The Coming Battle for the COVID-19 Narrative (Bowles and Carlin) – Santa Fe Institute, May 2020


Shrinking Capitalism (Bowles and Carlin) – American Economic Association Meetings (2020)


The Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives are No Substitute for Good Citizens – UC Berkeley Graduate Lectures (2019)


2018 Arrow Lecture: The Moral Economy: Why good incentives are no substitute for good citizens


Lecture on teaching Capitalism and Democracy as part of the CORE curriculum at the CORE Virtual Workshop – University of Bristol, Nov 2018


SFI Community Lecture – After Trump and Brexit: A New Economics (Forget Red and Blue) – with Wendy Carlin, August 2018


The Origins and Future of Economic Inequality UMass Economics, February 5, 2016.


Lecture on Post-Walrasian Microeconomics at the annual meeting of Latin American and Caribbean Economics Association in  Medellin, Colombia, November 2010 (spanish version) with a comment by Ricardo Hausmann, President (LACEA)


Castle Lectures

Machiavelli’s Mistake: Good incentives are no substitute for good citizens.
Yale University presented at Yale University in January 2010

  • Overview and Abstracts
  • Background Readings
  • Note Lecture III is followed by with critiques and discussions by Professors Bryan Gersten (Political Science), Laurie Santos (Psychology), Phil Gorski (Sociology) and Chris Udry (Economics).


Kudunomics: Information and Property Rights in the Weightless Economy
(Harvard School of Law, November 2009)


Ulam Lectures

2008 Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture Series
A Cooperative Species: How We Got to Be Both Nasty and Nice
presented by Samuel Bowles, Professor, Santa Fe Institute and University of Siena

September 16, 17, and 18, 2008

Humans are remarkably cooperative animals. We frequently engage in joint projects for the common benefit on a scale extending beyond the family to include total strangers. We do this even when contributions to the project are costly and yield little private benefit. Examples are upholding social norms even when a transgression would not be noticed, warfare, and actions to preserve the natural environment.

Lecture 1A Cooperative Species (or are we just afraid someone may be looking?)
Since Darwin, the evolutionary origin of these and other examples of altruistic cooperation has puzzled biologists and economists where notions of ‘selfish genes’ and amoral Homo economicus hold sway. Drawing on archaeological, genetic, climatic, and other information about the conditions under which our distant ancestors lived, Bowles will show why standard explanations of human cooperation are inadequate.

Lecture 2Altruism, Parochialism, and War: Rambo meets Mother Teresa
Bowles uses computer simulations to generate artificial histories of humanity over tens of thousands of years, tracing alternative trajectories that could explain how we got to be both nasty and nice. The disquieting conclusion will be that war and hostility toward outsiders may have been midwives of our more admirable moral predispositions.

Lecture 3Machiavelli’s Mistake: Why Policies Designed for “Wicked Men” Fail.
Taking account of our ethical dispositions and the conditions necessary to both enhance and empower cooperative motivations is essential if we are to face the challenges of environmental sustainability, control of epidemic disease, the governance of the information based economy, and political violence.