It is with great sorrow that we report the passing of Larry Pratt on June 27.
Larry served in several roles at the American Institute for Economic Research and American Investment Services. He made a profound contribution to both organizations, through illuminating our readers and helping our clients prosper.
Larry started at AIER in 1973 and went on to take on nearly every job and hold nearly every title. He first worked on the research staff under the guidance of AIER’s founder, Col. E.C. Harwood, eventually he became director of research and education. He also served as president of AIS during the 1990s, and was the driving force behind much of its investment research.
Larry’s name may not be as familiar to supporters of AIER as it should be. For most of his tenure AIER did not print by-lines identifying the authors of articles. Suffice to say, his articles stood out for their sharp analysis, persuasiveness, timeliness, relevance, wit, and humor (example: he titled an article comparing the dollar to other fiat currencies “The World’s Tallest Dwarf”). It’s not easy to write about economics for non-economists in an engaging way, but Larry viewed that as an essential part of the job. That he was able to do so week after week for nearly four decades is astonishing.
In addition to countless articles, he wrote a number of books, including How to Invest Wisely. He also edited many articles and books for AIER, often taking the straw of early drafts and spinning it into gold. He also taught a seminar in AIER’s Summer Fellowship Program, on “Thinking Like an Economist,” aimed at encouraging the summer fellows (mostly graduate students in economics) to consider how they might help non-economists to better understand the world.
Larry’s research spanned numerous areas ranging from monetary economics to personal finance. His varied interests, including history and science, served him well. Staff would frequently turn to Larry for help with various aspects of inquiry, ranging from empirical methodology to government policy.
While Larry focused primarily on educating the layman, he made important contributions to the discipline. In the early 1980s he quietly lent critical support to the “supply side revolution” by providing key analytical support behind his friend George Gilder’s seminal work “Wealth and Poverty.” His work on the high-yield Dow investment approach preceded, and ultimately improved upon, more popular but simplistic approaches.
Larry’s many contributions serve as inspiration for future generations of AIER scholars and AIS staff. He will be missed greatly.