Freeman

PERSPECTIVE

Perspective

NOVEMBER 11, 2012 by LAWRENCE W. REED

 

Dear Friends of FEE:

Change. Every politician promises it; few deliver very much of it. Even in our own lives, activities, and businesses, change is often difficult and risky.

For 30 years (1963–93) a political group in Canada called the Rhinoceros Party poked fun at politics with its hilarious proposals. One election year the theme of the RP’s platform was “Change for the Sake of Change.” One of the planks called for switching the side of the road that cars should drive on—from right to left. But rather than do it all at once, the party suggested it be phased in. In the first year the new rule would apply only to big trucks.

At the Foundation for Economic Education we’re serious about change. We’ve given it many months of careful thought. With this issue of The Freeman, our flagship magazine that we’ve published for more than half a century, you can see the first of many changes to come. They are all the result of a new strategic plan we’ve been working on for two years—a plan that will transform not just this magazine but everything FEE does, how we do it, and for whom we do it.

What won’t change—and I guarantee it—are our principles. They haven’t budged in the 66 years since FEE was founded. We’re immensely proud of that fact.

FEE’s new, refined focus is on relative newcomers to the ideas of liberty and free market economics, specifically those within the ages of 16 to 24. We want to inspire, educate, and connect them. We want to help them become the leaders and activists for liberty that a free and prosperous future requires. The potential is enormous because so much of this young and promising market is vastly underserved. Imagine a world where high school and college students learn and appreciate liberty before they start their careers! Thanks to technology, social media, and smart, strategic thinking, we don’t have to wait and hope the schools will do the job for us.

The Freeman now has a fresh new cover design. Its configuration and paper stock are different, making mass distribution far more affordable than the previous, glossy (and expensive) format. In forthcoming issues you’ll notice more young voices, more humor, more short features, more lively and provocative writing, more news about the liberty movement, and more eye-catching graphics. You are hereby invited to suggest other improvements of your own—improvements you think would help us excite and activate newcomers to liberty.

No, we’re not making all the changes we’d like to make in just one issue. So I guess that means our plan is a little like what the Rhinoceros Party proposed for Canadian highways. We’re phasing it in. It’s a good thing analogies only go so far!

These are not changes for the sake of changes. Across the board at FEE, we are aiming to win the future for liberty, so we are shaking things up with a purpose in mind. Even if you were born when Calvin Coolidge was in the White House, we hope you’re going to like the new ways in which FEE is reaching out to the younger generations. Thanks for your support and encouragement, your ideas, and your confidence in us!

Sincerely,
Lawrence W. Reed, President

***

The search for a better life often leads people to look abroad for opportunities they can’t get at home. Immigration policies that make this more difficult leave many at the mercy of smugglers and traffickers. Lewis Andrews describes the often dire consequences.

“The hangman, not the state, executes a criminal.” Ludwig von Mises’s insight into the source of human action contains a world of wisdom, says Warren Gibson.

Everyone knows The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is about how commerce strangles the spirit, right? They should try reading it, says Sarah Skwire.

Don’t let the “fantasy” in fantasy football fool you: The game illustrates some crucial points about opportunity costs and comparative advantage. Isaac Morehouse has been keeping score.

Inflation wouldn’t be so hard to understand if it wasn’t wrapped up in so much untruth, wishful thinking, and misdirection, Richard Fulmer says.

Freeman readers know markets excel at creating new efficiencies and improving everyone’s lives in the

process. The inefficiencies they create might be even more interesting, says Sandy Ikeda.

We’ve heard of cities going bust after city managers and the like get through looting them. Wasting money, though, is a matter of routine for local governments, says D. W. MacKenzie.

Economists know that just making more stuff isn’t the same as productivity—it has to be stuff people want, at prices they’re willing to pay. The nation’s most famous newspaper doesn’t seem to get this, so Steven Horwitz delivers a lesson in basic economics.

Ignoring the law of demand often has perverse consequences. Art Carden has a few examples.

Central planning can’t deliver resources efficiently because it ignores the full complexity of the price system. Alex Salter lays it out.

Trade begins with the private inner states of individuals, who value things differently. This is great news for people seeking their own happiness, Max Borders explains, and bad news for people who think they can legislate the happiness of others.

Despite the bad rap it gets, free trade is the key to economic progress. Arthur Foulkes has the details.

Fred Foldvary says profit isn’t quite as sinple a concept as it might seem at first glance.

Our columnists have plenty to tell you this month. Donald Boudreaux explains why free markets are still the best choice even if they aren’t foolproof; Burton Folsom, Jr., says FDR still sets the terms of discussion about the role of the federal government; Walter Williams takes another look at segregation; and Tyler Watts, hearing politicians blame outsourcing for our economic troubles, says, “It Just Ain’t So!”

Our reviewers take a look at books presenting the case for classical liberalism, busting the myths of interventionist energy policy, tracing the benefits of a free flow of people and ideas, and lauding the benefits of urbanization.

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

November 2012

ABOUT

LAWRENCE W. REED

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Prior to becoming FEE’s president, he served for 20 years as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Michigan. He also taught economics full-time from 1977 to 1984 at Northwood University in Michigan and chaired its department of economics from 1982 to 1984.

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