Libertarianism Wiki
Foundation for Economic Education
Founder(s) Leonard E. Read
Type Educational foundation
IRS exemption status: 501(c)(3)[1]
Tax ID No. 136006960[1][2]
Founded 7, 1946 (1946-03-07)
Headquarters 30 South Broadway
Irvington, New York 10533 [2]
Key people President Lawrence W. Reed, Executive Director Carl Oberg
Area served United States
Focus economics, libertarianism
Mission "to study and advance the freedom philosophy."[2]
Method literature, lecture, academic scholarship
Revenue $1,762,290 (2009)[2]
Website Template:URL

Established in 1946 to study and advance classical liberalism, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is the oldest free-market organization in the United States.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Murray Rothbard recognized FEE for creating a "crucial open center" that he credits with launching the movement.[9]

FEE researches and advocates for free-market, classical liberal, and libertarian ideas through lectures as well as publications. The lectures are either a part of week long seminars featuring multiple faculty, or feature one prominent speaker for the Evenings at FEE series.[3][6][8][10][11][12][13] Publishing efforts include a monthly magazine, The Freeman, as well as pamphlets, lectures, and classic libertarian texts.[3][4][5][7][8][10][14]


In 1946, FEE was founded by Leonard Read of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Donaldson Brown of General Motors Corporation, Professors Leo Wolman of Columbia University and Fred R. Fairchild of Yale University, Henry Hazlitt of the New York Times, Claude Robinson of Opinion Research Corporation, and David Goodrich of B. F. Goodrich.[3][6][8][10][15][16][17] The William Volker Fund contributed financial support to FEE.[8][14][18] Read's efforts provided a base for the international post World War II libertarian movement.[3][8][9][19] Friedrich Hayek credits FEE as part of the inspiration for the formation of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947.[3][8][17] Plehwe, Walpen, and Neunhöffer argue that FEE directly supported the Mont Pelerin Society.[3][8][17]

The initial officers of FEE included Read as president, Hazlitt as vice-president, and Goodrich as chairman.[3][10] Read served as president from 1946 to 1983.[20] Perry E. Gresham immediately followed his friend Read as president of FEE in 1983 until 1984.[20] After retiring from Grove City College where he taught economics, Hans Sennholz served as president of the Foundation from 1992 to 1997.[21] Former Chair of the Department of Economics at George Mason University, Donald J. Boudreaux served as president of the Foundation from 1997 to 2001.[22] Mark Skousen served as president from 2001 to 2002.[23] After the controversial decision to invite Rudy Giuliani to be the keynote speaker at FEE's annual Liberty Banquet for a $30,000 honorarium, the Board of Trustees asked for Skousen's resignation.[24][25][26] Richard Ebeling served as president from 2003 to 2008.[27] Lawrence Reed became the current president in 2008.[15][28]

Place in the history of the US libertarian movement[]

Murray Rothbard both praised and criticized FEE. "With the formation of the Foundation for Economic Education in 1946, the libertarian movement turned a corner and began its postwar renaissance. FEE can be attacked on many, many counts — and I have done my share — but one achievement it can be proud of: it gathered together the many isolated and loose strands of the libertarians, and created that crucial open center for a libertarian movement. It not only disseminated libertarian literature; it provided a gateway, a welcoming place, for all hitherto isolated and neophyte libertarians. It launched the movement. This great feat of FEE in launching the libertarian movement is testimony to the enormous need for a functioning “open center” for libertarians....In short, FEE, by its very existence, exerted an enormous multiple leverage in creating and advancing and weaving together the strands and people in the libertarian cause." [9]

Mission and objectives[]

The Foundation for Economic Education defines their mission as "to inspire, educate and connect future leaders with the economic, ethical and legal principles of a free society....FEE is not an academic or political organization; instead our focus is making the economic, ethical and legal principles of a free society widely accessible, easily understood and energizing to young minds." [29]



FEE offers week-long seminars for high school students, undergraduates, and graduate students. The Freedom Academy seminars are designed for high school students and focus on economics, history, politics, social science, philosophy, education, business, and current events.[6][11][12][13]


Faculty panel during a FEE seminar


FEE seminar leisure activity

For undergraduates, FEE offers Freedom University seminars in "History", "Current Events", "Communicating Liberty", and "Austrian Economics". History seminars are designed for university undergraduates interested in the contrast between liberty and power in the history of the United States. Study begins at the American founding, proceeds through the Great Depression noting its lasting effects, and concludes with an analysis of communism in the 20th century. Current Events seminars are designed for university undergraduates interested in current public policy issues. Topics of note include healthcare, immigration, and environmental policy.[6][11][12][13] Communicating Liberty seminars are designed for university undergraduates who have previously attended a FEE seminar and wish to increase the effectiveness of their communication. Lectures and workshops center on topics like blogging, op-eds, social media, public speaking, event planning, and networking.[6][11][12][13] Austrian Economics seminars are designed for university undergraduates interested in an introduction to the thoughts and thinkers of the Austrian school of economics. Topics range from free-markets to business cycles and globalization.[6][11][12][13]

