Foundation for Economic Education

Coordinates: 33°48′04″N 84°23′36″W / 33.8010°N 84.3932°W / 33.8010; -84.3932
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Foundation for Economic Education
FoundedMarch 7, 1946; 78 years ago (1946-03-07)
FounderLeonard E. Read
TypeEducational foundation
IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt[1]
FocusEconomics, libertarianism
Coordinates33°48′04″N 84°23′36″W / 33.8010°N 84.3932°W / 33.8010; -84.3932
Area served
United States
Methodliterature, lecture, conferences, online courses, multimedia, academic scholarship
Revenue: $5,233,293
Expenses: $5,288,134
(FYE March 2018)[2]

The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is an American conservative, libertarian economic think tank.[3][4][5] Founded in 1946 in New York City, FEE is now headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a member of the State Policy Network.[6][7]

FEE offers publications, lectures, and student workshops promoting free market principles.[8][9]


FEE states that its mission is to promote principles of "individual liberty, free-market economics, entrepreneurship, private property, high moral character, and limited government."[10] Friedrich Hayek described FEE's goal as "nothing more nor less than the defense of our civilization against intellectual error."[11]


FEE, founded in 1946, is considered the oldest free-market think tank in the United States.[12] An early aim was to roll back policies of the New Deal.[13] FEE opposed the Marshall Plan, Social Security, and minimum wages, among other American social and economic policies.[14]

Its founding by Leonard E. Read,[18] Henry Hazlitt,[19] David Goodrich,[20] Donaldson Brown,[21] Leo Wolman,[22] Fred Rogers Fairchild,[23] Claude E. Robinson,[24] and Jasper Crane[25] followed a capital campaign started in 1945 by Crane, who was a DuPont executive, and Alfred Kohlberg.[26] Early contributors included J. Howard Pew, Inland Steel, Quaker Oats, and Sears.[27] As an "intellectual lighthouse", in Read's words, FEE distinguished itself from other business-supported groups by building up the intellectual framework for laissez-faire capitalism as an ideology.[28]

Read served as president from 1946 until his death in 1983. Perry E. Gresham was an interim president in 1983.[29] The presidency of FEE from 1983 to 1984 was held by John Sparks Sr., from 1984 to 1985 by Bob Love, from 1985 to 1988 by a series of acting presidents, then from 1988 to 1992 by Bruce Evans.[citation needed] After retiring from Grove City College where he taught economics, Hans Sennholz served as president from 1992 to 1997.[30] Donald J. Boudreaux served as president from 1997 to 2001, before moving on to chair the Department of Economics at George Mason University.[31] Economist Mark Skousen served as president from 2001 to 2002.[citation needed] Author and professor Richard Ebeling served as president from 2003 to 2008.[citation needed] From 2008 to 2019, FEE's president was economist, author, and professor Lawrence W. Reed.[32]


FEE first occupied two rooms in New York City's Equitable Building in 1946.[33] Soon after, the organization moved to a residential property in Irvington, New York, purchased in 1946 and which served as its headquarters for the next 68 years.[34] The Foundation sold the Irvington headquarters after the transfer of its operations to Atlanta, Georgia.[35]


Murray Rothbard was influenced by FEE economist Baldy Harper and credited FEE with creating a "crucial open center" for a libertarian movement.[36][37] Friedrich Hayek saw FEE as part of the inspiration for the formation of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947,[38] and FEE also provided a financial subsidy to the society.[39] Hayek encouraged Antony Fisher to found the Institute of Economic Affairs after visiting FEE in 1952.[40] Ludwig von Mises had a "long-term association with the Foundation for Economic Education."[41]

According to the 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), FEE is number 55 in the "Top Think Tanks in the United States" (Table 7 – out of 110).[42]


Diogo Costa became the 12th president of FEE in 2024.[43]

Lawrence W. Reed serves as FEE's President Emeritus.[44][45] He is the author of Was Jesus a Socialist?.[46]

Jon Miltimore is the managing editor at FEE.[47][48] Kerry McDonald, an education policy writer, serves as a FEE senior fellow.[49][50][51]

In 2019, Zilvinas Silenas became the president of FEE.[52] He is one of the "most quoted opinion leader[s]" in Lithuania, previously serving as president of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute and expanding its teachings within Lithuanian high schools.[53][54] The textbook Economics In 31 Hours, co-authored by Silenas, is now read by 80 percent of high school students in Lithuania.[55][54]


FEE offers a variety of programs for high school students, undergraduates, and graduate students.[56] It is known for free summer seminars.[57][58]

Since 1946, FEE has sponsored public lectures by figures including Ludwig von Mises,[59] F.A. Hayek,[60] Henry Hazlitt,[61] Milton Friedman,[62] James M. Buchanan,[63] Vernon Smith,[64] Walter Williams,[65] F.A. "Baldy" Harper,[66] and William F. Buckley Jr.[67]

The Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes FEE alumni whom the alumni board considers to have demonstrated "an exceptional dedication to liberty." Notable recipients have included:[68][non-primary source needed][permanent dead link]


FEE published The Freeman magazine from 1954 to 2016.[70][27][71] FEE was the original publisher of the essay "I, Pencil", which explored how markets coordinate the disparate activities necessary for economic cooperation.[72]

FEE publishes books, articles, and pamphlets both on paper and digitally that the foundation considers classic works on liberty.[73] These include I, Pencil: My Family Tree by Read,[74] The Law by Bastiat,[75] Anything That's Peaceful by Read,[76] Planned Chaos by Mises,[77] Industry-Wide Bargaining by Wolman,[78] Up from Poverty: Reflections on the Ills of Public Assistance by Sennholz,[79] and The Virtue of Liberty by Machan.[80][non-primary source needed]


  1. ^ a b Internal Revenue Service 2012.
  2. ^ "Foundation for Economic Education" (PDF). Candid. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  3. ^ Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 86 "From the Mont Pelerin Society to the National Review, from Spiritual Mobilization to the American Enterprise Association, from the Foundation for Economic Education to the Manion Forum, they produced the ideas, popularized the language, and built the support for conservative economic politics at the very height of postwar liberalism."
  4. ^ Lichtman 2008, p. 173 "He made substantial contributions to Plain Talk, the Freeman, Spiritual Mobilization, the Intercollegiate Society of Individuals, the Foundation for Economic Education, and other conservative groups."
  5. ^ Dochuk, Darren (2011). From Bible Belt to Sunbelt : plain-folk religion, grassroots politics, and the rise of evangelical conservatism. New York. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-393-07927-2. OCLC 916030027. A year later, with the help of a few high-powered executives and intellectual conservatives, he established the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), in Irvington-on-Hudson, with the goal of reeducating Americans in classical liberalism.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  6. ^ "Foundation for Economic Education". State Policy Network. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  7. ^ "Foundation for Economic Education". Devex.
  8. ^ Staff (2011-03-19). "FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) to offer free summer seminars". Libertarian Party. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  9. ^ McMahon, Lauren. "Foundation for Economic Education". Future Business Leaders Of America-Phi Beta Lambda. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  10. ^ "About FEE". 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2021-06-22.
  11. ^ Hayek, F.A. "The Defense of Our Civilization Against Intellectual Error". Contemporary Thinkers. Retrieved 2022-06-17.
  12. ^ White 2012 "The oldest free-market American think tank is the foundation for Economic Education, founded in 1946..."; Skousen 2015 "In his eighties, he continued to lecture at the Foundation for Economic Education in IrvingtononHudson, New York (the oldest freemarket think tank, founded in 1946 by Leonard Read), and ..."; Hazlitt 2006 "The original officers were David M. Goodrich, chairman of the Board (he was then also chairman of the board of the B.F. Goodrich Company); Leonard Read, president; myself, vice-president; Fred R. Fairchild, professor of economics at Yale University, secretary; and Claude Robinson, president of the Opinion Research Institute, treasurer. [The] sixteen [original] trustees ... included H.W. Luhnow, president of William Volker & Company; A.C. Mattei, president of Honolulu Oil Corporation; William A. Paton of the University of Michigan; Charles White, president of the Republic Steel Corporation; Leo Wolman, professor of economics at Columbia; Donaldson Brown, former vice-president of General Motors; Jasper Crane, former vice-president of Du Pont; B.E. Hutchinson, chairman of the finance committee of Chrysler Corporation; Bill Matthews, publisher of the Arizona Star; W.C. Mullendore, president of the Southern California Edison Company."; Dochuk 2010, p. 114 "The job of economic education must be undertaken now while those who appreciate the value of liberty are still in a position to support it."
  13. ^ Carter, Zachary D. (June 17, 2021). "The End of Friedmanomics". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  14. ^ Lichtman 2008, p. 160.
  15. ^ Burns 2005, p. 84; Rothbard 2006, p. 451.
  16. ^ Dochuk 2010, p. 116.
  17. ^ Heller 2009, p. 197.
  18. ^ Read was the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce executive director,[15] from 1938[16] to 1945.[17]
  19. ^ of the New York Times
  20. ^ of B. F. Goodrich
  21. ^ of General Motors Corporation
  22. ^ of Columbia University
  23. ^ of Yale University
  24. ^ of Opinion Research Corporation
  25. ^ of duPont
  26. ^ Phillips-Fein 2009, p. ii; Hamowy 2008, p. 62; Schneider 2009, p. 47; Lichtman 2008, p. 160.
