August 23, 2021 Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dear Readers,

Hello from Great Barrington, in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. I was born and raised a scant 45 miles from here, in Watertown, Connecticut, so for me this is a homecoming of sorts. My career has taken me to every region of the United States, and abroad for a time too. Coming home to work for the American Institute for Economic Research is a singular honor. Great Barrington is beautiful, and AIER is exactly the kind of place that those of us who trade in ideas hope to find.

I am glad to have found it, and it is my honor to now serve as Senior Editor at AIER. My first goal is to be a good steward of this place that we all love. AIER was founded by Colonel E.C. Harwood in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. Harwood aimed to build an institution that would provide the sort of research that could, he hoped, prevent another economic catastrophe from happening. The catastrophes have changed, but the goal remains. We, an independent research institution, aim to do the sort of economic, social, and monetary research that the United States and the rest of the world so sorely need.

The benefit of independence cannot be overestimated, and Harwood knew as much from the first. We do not owe our existence to one or another interested parties. There is not a daily pressure to conform to a rigid set of talking points. We owe no allegiance to one political party or the other. We are free, in the best sense, to follow our research wherever it goes. This is a freedom that is as rare as it is productive. And it is a gift that Colonel Harwood gave to us in perpetuity.

All of that is prologue to understanding my responsibility at AIER: editorial content. Here as everywhere, content is king. And do we ever have content. As I reviewed AIER’s editorial output, I realized that I was dealing with an embarrassment of riches. AIER routinely puts out some of the finest editorial content found on the web. Day after day, content experts and gifted writers find their work in our queue, and we aim to honor those who came before us by offering more and better output than we heretofore have. This is, on its face, a ridiculous goal given what has appeared in our pages over time. But we would be unworthy of our positions here if we did not take the mantle handed to us by so many from 1933 to the present day.

So we aim to provide you with some of the best editorial content you will find in our corner of the intellectual world. It will be incisive, provocative, honest, contentious, and beautiful. It will also be high-minded and charitable, and it will present difficult concerns with the understanding that we all seek the same ends. We all want our fellow citizens to have better options and to be able to live better lives. How we can best facilitate these things is always arguable, and we will never flinch when making our arguments.

But we will always remember that on the most important things, we already agree.

So join us, starting tomorrow, for what comes next from Great Barrington and AIER. It is my honor to help steer this wonderful ship, and I look forward to sharing our content with all of you. We hope that you like it. I, for one, cannot imagine how you wouldn’t. That’s how good our writers are. But if you think we could be doing better, you can always let me know at

James R. Harrigan

James R. Harrigan

James R. Harrigan is a former Senior Research Fellow at AIER. He is also co-host of the Words & Numbers podcast.

Dr. Harrigan was previously Dean of the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani, and later served as Director of Academic Programs at the Institute for Humane Studies and Strata, where he was also a Senior Research Fellow.

He has written extensively for the popular press, with articles appearing in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, and a host of other outlets. He is also co-author of Cooperation & Coercion. His current work focuses on the intersections between political economy, public policy, and political philosophy.

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