Additionally, "Advanced Austrian Economics" seminars[6][11][12][13] are designed for university undergraduates with in depth knowledge of Austrian economics and graduate students who are interested in exploring the economic approach pioneered by Menger, Mises,[8] Kirzner, and Hayek as well as works by current[30] Austrian scholars.

Evenings at FEE[]

FEE hosts speakers, usually at the headquarters, as a part of the Evenings at FEE series of events.[6] Speakers like author, investment advisor, and one time presidential candidate Harry Browne.[31][32] Browne presented "The Greatest Mistake in American History: Letting Government Educate our Children" in December 2004.[31][32] The Institute for Justice's President and General Counsel Chip Mellor's February 2008 presentation "Jurisprudence of Liberty" is another example.[33] Since 1946 FEE has hosted and published lectures most notably by Ludwig von Mises,[3][4][10] F.A. Hayek,[3][4][8][10] Henry Hazlitt,[3][10] Milton Friedman,[4][8] James Buchanan,[8] Vernon Smith,[34] Walter Williams,[35] George Stigler,[8] F.A. "Baldy" Harper,[4] and William F. Buckley Jr.[3]


July 2008 - Vol. 58 No. 6, Cover The Freeman

In 1945 Du Pont executive Jasper Crane along with Alfred Kohlberg started a capital campaign.[3][4][6][7][14] After contributions from J. Howard Pew, Inland Steel, Quaker Oaks, and Sears enough funding was available that in 1950 FEE published the first issue of The Freeman, a magazine that is still published by FEE today.[3][4][6][7][14] FEE publishes books, articles, and pamphlets both on paper and digitally that the foundation considers classic works on liberty.[3][4][10] The most famous of these publications are I, Pencil: My Family Tree[36] by Read, The Law[37] by Bastiat, The Theory of Money and Credit[38] by Mises, Economics in One Lesson[39] by Hazlitt, Anything That's Peaceful[40] by Read, Planned Chaos[41] by Mises, Conscription[42] by Webster, Industry-Wide Bargaining[43] by Wolman, Something for Nothing?[44] by Schinnerer, Property Rights and Human Rights[45] by Poirot, Up from Poverty: Reflections on the Ills of Public Assistance[46] by Sennholz, and The Virtue of Liberty[47] by Machan.

