Santa Clara University

The Civil Society Institute is a program dedicated to educating students in the classic themes of political economy and their relevance to contemporary policy issues.


In addition to training top undergraduate students, CSI also hosts public lectures and events to create a regular "coffee-house" for the Silicon Valley community to explore ideas and policy issues in classical liberal / libertarian thought.

CSI faculty consists of David Friedman, Henry Demmert, Fred Foldvary, Robert Finocchio, and Kerry Macintosh with Foldvary and Demmert as Directors.

Philosophy of CSI:

CSI addresses the enduring questions of social philosophy: What values and public policies promote and sustain a humane, tolerant, diverse, and prosperous society? The CSI faculty stress the particularistic nature of social conditions and opportunities; knowledge of social opportunities exists only in dispersed form among the myriad participants of society. Such knowledge is best utilized by letting social action evolve bottom-up, through voluntary channels of civil society, as opposed to top-down direction by political society.

In the view of the Institute, the current political and intellectual culture overvalues governmental direction and control of society. CSI faculty actively research the potency of decentralized, nongovernmental practices and institutions in meeting social goals. Such institutions include private business, not-for-profit organizations, churches, private associations, and social networks.