Liberty Fund

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Liberty Fund
Founded1960; 64 years ago (1960)
FounderPierre F. Goodrich
  • 11301 N. Meridian Street, Carmel, IN 46032
MethodPublishing, conferences

Liberty Fund, Inc. is a nonprofit foundation[2] headquartered in Carmel, Indiana, which promotes the libertarian views of its founder, Pierre F. Goodrich through publishing, conferences, and educational resources. The operating mandate of the Liberty Fund was set forth in an unpublished memo written by Goodrich "to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals".[3][4][5][2]


Liberty Fund was founded by entrepreneur Pierre F. Goodrich in 1960. Goodrich, "one of the richest men in Indiana", was involved with coal mines, corn production, telecommunications, and securities.[6] Goodrich was a member of the neoliberal or classically liberal Mont Pelerin Society, an international organization of academics, intellectuals, and business leaders who advocated free market economic policies. Goodrich was also an acolyte of Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises.[7] Historian Donald T. Critchlow notes that Liberty Fund was one of the endowed conservative foundations which laid the way for the election of U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1980.[8]

In 1997 it received an $80 million donation from Goodrich's wife, Enid, increasing its assets to over $300 million.[5][9] In November 2015, it was announced that the Liberty Fund was building a $22 million headquarters in Carmel, Indiana.[6][10]


The foundation has published several books covering history, politics, philosophy, law, education, and economics. These include:

  • Liberty Fund's Natural Law and Enlightenment Series
  • Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America (Historical-Critical Edition) ISBN 9780865978409[11]
  • The Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Glasgow Edition) ISBN 9780865973695
  • David Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, 2010. ISBN 9780865979659[11]
  • The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo (Edited by Piero Sraffa and Maurice Dobb, 2005) ISBN 9780865979765

Liberty Fund's Conference Program[edit]

Since its inception, Liberty Fund has hosted more than 6,000 small, Socratic conferences, holding these conferences primarily in North America, Europe, and Latin America. However, it has held a small number of conferences in other regions of the world as well, including Asia, Australia, and North Africa. Conferences are organized primarily by scholars who work with Liberty Fund staff to establish a theme and select readings that explore certain aspects of liberty. As a result, thousands of individual conferences have been held in a myriad of disciplines, including economics, history, philosophy, religion, literature, law, and including, most recently, genomics and artificial intelligence.

Individual conferences cover a broad range of topics and themes, including political theory and history, economics, literature, fine arts, science and technology, and law. Authors and thinkers discussed include William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Fredrick Douglass, and economists Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and James Buchanan. Past conference titles include “Freedom and Rebellion in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, “Wisdom, Knowledge and the Good Life,” “Hobbes, Liberty, and the Rule of Law,” “Liberty and Power in the Mexican Revolution,” and “Civil Society in the Plague Year.”

Scholars and professionals gather at these conferences, normally for three days, to engage in a conversation based upon preselected readings. The goal is for conferees to explore in depth the ideals, history, and institutions of a free society. 

Major contributions to specific intellectual disciplines have been a series of conferences led by economists James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, and Geoffrey Brennan on Public Choice Theory. Professor Henry Manne spearheaded conferences from the late 1970s to the early 2000s that made a considerable contribution to the field of Law and Economics. Scholars William B. Allen, Forrest McDonald, Lance Banning, Gordon S. Wood and Jack P. Green have served as either directors or discussion leaders of dozens of conferences on the early history of the American Republic.[12]

Liberty Fund's Publishing Program[edit]

Liberty Fund’s publishing program began in 1971 with the publication of Education in a Free Society coauthored by Wabash College Professor Benjamin A. Rogge and Pierre F. Goodrich. (Rogge was a founding director of Liberty Fund in 1960).[13] Since then, Liberty Fund has published more than 400 books exploring the idea of liberty across many disciplines, including economics, political thought, American history, law, and education.[14] As part of Liberty Fund’s commitment to the exchange of ideas, Liberty Fund keeps in print many titles that would otherwise be unavailable.

Some of its most popular or influential publications include:

Liberty Fund Online[edit]

Besides its main website, the Liberty Fund hosts four websites, including:[15][16]

  • Law & Liberty: Law & Liberty's focus is on the classical liberal tradition of how law and political thought shapes a society of free and responsible persons. Articles and commentary are offered by leading scholars covering a range of legal issues, legal philosophy, and pedagogy. (
  • The Online Library of Liberty: The Online Library of Liberty is an extensive digital library of scholarly works focused on individual liberty and free markets. From Art and Economics to Law and Political Theory, the OLL provides a curated collection of resources available at no charge. More than 2,000 works, often classic texts that are rare or unaffordable to most, are available for downloading. (
  • Adam Smith Works: A recent contribution by Liberty Fund has been the investigation of the scholarship of Adam Smith, Scottish Enlightenment economist and philosopher. To further the exploration of Smith's works, Liberty Fund received a multi-million grant from the John Templeton Foundation in 2016[17] to spearhead conferences, host scholars, and create a website around Adam Smith's life and scholarship, notably Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and Wealth of Nations (1776). This is a website that includes educational tools for use by elementary, middle school, high school, and college students. It includes Smith's Lectures on Jurisprudence and writings on astronomy, ancient logic, and ancient physics. Much attention is given to Adam Smith's most known and important works: The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and The Wealth of Nations (1776). (
  • The Library of Economics and Liberty ( with its most popular program a podcast (EconTalk)[18][19][20] hosted by Russ Roberts long-time Stanford professor and current president of Jerusalem’s Shalem College. For more than fifteen years, Roberts has interviewed several hundred scholars and thought leaders, including Mark Andreessen, Milton Friedman, Richard Epstein, Thomas Sowell, Cass Sunstein, Jeffrey Sachs, Anne Applebaum, Ronald Coase, Freeman Dyson, and Deirdre McCloskey. (

