AIER and Freedom Need Your Support

What a glorious year at AIER it’s been! In 2018, you have heard much more from the American Institute for Economic Research. Sometimes people say to me: “what AIER is doing is so amazing; why am I only now hearing about it?”

This 85-year-old institution is undergoing a renaissance, with tremendous media reach, new books, one or two programs per week, and a stellar research and editorial team. We’ve re-rooted the organization in its founding mission. We’ve taken on the hard topics and made a difference in the public debate.

I’ve been gratified by all the messages of support for what’s been achieved so far. But here’s a truth: we’ve only just begun. This has been the year of building for us, putting together a great team, building a publishing infrastructure, extending our communication networks, drawing in new researchers and scholars. All of this work will pay huge returns in the coming year and decade.

AIER can set a new and higher standard for quality, reach, and sheer intellectual firepower. We have the skill. We have the team. We have the passion. And we have a moral obligation.

Would you join AIER as a supporter? As a gift, we will send you a special hardbound edition of a thrilling biographical sketch of our founder (E.C. Harwood) for gifts of $100 or more. I would love to send you one.

Donors can think of themselves as investors in the ideas of the free society with strong protection for private property, commercial exchange, and universal opportunity. I don’t need to tell you that these ideas have been massively under attack, from all sides of the political spectrum. AIER is seeking to hold up a different ideal.

Truth to Power

I think often of our founding. Edward C. Harwood was teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the onset of the Great Depression. He wrote a great book in 1932 showing that the downturn was not caused by capitalism but by manipulation of the credit system. His proposed solution was sound money, free trade, balanced budgets, and a society of pure freedom.

In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt took office and went the other direction. He shut the banks. He confiscated the people’s gold. He devalued the dollar. Professor Harwood decided to act. He founded a new institute that would be truly independent, and so could fearlessly speak the truth. This was at a time before nonprofit institutes became common. I think it is safe to say that AIER was the first pro-market nonprofit in the world.

Eventually, AIER settled into a beautiful stone mansion in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and this has been our home ever since. Here we have a world-class library, a stream of visiting fellows, top-flight researchers, and a hard-working staff. But our work is not geographically bound. We have events ongoing around the country and the world to connect business people with intellectuals. Our content appears in global media outlets and the largest-circulation newspapers in the world.

Open a newspaper, turn on the TV, read Facebook or Twitter or a website, and you will see that socialistic ideas are on the march. It isn’t only young ideologues. Politicians are happy to call themselves socialists now. Suddenly, there are many more of them than Bernie Sanders. And the media loves to cover them, disseminating foolish thinking far and wide.

They argue that capitalism has failed. We completely disagree. Edward C. Harwood would want us to teach people to see the greater good of capitalism and work to fix its limitations, rather than throwing the system out the window.

We already know what happens when we do: authoritarian socialism takes over, and hundreds of millions die from war, oppression or starvation.

This is not our only challenge. The news is also full of talk of tariffs, trade deficits, embargoes and arguments about which country is taking advantage of which. It feels like the 1930s all over again.

Research

In 2018, AIER hired a new team of research fellows. Combined, they have over 30,000 scholarly citations to their work. We are confident that AIER houses some of the greatest economists of our time, and we are thrilled to provide an outlet for so many talented writers and researchers.

Our researchers have produced over 120 research project posts and over a dozen refereed journal quality working papers on the topics of sound money, labor reform, digital technology, macroeconomics, and more.

This year we started publishing AIER’s research papers on the Social Science Research Network, a website devoted to the rapid dissemination of scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities.

We know that the prevailing academic groupthink constrains many academics using SSRN. This is especially true for economics, where adherence to the failed theories of John Maynard Keynes still dominate in the halls of academia.

But now we’re injecting our fact-based and scientifically proven ideas into the SSRN network, helping scholars break free from the existing constraints and see economics in a whole new light – in the right light!

On the Social Science Research Network, more than 150,000 people clicked on our research. Among our competitors in the Entrepreneurship, Research, and Policy Network Organizations we are now ranked 152 in the world.

A significant number of our research papers address the question of sound money. Fiat money and central banking are failing the people of this country (just as they fail people everywhere around the globe).

Under the direction of William J. Luther, our Sound Money Project conducts original research and promotes awareness of alternatives to government control of the money supply. Leading academics and practitioners in money, banking, and macroeconomics help us share our work with new audiences.

Our papers cover monetary policy, alternative money systems, financial markets regulation, and the history of monetary and macroeconomic thought.

I am confident that AIER research will pay dividends for years to come.

Public Events

In 2018, AIER held events for over 4,500 attendees.

Those in attendance included graduate researchers, community and business leaders, high school teachers, and college students.

AIER events were held all across the world, from our home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, to California to Venezuela and more. There is not a week that goes by where an AIER event is not happening somewhere across the globe.

