Foundation of Economic Education | Week 2

James Ledger

Arriving at the office on Monday morning after a weekend of college basketball and uncomfortably low temperatures, I began to realise how influential FEE is to America (and internationally) and how much their work is valued.

I was tasked with attributing lifetime donations to the correct donors and in doing so I was made privy to the enormous generosity of several individuals and organisations. Some people have given millions of dollars since FEE began in 1946 – it’s clear their publications and events are highly regarded.

As the week went on I was given a stack of books from the FEE storage room, with one of them being Lawrence Reed’s ‘Great Myths of the Great Depression’, published in conjunction with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan. He argues that in order to properly understand the events of the time, it is appropriate to view the Great Depression as not one but four consecutive depressions joined into one, focusing on monetary policy and the business cycle; the disintegration of the world economy; Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’; and the Wagner Act.

He notes that capitalism and the free-market economy are routinely blamed for the Depression and that it was only government intervention that brought about America’s recovery. But he also makes clear that people who believe the free-market economy collapsed under its own weight in the 1930s must be ‘utterly unaware of the critical role played by the Federal Reserve’s gross mismanagement of money and credit’. It was a very interesting read and one with lessons every politician should learn going forward.

I’m currently working on a project requiring me to locate attendees of FEE seminar’s from 1993-2003 so we can match up their past details to their current details. This will enable FEE staff to get in contact with past alumni to assess whether they still want to be involved with any seminars or conferences in the future.

With FEE’s largest and most exciting event to date coming up in June – FEEcon 2017 – getting the word out as much as possible is important. Speakers at the conference include Richard M. Ebeling, Donald J. Boudreaux and Steven Horwitz amongst many more, and the office is in full-swing getting it prepared.

It’s been a stimulating week and I look forward to the remaining six!