American Institute for Economic Research, Great Barrington – Week 1 – All New, Everything New: York, Year, Think Tank

Micha Gartz

After all the spoils of Christmas, do we really need more new things? The answer is yes, yes we do. Spending New Year’s Eve in New York is probably on most people’s bucket list – until you realise that getting a spot in Times Square requires waiting out the remainder of the year in the rain. Opting for a quiet dinner, I instead welcomed the New Year with an early morning walk through the famed Central Park, before leaving New York in search of new adventures – heading to Great Barrington in Massachusetts where I will be spending the next two months as an intern.

Since its founding by E. C. Harwood, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) has strived to produce scientific research encouraging free enterprise. Having been in hibernation for a while now, AIER’s new leaders are breathing fresh life into the organisation. The sudden spurt of published articles, television appearances and research papers being produced show what a well-put-together team can accomplish. It’s too bad our politicians cannot be as productive.

As Congress approaches its third week of shut-down, parks and monument continue to remain closed, costing private businesses more than just taxes. In Yellowstone National Park private hotel and tour operators are paying public servants to keep road groomed, rubbish emptied and toilets cleaned for tourists, cutting deep into business profits. Imagine how much faster politicians would return to work if tax collection – and their pay – was frozen. This example shows how we do not need to rely on government to provide basic services, nor do we need them to impose tariffs leading to a trade war, something my supervisor Max Gulker and Jeffrey Tucker from AIER are passionately writing about. Their efforts to reinvigorate AIER don’t stop at the office door but extend to the living quarters as they restore The Stone House to its former glory.

After having been introduced to our coworkers and some very interesting projects (more on those over the coming weeks) we are already valued and being encouraged to contribute – and not just inside the office. Every evening we carry our discussions from the office to the lounge room, where there is a glass of wine to be had with good company. This is a great opportunity to informally get to know the directors, fellow visiting scholars and encounter new ideas.

However, not everything needs to be new. On Saturday our plans were postponed due to bad weather, so Mr Tucker invited us to join him for some shopping instead. We returned with a glorious vase and some beautiful old paintings from Goodwill to refurbish the house with.