Many of these events were part of AIER’s Bastiat Society program, led by Brad DeVos. As you know, this unique effort provides opportunities for business people to learn about economics.

And AIER’s Bastiat Society program does much, much more than this. At these meetings, business professionals can speak freely and openly about the challenges they face. They can help each other find solutions to the problems their businesses confront and adapt to changing circumstances,

You know, as I do, how vital this is. Businesses are a favorite scapegoat for politicians and activists. Despite all they do for us, our business community takes constant abuse from both the left and the right. Businesses also have customers on both sides of any controversial issue. Politicians and activists know business people have to keep quiet to keep their customers.

For this reason, AIER’s Bastiat Society program meetings give business people the freedom to talk openly. And do so without fear of political retribution.

AIER’s Bastiat Society program has nearly 30 chapters around the globe, including in the U.S., Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Thousands of people belong to AIER’s Bastiat Society.

As you might guess, AIER’s research and publications are often the topic of discussion at these chapters. Our team is often on site to talk with attendees, learn from them, and answer their questions about economic principles.

We held three Teach the Teachers seminars in cities across the country this year, one near St. Louis, one near New York City, and one near San Francisco.

We revamped the program this year under the direction of AIER economists Max Gulker, Peter Earle, and Phil Magness, who also teach these events. We work with well-vetted and trusted partners to help participants decide how to use our lessons and materials in their classrooms. Attendance in this program was up 40% over last year!

Television, Radio, and the Internet

As I mentioned above, it is imperative that we adapt all of our programs to today’s fast-paced world. Doing so means our research stays relevant to current debates over policy and new innovations.

More importantly, though, using the 24-hour news cycle, radio, and the internet means we can take our message and our research to millions and millions of people… far more than Edward C. Harwood could ever have hoped for!  

Therefore, in 2018, AIER published over 700 articles on our website, AIER.org. In this time, AIER.org received over one million page views.

Likewise, AIER’s social media – Facebook, Twitter, and the like – is more popular than ever, with 31,553 followers across our channels. This popularity has driven 110,963 new people to visit AIER’s website and learn more about the Institute for the first time.

AIER experts have appeared on television and radio over 50 times in 2018.

I have been on the BBC, CNBC, Fox Business, and others. Jeffrey Tucker has been featured on CNN, the Rubin Report, Brain Bar, and others. Our research has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, and countless podcasts. New translations of our article appear daily.

All that we have achieved this year is thanks to kind people like you who have generously supported our work in the past.

In 2019, we plan to do even more, which is why I hope you will stand with us in the year ahead. Here’s a short summary of what we plan to do.

The Year Ahead

In 2019, we plan to increase our publishing capacity of books and eBooks to one book per month. These books will be available on Amazon and AIER.org in many different formats, including Kindle, hardcover, and paperback.

Already this year, we have published Two Treatises on Competitive Currency and Banking by Lysander Spooner and edited by AIER Senior Research Fellow Phillip W. Magness. It is available on Amazon right now.

And Cause and Control of the Business Cycle by E.C. Harwood is back in print for the first time in 80 years. It, too, is available on Amazon but also on our website, AIER.org.

We also reach new audiences through video, pushed out to all social channels. 

All in all, we plan to reach more people in 2019 than AIER has reached in the last 20 years – combined.

Everything we do – events, research, publications, videos, and conferences all work in concert. AIER uses our own "production-cycle" for economic ideas. This is what separates us from other groups – others can only focus on one part of this cycle (research, or publishing, or conferences). AIER reaches all demographics from high schoolers, scholars, and business people (young and old).

You and I share Edward C. Harwood’s vision. We believe that personal freedom, free enterprise, property rights, limited government and sound money advance peace, prosperity and human progress. And we prove it, time and time again, by using the scientific method.

We have the energy, the passion, and the talent to make his vision a reality.

Yet doing so requires another essential ingredient:  Generous people like you, who make everything happen. And as we enter the New Year, I must ask for your help.

Please send a special tax-deductible contribution to AIER today. Gifts over $100 earn you a special gift of a beautiful book about our founder. I would love to send you one.

Thank you for your support!

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Edward Peter Stringham

Edward Peter Stringham is President of the American Institute for Economic Research,  Davis Professor of Economic Organizations and Innovation at Trinity College, and editor of the Journal of Private Enterprise. He is editor of two books and author of more than seventy journal articles, book chapters, and policy studies. His work has been discussed on more than 100 broadcast stations, including CBS, CNBC, CNN, Headline News, NPR, and MTV. A frequent guest on Fox and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal , in 2016 Rise Global ranked Stringham as the 77th most influential economist. 

He earned his B.A. from College of the Holy Cross in 1997, his Ph.D. from George Mason University in 2002, and first published with the American Institute for Economic Research in 2003. His book, Private Governance: Creating Order in Economic and Social Life, is published by Oxford University Press.