theater  |  5:15-6:45pm  |  free, open to public

“Bringing Fiscal Sanity to California Infrastructure Policy”
California high-speed rail is just the latest in a series of public infrastructure projects that have exceeded budgets, blown through deadlines and failed to deliver promised benefits. Marc will discuss his research on the bullet train and other California projects and offer politically feasible policy suggestions that could improve the state’s infrastructure without bankrupting governments and taxpayers.

• Shifting risk from taxpayers to private companies, instead of letting contractors operate on a “cost plus” basis
• Privatizing existing assets as a way of paying down unfunded pension liabilities
• Improving existing facilities where possible instead of building brand new ones

Marc Joffe is a senior policy analyst at Reason Foundation. After a long career in the
financial industry, including a senior director role at Moody's Analytics, Joffe's research
now focuses on sovereign and sub-sovereign credit risk and fiscal sustainability.
His financial research has been published by the California State Treasurer's Office,
UC Berkeley, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and the Macdonald-
Laurier Institute among others. Joffe is a regular contributor to The Fiscal Times and
his op-eds have also appeared in The Guardian, Bloomberg View and RealClearMarkets.
He has an MBA from New York University and an MPA from San Francisco State University.

Past Lectures

October 30, 2019, Wed. 
Alex Tabarrok, Ph.D.

Professor, George Mason University
“Patents, Intellectual Property, and the Rise of the Rent-Seeking Society” flyer (pdf)

September 18, 2019, Wed. 
David Skarbek, Ph.D.
“The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System”, flyer (pdf)

April 23rd, 2019 
Robert L. Bradley, Jr.
“Mixed-Economy Entrepreneurship: What is a Capitalist to Do?”, flyer (pdf)

March 18th, 2019  
Linda Royster Beito, Ph.D., Professor, Stillman College. Ph.D. University of Alabama
“T.R.M. Howard: Doctor, Entrepreneur, Civil Rights Pioneer", flyer (pdf)

February 19th, 2019  
Channy Chhi Laux
"The Cambodian Genocide and Communism", flyer (pdf)

November 8, 2018 
Howard Root, 
Founder and CEO of Vascular Solutions, Inc.
"Who Watches the Prosecutors?", flyer (pdf) 

October 10, 2018  
Adam Andrzejewski, 
CEO and Founder of Open the Books
“Knowledge is Power”, flyer (pdf) 

September 27, 2018  
Safwan Shah, Ph.D, 
CEO and Founder PayActive
“Helping Low-Income Workers Get Ahead: A Market Solution”, flyer (pdf) 

April 11, 2018 John Cochrane
“The Old Lady, the Fly and the Horse: an Outline for Economic Reform”, flyer (pdf)

March 20, 2018 Clark Neily
"Incarceration Nation - How America Became the World's Leading Jailer", flyer (pdf)

February 28, 2018 Jacob T. Levy
"Black Liberty Matters", flyer (pdf)

View past lectures via the video archive