The Dubious Appeal of Socialism | Edmund A. Opitz

Established to study and advance classical liberalism, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is the oldest free-market organization in the United States. Murray Rothbard recognized FEE for creating a “crucial open center” that he credits with launching the movement.

FEE researches and advocates 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. Outreach efforts include a monthly magazine, The Freeman, as well as pamphlets, lectures, and academic sponsorship. FEE publishes reprints of classic libertarian texts.

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. The William Volker Fund was instrumental in subsidizing FEE’s establishment.

The initial officers of FEE included Read as president, Hazlitt as vice-president, and Goodrich as chairman. After retiring from Grove City College where he taught economics, Hans Sennholz served as president of the Foundation from 1992 to 1997. Donald J. Boudreaux, former Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University, served as president of the Foundation from 1997 to 2001. Mark Skousen served as president from 2001 to 2002. 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. In May 2003, Richard Ebeling became president. He announced at the April 12, 2008 Evening at FEE that he was leaving FEE to accept a position at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. On September 1, 2008 Lawrence Reed became the current president.

Read’s efforts provided a base for the international post World War II libertarian movement. For instance, Friedrich Hayek was inspired partly by FEE when he formed the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947. Plehwe, Walpen, and Neunhöffer argue that FEE directly supported the Mont Pelerin Society.

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.

In 1945 Du Pont executive Jasper Crane with Alfred Kohlberg started a capital campaign and obtained enough funding from J. Howard Pew, Inland Steel, Quaker Oaks, and Sears in 1950 to publish the first issue of The Freeman, a magazine that is still published by FEE today. Focusing on classic works on liberty, FEE publishes books, articles, and pamphlets both on paper and digitally. (Source: Wikipedia)

Official website of the Foundation for Economic Education:

The Freeman website:

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