Madsen Pirie

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Madsen Pirie
Born (1940-08-24) 24 August 1940 (age 80)
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
University of St Andrews
University of Cambridge

Duncan Madsen Pirie (born 24 August 1940)[1] is a British researcher and author. He is a co-founder and current President of the Adam Smith Institute, a UK neoliberal think tank which has been in operation since 1978.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Hull, Pirie is the son of Douglas Pirie and Eva Madsen. As a child he attended the Humberstone Foundation School (also known as Clee Grammar School for Boys and later Matthew Humberstone Comprehensive School) in Old Clee, Lincolnshire.

He graduated with an MA (undergraduate) in History from the University of Edinburgh (1970). He attended the University of St Andrews, joining the Conservative Association,[2] and graduating with a PhD in Philosophy in 1974.[3] He earned an MPhil in Land Economy from Pembroke College, Cambridge (1997).


Before co-founding the Adam Smith Institute, Pirie worked for the United States House of Representatives.[4] He was a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Logic and Philosophy at the private Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan, USA.

Pirie was one of three Britons living in the United States who founded the Adam Smith Institute,[5] a UK-based think tank that champions the ideas of free market policy, and the elimination of government economic controls.[6] In January 2010 Foreign Policy and the University of Pennsylvania named the Adam Smith Institute among the top 10 think tanks in the world outside of the US.[7] Pirie served as the organization's president.[8]

His work in helping to develop the Citizen's Charter led to his appointment to the British Prime Minister John Major's Advisory Panel from 1991 to 1995.[citation needed]

Pirie is an author in several fields, including philosophy, economics, and science fiction.



  • Economy and Local Government (Adam Smith Institute, with Eamonn Butler, 1981)
  • Strategy Two (1981)
  • The Logic of Economics (Adam Smith Institute, 1982)
  • Free Ports (Adam Smith Institute, with Eamonn Butler, 1983)
  • Test Your I.Q. (with Eamonn Butler, 1983)
  • The Future of Pensions (1983)
  • Aid by Enterprise: Market Solutions to the Problem of Development (1984)
  • The Book of Fallacy: A Training Manual for Intellectual Subversives (Routledge, 1985)
  • Dismantling the State: The Theory (National Center for Policy Analysis, 1985)
  • Privatization: Theory, Practice and Choice (Avebury, 1988)[9]
  • The Health of Nations (Adam Smith Institute, with Eamonn Butler, 1988)
  • The Health Alternatives (Adam Smith Institute, with Eamonn Butler, 1988)
  • Enlightenment: Changing the System (with Eamonn Butler, 1988)
  • Health Management Units (with Eamonn Butler, 1988)
  • Managing Better Health (with Michael Goldsmith, 1988)
  • Extending Care (with Eamonn Butler, 1989)
  • Curbing Crime: Its Origins, Pattern, and Prevention (with Sir John Wheeler, Mary Tuck, Barry Poyner, 1989)
  • Wider Still and Wider: Europe and the East (with Peter Young and Norman Stone, 1990)
  • Boost Your IQ (with Eamonn Butler, 1991)
  • Citizens Charter (1991)
  • Blueprint for a Revolution (1993)
  • The End of the Welfare State (with Michael Bell, Eamonn Butler, David Marsland, 1994)
  • 20-20 Vision: Targets for Britain (1994)
  • Sherlock Holmes IQ Book: Test Your I.Q. Against the Great Detective (with Eamonn Butler, 1995)
  • IQ Puzzlers (with Eamonn Butler, 1995)
  • Fortune Account (with Eamonn Butler, 1995)
  • The Millennial Generation (with Robert M. Worcester, 1998)
  • The Next Leaders (with Robert M. Worcester, 1999)
  • How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic (Continuum, 2007)
  • Freedom 101 (2008)
  • Zero Base Policy (2009)
  • 101 Great Thinkers – Makers of Modern Thought (Continuum, 2009)
  • Economics Made Simple: How Money, Trade and Markets Really Work (2011)
  • Think Tank: The Story of the Adam Smith Institute (BiteBack, 2012)
  • Trial & Error and the Idea of Progress (Adam Smith Institute, 2015)


  • The Waters of Andros (2007)
  • Children of the Night (2007)
  • Dark Visitor (2007)
  • The Emerald Warriors (2011)
  • Tree Boy (2012)
  • Silver Dawn (2013)
  • Team Games (2013)
  • Spelthorpe (2016)


  1. ^ "Was "The Health of Nations" by Dr Madsen Pirie and Dr Eamonn Butler a blueprint for NHS privatisation?". 2 January 2013.
  2. ^ Michael David Kandiah; Anthony Seldon (14 January 2014). Ideas and Think Tanks in Contemporary Britain. Routledge. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-135-24906-9.
  3. ^ David Torrance (31 October 2012). Whatever Happened to Tory Scotland?. Edinburgh University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7486-7044-4.
  4. ^ Denis Murphy (30 August 2007). Plant Breeding and Biotechnology: Societal Context and the Future of Agriculture. Cambridge University Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-139-46557-1.
  5. ^ Andrew Denham (15 August 2005). British Think-Tanks And The Climate Of Opinion. Routledge. p. 115. ISBN 978-1-135-36430-4.
  6. ^ Geoffrey Walford (16 May 2012). Privatization and Privilege in Education (RLE Edu L). Routledge. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-136-46152-1.
  7. ^ [1] Archived 26 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Machinery Incorporating Sheet Metal Industries. Findlay Publications Limited. 2002. p. xl.
  9. ^ Thomas Clarke (20 July 2011). International Privatisation: Strategies and Practices. Walter de Gruyter. p. 43. ISBN 978-3-11-085719-1.

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