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Template:Cite report
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Foundation for Economic Education". Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator. Retrieved October 10, 2011. "The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), one of the oldest free-market organizations in the United States, was founded in 1946 by Leonard E. Read to study and advance the freedom philosophy. FEE's mission is to offer the most consistent case for the first principles of freedom: the sanctity of private property, individual liberty, the rule of law, the free market, and the moral superiority of individual choice and responsibility over coercion. To help people rediscover how essential freedom is to human existence and to demonstrate how dangerous it is to move toward any form of collectivism, FEE offers a comprehensive educational program to all students of liberty."
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Phillips-Fein, Kim (2009). Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. ii, 27, 52, 60, 86, 101, 115, 116, 124, 149, 167, 265, 270, 285, 286. ISBN 978-0-393-05930-4.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Hamowy, Ronald (2008). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. p. 62, 217, 221, 335, 416, 417. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Perelman, Michael (2007). The Confiscation of American Prosperity from Right-Wing Extremism and Economic Ideology to the Next Great Depression. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-230-60046-1.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 Fones-Wolf, Elizabeth A. (1994). Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism 1945–60. Urbana, IL: Univ. of Illinois Press. p. 8, 38, 129, 195, 196, 213, 243. ISBN 978-0-252-02118-3.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Schneider, Gregory L (2009). The Conservative Century: From Reaction to Revolution. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7425-4284-6.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 Mirowski, Philip; Plehwe, Dieter (2009). The Road from Mont Pèlerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 15, 19, 21, 53, 156, 190, 196, 243, 281, 284, 293, 387, 397, 410. ISBN 978-0-674-03318-4.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Gordon, David (2010). Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute. p. ix, 14–19. ISBN 978-1-933550-80-0.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Template:Cite interview
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Ashford, Nigel (December 22, 2011). "FEE College Summer Seminars". Kosmos (Arlington, VA). Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Giannotta, Marissa (December 8, 2011). "Help Promote FEE Seminars to Your Campus Group!". Students For Liberty (Washington, DC). Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Foley, Devin (March 16, 2010). "Free: Summer Liberty & Econ Seminars". Intellectual Takeout (Minneapolis, MN). Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Lichtman, Allan J (2008). White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement. New York: Grove Press. p. 160, 171, 173, 206. ISBN 978-0-8021-4420-1.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Farrell, Steve. "FEE Is Expanding to Atlanta". The Moral Liberal. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  16. Hülsmann, Jörg Guido. "Birth of a Movement". Mises Daily. Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Plehwe, Dieter (2006). Neoliberal Hegemony: A Global Critique. London: Taylor & Francis. p. 31, 48, 49. ISBN 0-415-37327-1.
  18. George, Susan (1997). "How to Win the War of Ideas". Dissent 44 (Summer 1997): 47–53. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  19. Blundell, John (1990). Waging the War of Ideas: Why There Are No Shortcuts. London: Institute of Economic Affairs. p. 9.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Sennholz, Mary (1993). Leonard E. Read, Philosopher of Freedom. Foundation for Economic Education, Incorporated. p. 185. ISBN 9780910614856.
  21. Wilcox, Derk Arend (2000). The Right Guide: A Guide to Conservative, Free-Market, and Right-of-Center Organizations. Ann Arbor, MI: Economics America, Inc.. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-914169-06-2.
  22. Boudreaux, Donald (October 13, 2011). "A Devalued Renminbi Makes Wealthier Americans". Debate Club (New York: U.S.News & World Report). Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  23. Template:Cite interview
  24. [citation needed]
  25. Huebert, J. H. (July 22, 2002). "A Great Institution in Freefall Seeks Quantity, Not Quality". Jacob Huebert.
  26. Template:Citation
  27. Template:Cite interview
  28. Foley, Ridgway K. (December 1971). "Individual Liberty and the Rule of Law". Willamette Law Journal 7 (3): 396–418. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  29. Foundation for Economic Education official web site, "about" page Retrieved November 23, 2012
  30. Such scholars and their major works include:
    • The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics. Peter J. Boettke (ed.) (1 ed.). Edward Elgar Pub. ISBN 1-85278-581-0.
    • Coyne, Christopher J. (2007). After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy. Stanford Economics and Finance. ISBN 0-8047-5440-3.
    • Garrison, Roger (2000). Time and Money: The Macroeconomics of Capital Structure (Reissue ed.). Routledge. ISBN 0-415-77122-6.
    • Horwitz, Steven (2007). Microfoundations and Macroeconomics. Accel Development.
    • Leeson, Peter T. (2011). The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-15009-5.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Watner, Carl (2005). "The Culture of Force". The Voluntaryist (127).
  32. 32.0 32.1 Meyer, Del (December 7 , 2004). Medical Tuesday Network. MedicalTuesday. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  33. "An Evening at FEE With Chip Mellor". Liberty & Law 18. February 2008.
  34. Template:Cite speech
  35. Template:Cite speech
  36. Read, Leonard (1958-12). I, Pencil: My Family Tree. Irvington-on-Hudson NY: Foundation for Economic Education. ISBN 9781572462090.
  37. Bastiat, Frédéric (1950). The Law. Irvington-on-Hudson N.Y.: Foundation for Economic Education.
  38. Mises, Ludwig von (1971). The Theory of Money and Credit. Irvington-on-Hudson NY: Foundation for Economic Education.
  39. Hazlitt, Henry (1955). Economics in One Lesson. Irvington-on-Hudson NY: Foundation for Economic Education. ISBN 9780983541479.
  40. Read, Leonard E. (1964). Anything That's Peaceful. Foundation for Economic Education. ISBN 9781153444828.
  41. Mises, Ludwig von (1947). Planned Chaos. Irvington-on-Hudson N.Y.: Foundation for Economic Education.
  42. Webster, Daniel (1953). Conscription. Irvington-on-Hudson: Foundation for Economic Education.
  43. Wolman, Leo (1948). Industry-Wide Bargaining. Irvington-on-Hudson N.Y.: Foundation for Economic Education.
  44. Schinnerer, Mark (1954). Something for Nothing?. Irvington-on-Hudson New York: Foundation for Economic Education.
  45. Poirot, Paul (1952). Property Rights and Human Rights. Irvington-on-Hudson: Foundation for Economic Education.
  46. Sennholz, Hans (1997). Up from Poverty: Reflections on the Ills of Public Assistance. Irvington-on-Hudson NY: Foundation for Economic Education. ISBN 9781572460607.
  47. Machan, Tibor (1994). The Virtue of Liberty. Irvington-on-Hudson N.Y.: Foundation for Economic Education. ISBN 9780910614931.

External links[]

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