  27. ^ a b Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 115; Hamowy 2008, p. 62; Schneider 2009, p. 47; Lichtman 2008, p. 160.
  28. ^ Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 27, 30.
  29. ^ Sennholz 1993, p. 185.
  30. ^ Wilcox 2000, p. 151.
  31. ^ Boudreaux 2011.
  32. ^ Farrell 2011.
  33. ^ Dodsworth 1995, p. 2 "In those anxious moments, Thomas I. Parkinson, president of Equitable Life Assurance Company, came to the rescue. He provided Fee with two rooms in the Equitable Building at 737 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. On the 30th floor, with a magnificent view over the city, Leonard Read set about conducting the affairs of his new organization."
  34. ^ Spikes & Leone 2009, p. 26 " Hillside was sold in 1922 to Gordon Harris, a son of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad president. ... was purchased in 1946 by Leonard Read and remains the headquarters of Read's Foundation for Economic Education."; Dodsworth 1995.
  35. ^ Farrell 2011 "In early May 2010, FEE opened a branch office in downtown Atlanta."; Olson 2014.
  36. ^ Gordon 2010, p. 12-14 (Rothbard was influenced by Harper at Columbia University); Hazlitt 2006, p. 1 (Harper's title of economist)
  37. ^ Gordon 2010, p. 14.
  38. ^ Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 86; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, pp. 15, 19, 21, 53, 156, 190, 196, 243, 281, 284, 293, 387, 397, 410; Plehwe 2006, p. 31.
  39. ^ Hamowy 2008, p. 492; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 15.
  40. ^ Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 387: Anthony Fisher, founded the Institute of Economic Affairs with Hayek's encouragement, following a visit to the Foundation for Economic Education in 1952.
  41. ^ Vaughn 1998 "long-term association with the Foundation for Economic Education..."
  42. ^ James G. McGann (Director) (January 28, 2021). "2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report". p. 93. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  43. ^ "Diogo Costa Named 12th President of the Foundation for Economic Education". Foundation for Economic Education. February 21, 2024.
  44. ^ "Lawrence Reed". Acton University. Retrieved 2022-06-15.
  45. ^ "Lawrence W. Reed". Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Retrieved 2022-06-15.
  46. ^ Forbes, Steve. "Was Jesus A Socialist? A Conversation With Lawrence W. Reed". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-06-15.
  47. ^ "Jon Miltimore | People". 2015-08-07. Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  48. ^ "Jon Miltimore | AIER". Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  49. ^ "Kerry McDonald |". Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  50. ^ "Kerry McDonald". Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  51. ^ "Foundation for Economic Education: Harvard Study says an Epidemic of Loneliness is Spreading". Making Caring Common. Retrieved 2022-08-30.
  52. ^ "Zilvinas Silenas Named 11th President of the Foundation for Economic Education". Foundation for Economic Education. March 4, 2019.
  53. ^ "LFMI Salutes Departing President Žilvinas Šilėnas as He Is to Lead Foundation for Economic Education". 2019-03-08. Retrieved 2022-06-15.
  54. ^ a b "Zilvinas Silenas on what it was like to live in socialist USSR". Independent Women's Forum. 2019-08-23. Retrieved 2022-07-07.
  55. ^ "Restart21: Economic education: Lithuania shares its success factors". 22 June 2021. Retrieved 2022-07-07.
  56. ^ Ashford 2011; Giannotta 2011; Foley 2010; Olson 2009.
  57. ^ Staff (2011-03-19). "FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) to offer free summer seminars". Libertarian Party. Retrieved 2022-06-15.
  58. ^ "Austrian Economics". Retrieved 2022-06-15.
  59. ^ Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 116; Hamowy 2008, p. 335; Olson 2009.
  60. ^ Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 52; Hamowy 2008, p. 217; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 285; Olson 2009.
  61. ^ Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 43; Olson 2009.
  62. ^ Hamowy 2008, p. 492; Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 21.
  63. ^ Mirowski & Plehwe 2009, p. 21.
  64. ^ Smith 2006.
  65. ^ Williams 2006.
  66. ^ Hamowy 2008, p. 492.
  67. ^ Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 40.
  68. ^ "Alumni Spotlight". Foundation for Economic Education. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  69. ^ "Congratulations to Matt Kibbe: 2018 Leonard E. Read Distinguished Alumni Award Winner". Foundation for Economic Education. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  70. ^ ISSN 0016-0652; OCLC 1570149
  71. ^ Olson 2016.
  72. ^ "Meet the New President of the Foundation for Economic Education, America's Oldest Free Market Think Tank". 4 July 2019. Retrieved 2022-07-27.
  73. ^ Phillips-Fein 2009, p. 52; Hamowy 2008, p. 62; Olson 2009; Shiflett 2015, p. 176.
  74. ^ Read 1958.
  75. ^ Bastiat 1950.
  76. ^ Read 1998.
  77. ^ Mises 1947.
  78. ^ Wolman 1948.
  79. ^ Sennholz 1997.
  80. ^ Machan 1994.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]