In 1956 in London, England, Ralph Harris became the Director of the newly formed Institute of Economic Affairs, or IEA. The IEA, originally created by Antony Fisher, is dedicated to improving public understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society, especially the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. In 1957, Arthur Seldon joined Harris as the IEA’s Editorial Director. Together, Harris and Seldon began publishing what were at the time rarely heard views of economic reform based on free-market principles. Through their efforts, the IEA has had enormous influence on governments, public policy, and economic thought and has been the model for organizations like it around the world. In December 1993, the Economist summed up the IEA’s influence as follows: “Governments in search of advice looked to think tanks such as the Institute of Economic Affairs in Britain. . . rather than to Oxford or Harvard.”
M. Stanton Evans is the former editor of The Indianapolis News and founding director of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C. The Journalism Center is dedicated to teaching young journalists not only the technical skills of their trade but also a deep understanding of the issues they will be covering. More than 1,300 young journalists have trained at the center and have gone on to jobs at all the major news channels, magazines, and newspapers across the country. Evans has been a columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and a commentator for CBS radio-TV, NPR, and the Voice of America. He is the author of seven books, the latest entitled The Theme Is Freedom.
Manuel Ayau is the founder and former rector and teacher of economics at Universidad Francisco Marroquin. Begun as an alternative to the prevailing statist views of higher education in Guatemala, Francisco Marroquin is now regarded as that country’s finest university. In addition to being a successful businessman, Ayau is a former Chairman of the Guatemala Stock Exchange, was a member of the Guatemala House of Representatives, and served as President of the Mont Pelerin Society.
Max Hartwell is among the twentieth century’s foremost historians of the Industrial Revolution. Born in New South Wales, Australia, he emigrated to England for his graduate training and taught in Nuffield College, at Oxford University, for many years. His research set in motion the continuing debate about the quality of life and standard of living for those who lived through the industrialization of the West, as well as the causes and explanations for that “great discontinuity.” In addition to being a prolific writer in economic history, Hartwell served as president of the Mont Pelerin Society and has written an important history of that influential body of thinkers.
Recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Milton Friedman has long been recognized as one of our most important economic thinkers and a leader of the Chicago school of monetary economics. A senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution since 1977, he is also the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946 to 1976. He is the author of many books and articles in economics, including A Theory of the Consumption Function; The Optimum Quantity of Money and Other Essays; A Monetary History of the United States (with A. J. Schwartz); Monetary Statistics of the United States; and Monetary Trends in the United States and the United Kingdom. Friedman has also written extensively on public policy, always with a primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom. His most important books in this field are Capitalism and Freedom (with Rose D. Friedman, University of Chicago Press, 1962); Bright Promises, Dismal Performance (Thomas Horton and Daughters, 1983), which consists mostly of reprints of columns he wrote for Newsweek from 1966 to 1983; Free to Choose (with Rose D. Friedman, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980); and Tyranny of the Status Quo (with Rose D. Friedman, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984). Friedman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988 and received the National Medal of Science the same year.
Paul W. McCracken’s influence on how we think about economic policy has reached from the academy to the popular press to the highest reaches of government. He served as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors under President Eisenhower and as its Chairman under President Nixon. He was also a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board and was the author of a regular and influential column for the Wall Street Journal. He is Edmund Ezra Day Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1948.
Ralph McInerny is among the most noted Catholic philosophers and authors of our day. He has taught at the University of Notre Dame since 1955, and since 1978 has been the Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies. He also serves as Director of the Jacques Maritain Center at Notre Dame. McInerny has written a number of important works on St. Thomas Aquinas and helped found Crisis magazine, a publication that addresses problems facing contemporary society from the standpoint of the Catholic tradition. Alongside his academic work, McInerny authored the best-selling and internationally acclaimed Father Dowling Mysteries, which were also made into a series for public television, and he was appointed to President Bush’s Council for Arts and the Humanities.
Richard Cornuelle has greatly impacted how we think about voluntary institutions in the United States. Through such works as Reclaiming the American Dream and De-Managing America, and through his work with the Foundation for Economic Education and the Volker Fund, he has called important attention to the needs and possibilities of those organizations that exist to address social problems through nongovernmental means. His latest work points to what he believes is a great liberating social transformation that is already under way.
A self-described “broker of ideas,” Richard Ware has been deeply influential in his role as a discoverer and supporter of intellectuals interested in the foundations of a free society. During World War II, Ware served with the lend/lease administration in the Pentagon. Following the war, he began work with the Earhart Foundation, becoming President and Trustee of the Foundation in 1970. As President, his guidance helped the Earhart Foundation pursue its mission of sponsoring the study of modern political systems by providing funds for the development of both scholars and scholarly works. As such, Dick Ware developed a unique perspective on the influence of intellectual thought on political systems.
Ronald H. Coase received the 1991 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. His articles “The Problem of Social Cost” and “The Nature of the Firm” are among the most important and most often cited works in the whole of economic literature. He has taught at the University of Chicago since 1964 and was editor of the very influential Journal of Law and Economics from 1964 until 1982. He recounts how he used the journal during that time to encourage “economists and lawyers to write about the way in which actual markets operate and about how governments actually perform in regulating or undertaking economic activities.”
As economic advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Sir Alan Walters was an important figure in the transformation of economic policy, and resulting unprecedented boom, that took place in the United Kingdom during the 1980s. Walters also served as an economic advisor to Prime Minister Edward Heath and has served as an advisor to the World Bank. He has written influential articles on public-sector pricing, economic statistics, and cost-benefit analysis, and has taught at the University of Birmingham, the London School of Economics, and Johns Hopkins University.
One of the most dynamic and insightful theorists writing on property rights, Svetozar “Steve” Pejovich reflects here on his experience in economics. With characteristic sagacity and humor, he demonstrates the power that empirical cases can bring to bear on theoretical problems.