Twice in the 1930s, censors in Washington, D.C., sent letters to the American Institute for Economic Research demanding that we shut down our presses. Twice our founder E.C. Harwood refused to do so. Twice government backed down.
What were we doing wrong? We had published articles taking issue with New Deal economic policy. Nothing more. In those days, however, dissent was rare, first because it was dangerous and second because there was such an overwhelming intellectual consensus in favor of the policies of Franklin Roosevelt.
The urge to censor is the tribute that government pays to the power of ideas. Here they were in Washington with all the regulators, all the guns, enough money to pay off potential enemies, a fawning press, and a monopoly on communication. Why were they so worried about some small newsletters and books being printed by AIER? Because ideas are ultimately more powerful than armies. Ideas can turn history on a dime, and in defiance of even the world’s most fierce states.
And so AIER kept it up, publishing constantly for decades – fully 87 years of our existence. AIER became the font of an entire intellectual revolution following the Second World War. The ideas spread ever further, resulting in more institutions, thinkers, meetings, books, and even further over the coming decades. In a strange way, the New Dealers who imagined the possibility of a completely planned society barren of authentic freedom were right to fear the work of AIER.
In recent years, however, the methods of distribution of AIER hadn’t kept up with the times. That has changed dramatically in the last year under the leadership of Edward Stringham. We’ve been working to bring back old works, publish new books, and make them available in several formats. We are committed to using a Creative Commons license that is consistent with a genuine free-market approach.
Here is a quick list of what we’ve done in the last year. They are all available on Amazon. They will enlighten you. Your purchase of these books also helps support our work here. And I can assure you that we’ve just begun. We hope to build this program into a mighty publishing machine. As for pricing, you know the ropes of academic pricing. No normal human being can afford to pay these prices. So we are keeping them extremely affordable.
Our publishing program is part of an entire suite of services provided by AIER, as a supplement to our daily articles, our programs around the world, our local care for students and professors, and our daily media appearances. The ethos of it all is a principled commitment to good theory, integrity, liberality, and enthusiasm for the role of ideas in shaping history.
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