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Thursday, July 6, 2017

This Was the Best Learning Experience of My Life

FEEcon is the latest realization of the mission for which Leonard E. Read founded FEE 71 years ago

Why did over 700 people join us for the inaugural FEEcon last month?

FEEcon is a gathering of people eager to learn about the free society  its philosophical foundations and its abundant benefits.

It is a festival about ideas  about the economic, ethical and legal principles of a free society that have brought humankind, in the space of a few centuries, from darkness into light, from grinding poverty into widespread prosperity, from subjugation into dignity.


We think it was so well attended because participants hoped that learning more about the free-market way of thinking would make their lives, their relationships, and their communities more harmonious and prosperous.

In short: They participated because they wanted to discover better ways to change their world.

Many were attracted to FEEcon by topics that touched them personally, which our scholars and practitioners helped them to understand better: poverty versus prosperity, entrepreneurship and business success, creativity and commerce, science and technology, and issues relating to both our natural and urban environments.

Others sought insights from FEE faculty on the principles of economics, political philosophy, and policy analysis in the classical liberal tradition.

FEEcon’s new multi-track design generated infectious energy among the full range of participants. There were hundreds of newcomers, who wanted to learn how these ideas could help them understand important social phenomena. And there were crowds of liberty enthusiasts who wanted to go deeper into our philosophy.

We heard countless times: “This was the best learning experience of my life.”

P1 Audience 05818-540.jpg

FEEcon is the latest realization of the mission for which Leonard E. Read founded FEE 71 years ago: “… to create a desire for economic understanding and then serve the desire thus created.”

Read believed this two-fold mission was crucial to the spread of ideas on liberty. First (as paraphrased by Hans Sennholz), “unless economic enlightenment is wanted and sought, it falls on deaf ears.” And second, “the real problem is developing a leadership for this philosophy, persons from different walks of life who understand and can explain it.”

With FEEcon, we’ve entered a new era of this leadership. For decades, FEE’s iconic seminars have been changing lives, scores of students at a time. This year, with our inaugural FEEcon, we were able to attract hundreds at a time, together with forty co-sponsoring organizations, further magnifying the intellectual excitement and networking opportunities.

We hope you’ll mark your calendar now for next year’s FEEcon, June 7-9, 2018 in Atlanta. In the meantime, please enjoy these additional photos from the event.

  • Wayne Olson is the Chairman of FEE's Board of Trustees and a former executive director of the Foundation for Economic Education.