Instructor Bio

John B. Ridpath (1936–2021) was an associate professor of economics and social science at Toronto’s York University from 1975 until his retirement in 2001. During his career he received several awards for excellence in teaching, related primarily to his large-group introductory economics course and his course on ideas and Western civilization.

Dr. Ridpath was an active debater, appearing at many universities to debate other scholars on the question of capitalism versus socialism, communism, the mixed economy and welfare statism. He also spoke frequently to university audiences on the topics of individual rights, capitalism and the history of economic ideas.

Following the Ayn Rand Institute’s founding in 1985, Dr. Ridpath served on its board of advisers (1985–93) and board of directors (1993–2011). He was also a popular lecturer at Objectivist conferences, often examining the causal importance of ideas in history and paying tribute to America’s Founding Fathers.

A native of Canada, Dr. Ridpath studied engineering as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, earned a masters degree in business administration from the same institution, and received a doctorate in economics from the University of Virginia in 1975.


  • Capitalism
  • Socialism
  • Morality of social systems
  • History of economic ideas
  • Intellectual history
  • Individual rights
  • America’s founding
  • Economics
  • Monetary policy
  • Antitrust

Courses Taught


Associate Professor

  • York University, Toronto

Member, Board of Directors

  • Ayn Rand Institute

Selected Work

Papers Delivered

  • “Man’s Natural Rights” University of Michigan, 1985
  • “Epistemological Issues Related to the History of the Concept of Man’s Natural Rights” Harvard University, 1987
  • “The Nature and Needs of Man: Karl Marx vs. Ayn Rand” University of California at Berkeley, 1988
  • “Money: Enlightenment Philosophical Base, 20th Century Philosophical Collapse” University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 1988
  • “The Morality of Capitalism” Stanford University, 1992
  • “The Actual Crisis of Our Age: Philosophical Causes, Philosophical Cure” Boston University, 1991


  • “The History and Significance of the Concept of Man’s Natural Rights” Thomas Jefferson School Summer Conference, 1983
  • “Money: 18th Century Philosophical Defense, 20th Century Economic Demise” Conceptual Conferences, 1988
  • “Virginia and Virginians in the Founding of America: 1607–1776” Conceptual Conferences, 1992
  • “The Weber Thesis: An Historical and Intellectual Refutation” Conceptual Conferences, 1998
  • “Ideas in History: The Genesis, Content, and Fate of the American Declaration of Independence” Conceptual Conferences, 1996
  • “Enlightenment Pseudo-Egoism: The Case of Thomas Hobbes” Conceptual Conferences, 1994