Intellectual Portrait Series[edit]

Liberty Fund’s Intellectual Portrait Series contains in-depth conversations with more than thirty of the world’s leading academics in economics, political thought, law, and other disciplines. Liberty Fund also makes available detailed educational documentaries on Adam Smith and F.A. Hayek and features historical overviews of the Industrial Revolution, Hong Kong, and the Constitution of the United States.[21]


In his book The Assault on Reason, former U.S. Vice President and presidential candidate Al Gore wrote that between 2002 and 2004, 97% of the attendees at Liberty Fund training seminars for judges were Republican administration appointees. Gore suggests that such conferences and seminars are one of the reasons that judges who regularly attend such conferences "are generally responsible for writing the most radical pro-corporate, antienvironmental, and activist decisions". Referring to what he calls the "Big Three"—the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, George Mason University's Law & Economics Center, and the Liberty Fund—Gore adds, "These groups are not providing unbiased judicial education. They are giving multithousand-dollar vacations to federal judges to promote their radical right-wing agenda at the expense of the public interest."[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Ama-gi is interpreted by the Liberty Fund to be the earliest-known written appearance of the word "freedom", or "liberty", taken from a clay document written about 2300 BCE in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash. See: Logo Archived 2016-06-12 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Simon, Scott (March 28, 2009). "Sarah Palin as Dorothy? We're Not in Kansas". Weekend Edition – Saturday. NPR. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  3. ^ Rojc, Philip (July 27, 2016). "Rightward, Ho! Ten Top Funders Behind the Surging Libertarian Movement". Inside Philanthropy. Archived from the original on September 4, 2017. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  4. ^ Morgan N. Knull, Goodrich, Pierre, Archived 2018-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, First Principles, 09/23/11.
  5. ^ a b Robert T. Grimm (ed.), Notable American Philanthropists: Biographies of Giving and Volunteering, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002, pp. 125–128
  6. ^ a b Swiatek, Jeff. "Liberty Fund building $22M headquarters in Carmel". Indy Star. Archived from the original on 6 January 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  7. ^ MacLean, Nancy (2018) [2017]. Democracy in Chains. Penguin Random House. p. 125. ISBN 9781101980972. OCLC 1029879485.
  8. ^ Critchlow, Donald T. (2008) [2005]. Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism. Princeton University Press. p. 5. ISBN 9780691136240. OCLC 191755011.
  9. ^ "Gift pulls Liberty out of shadows". Indianapolis Business Journal. IBJ Corporation. June 30, 1997. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2013. Because the conferences are scattered across the globe and because they attract only elite thinkers, the fund attracts little attention in Indianapolis outside its Allison Pointe offices.
  10. ^ "Liberty Fund". Archived from the original on 2017-03-26. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  11. ^ a b "Economics 101-03: History of Economic Thought Spring 2015" (PDF). California State University, Sacramento Department of Economics. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 26, 2017. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  12. ^ "Historic Documents Library: Founding Era | Constitution Center". National Constitution Center – Retrieved 2024-04-13.
  13. ^ Starbuck, Dane (1 June 2001). The Goodriches: An American Family. Liberty Fund Inc. pp. 416, 427–428. ISBN 9780865971844.
  14. ^ "Home". Liberty Fund. Retrieved 2024-04-18.
  15. ^ "Online Resources". Liberty Fund. Retrieved 2024-01-20.
  16. ^ "About Liberty Fund". Liberty Fund. April 10, 2014. Archived from the original on October 16, 2018. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  17. ^ "Adam Smith's Enlightened World". John Templeton Foundation. Retrieved 2024-04-13.
  18. ^ "The Case Against Sugar: Gary Taubes On EconTalk". The Foundation for Economic Education. 13 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Liberty Fund Links". 14 December 2016. Archived from the original on 26 March 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  20. ^ LCCN 2007-15993; OCLC 237794267, 750248783, 730302176; ISBN 978-0865976658, 978-0865976665
  21. ^ Liberty Fund Books 2022 Catalogue (The Art of Conversation). Liberty Fund Books. 2022. p. 162.
  22. ^ Gore, Al (2007). The Assault on Reason. Penguin Press. p. 234. ISBN 978-1594201226. Liberty Fund .

External links[edit]