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Lawrence W. Reed


Member of: FEE Staff

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.

He holds a B.A. in economics from Grove City College (1975) and an M.A. degree in history from Slippery Rock State University (1978), both in Pennsylvania. He holds two honorary doctorates, one from Central Michigan University (public administration, 1993) and Northwood University (laws, 2008).

A champion for liberty, Reed has authored over 1,000 newspaper columns and articles and dozens of articles in magazines and journals in the United States and abroad. His writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, among many others. He has authored or coauthored seven books, the most recent ones being Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism and A Republic—If We Can Keep It. He is frequently interviewed on radio talk shows and has appeared as a guest on numerous television programs, including those anchored by Judge Andrew Napolitano and John Stossel on FOX Business News.

Reed has delivered at least 75 speeches annually in the past 30 years in virtually every state and in dozens of countries from Bulgaria to China to Bolivia. His best-known lectures include “Seven Principles of Sound Policy” and “Great Myths of the Great Depression,” both of which have been translated into more than a dozen languages and distributed worldwide.

His interests in political and economic affairs have taken...

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Lawrence W. Reed's Articles

Elijah the Inventor

Elijah McCoy, the son of fugitive slaves, invented what ended up saving the locomotive industry countless hours of time and all the associated money.

- December 01, 2016

Public Subsidies Tarnish the Arts

Money that comes voluntarily from the heart is more meaningful than money that comes at gunpoint (taxes).

- November 29, 2016

Heroes—A Respite from Today’s Politics

We need more than a break from the nastiest, least-substantive presidential election in memory. We need to be inspired by the words and deeds of real people whose lives are worth celebrating, whose examples are inherently inspirational.

- November 01, 2016

What Human Action Means to Me and to FEE

When you read Human Action, you’re not reading newspaper column material; you’re reading the original wisdom that a professor absorbs before he teaches the student who becomes the columnist.

- September 13, 2016

Cannibals and 401Ks – Reed's Feed

It’s been said that people don’t care what you know if they don’t know that you care. Laws and policies inimical to liberty produce so much more than bad numbers; they crush the dreams of real people who want to improve their lives and the lives of those they love.

- August 31, 2016

Celebrate Capital on Labor Day – Reed’s Feed

For the first time since passage of the federal Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, a majority of the 50 states are governed by “Right-to-Work” (RTW) laws.

- August 23, 2016

Do You Know A Real Hero? – Reed’s Feed

Real heroes act with integrity regardless of the politics and pressures all around them. 

- August 18, 2016

Socialism On My Mind: Reed’s Feed

Socialists promise peace and harmony (when they’re not preaching envy and theft) but they deliver strife and conflict. They pit class against class. They cynically buy off one faction at the expense of another. They thrive on victimology. They shun personal responsibility. They encourage groupthink and mob mentalities. They sacrifice individuality in a communal blender and strip humans of their humanity.

- August 10, 2016

Democracy Lives Up to Mencken’s Expectations: Reed’s Feed

Now that the major party political conventions are over, H. L. Mencken’s assessment of “democracy” seem more prophetic than ever.

- August 03, 2016

Party Platforms: Size Matters, and Longer Doesn’t Mean Better

By the time the two party conventions are history this year, the words in their two platforms combined are likely to be about 10 times the 1892 total.


- July 26, 2016

Should a V.P. be One Person’s Choice?

In politics, you can’t always count on the better person getting the job. The truly better ones usually don’t run in the first place. So when the superior man or woman actually gets the nod, whether by fate or choice, it’s noteworthy.


- July 24, 2016

Real Heroes: Inspiring True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction

Announcing FEE President Lawrence W. Reed's new book: "Real Heroes: Inspiring True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction," featuring over 40 stories of heroic individuals who have changed the world. Pre-order for $14.40 today.

This book is published in partnership with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc.

- July 20, 2016

The Entrepreneur as Voyager: The Story of Joshua Slocum

The sailor and explorer Joshua Slocum was the same as entrepreneurs–they're adventurers, risk-takers, dreamers, designers, wealth-creators, and traders.

- July 07, 2016

The Kellogg Story

One small idea changed breakfast forever, and made a fortune

- July 05, 2016

The True Meaning of Patriotism

Freedom—understanding it, living it, teaching it, and supporting those who are educating others about its principles—is what patriotism should mean to each of us today.

- July 01, 2016

The Case Against Protectionism

Economists have largely come to a consensus on protecitonism: it doesn't work.

- July 01, 2016

The Mania for Regulating People

"The trouble with much of our legislation is that the legislator has mistaken emotion for wisdom, impulse for knowledge, and good intention for sound judgment." — Justice Sutherland

Socialism: Force or Fantasy?

If it’s not the use of force to shape society the way you want it, then socialism is nothing more than a nebulous fantasy.

- June 10, 2016

5 Ideas at the Heart of Socialism

The battle for the preservation and advancement of liberty is a battle not against personalities but against opposing ideas.

- June 03, 2016

One of the Greatest Entrepreneurs in American History

James Jerome Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railroad, was the only 19th century railroad entrepreneur who received no federal subsidies to build his railroads.

Real Heroes Are Grateful People

I’m grateful already for what you graduating seniors are going to accomplish in your lifetimes. And I hope you will always be thankful that you live in a country where there is still so much to be grateful for.

- May 20, 2016

The Moral Case for Competitive Capitalism, Revisited

The moral argument is where we find the strongest, loftiest, and most convincing case for capitalism.

Andrew Mellon: Unleashing Wealth Creators

Mellon’s riches did not insulate him from the real world; rather, they reinforced in his mind just how the real world works.


- May 06, 2016

Mary Wollstonecraft: Libertarian Feminist

When the law did not recognize women’s rights, Mary Wollstonecraft took responsibility for her life. She educated herself. She spoke out for vital economic liberties. She demanded justice.

The Hero of Hickory Farms

By what twisted principle of justice do we sneer at successful people like Ransom?

- April 22, 2016

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