Yaron Brook, Erick Smith, Rachael CobbThe Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University presents journalist Erick Smith and Ayn Rand Institute Executive Director Yaron Brook discussing "Money & Power."

Smith argues that a pro-business power shift in Washington and a change in the American business ethos away from stakeholder capitalism to shareholder capitalism has created a harmful economic divide in America.

Brook counters that empowering the government to restrict free enterprise and dole out favors to preferred groups has resulted in an economic rift.

Divided on how to achieve prosperity

Smith, a former New York Times reporter, offers ideas for reviving middle class power and prosperity, while Brook argues that laissez-faire capitalism offers individuals on all levels of ability the greatest promise of prosperity.

The discussion of wealth and power in the 21st century, to be moderated by Suffolk Government Department Chair Rachael Cobb, takes place from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at Suffolk University's Modern Theatre, 525 Washington St., Boston.

About the speakers

Smith was a member of the New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning team that produced the Pentagon Papers series. He also won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe. Smith has created 26 prime-time specials and mini-series for PBS, winning awards that include multiple Emmies, the Columbia-Dupont Gold Baton, and two national public service awards. Smith was a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University and he served in the Air Force. His most recently published book is Who Stole the American Dream?

Brook is the executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute and co-author of Free Market Revolution. He is a prominent advocate for Objectivism, the philosophy of novelist Ayn Rand. Originally from Israel, he served as a first sergeant in Israeli military intelligence. Brook was an award-winning finance professor at Santa Clara University and later cofounded financial advisory firm BH Equity Research. He is a columnist at Forbes.com, contributing editor of The Objective Standard, and a weekly guest on “Front Page” hosted by PJTV.

The Ford Hall Forum is the nation’s oldest free public lecture series. It promotes freedom of speech and fosters an informed and effective citizenry through events that illuminate the key issues facing our society.

The forum presents knowledgeable and thought-provoking speakers, including some of the most controversial opinion leaders of our times, in settings that facilitate frank and open debate.