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 Template:Start date
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 movementEdit

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 objectivesEdit

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]


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 FEEEdit


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]



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.


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  29. Foundation for Economic Education official web site, "about" page Retrieved November 23, 2012
  30. Such scholars and their major works include:
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External linksEdit