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American Institute for Economic Research

The American Institute for Economic Research,[3] also known as AIER, is an independent 501(c)(3) economic research institute located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1933 by the 20th century economist Edward C. Harwood with the intention of protecting individual rights.[4]

American Institute for Economic Research
Aierlogoonly.jpg
AIER cottage.jpg
AIER's Historic Cotswold Cottage
AbbreviationAIER
Formation1933; 86 years ago (1933)
FounderEdward C. Harwood
Type501(c)(3) non-profit think tank
PurposePersonal freedom, free enterprise, property rights, limited government, sound money[1]
Location
Revenue (2015)
$1,947,503[2]
Expenses (2015)$4,548,603[2]
Websitewww.aier.org

The mission of AIER is to conduct independent, scientific, economic research to educate individuals, thereby advancing their personal interests and those of their nation. AIER is one of the few economic research groups that is devoted to purely objective financial research, and it does not receive grants, large corporate donations, or gifts from any other outside resources.[5]

As of 2017, the president of the Institute is Edward Stringham, a professor of economics at Trinity College in Connecticut.[6]

HistoryEdit

FoundingEdit

Col. Edward C. Hardwood, a graduate of the United States Military Academy, was serving in the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1920s when he undertook an intensive study of economics, with particular emphasis on money-credit problems. He began writing freelance magazine articles on this subject, and in 1926, he was transferred to Hawaii where he read nearly one thousand books that had been collected during World War I. This allowed him to further develop his ability to critically analyze financial data.[5]

Between 1928 and 1929, Harwood wrote articles that accurately predicted the impending depression, which he blamed on the inordinate issuances of corporate securities and loans by financial institutions to investors and speculators that fueled the stock-market boom.[5]

Following the stock market crash, Harwood continued to write articles on the excesses of inflation, which drew the attention of influential businessmen and academicians. In 1933, Dr. Vannevar Bush, then vice-president and dean of engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, encouraged Harwood to found a research institution that would provide valuable financial advice to ordinary citizens. With two hundred dollars saved from selling his articles, Harwood founded AIER to conduct research into the wide range of economic, social, and monetary developments that had contributed to the catastrophic economic contraction of the Great Depression.[5]

Move to Great Barrington and Further ExpansionsEdit

AIER was initially housed in an office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but the institution soon moved to other facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[7] However, America's entrance into World War II affected the institution greatly, and by 1941, only four faculty members remained. Harwood himself returned to the army, but he was given a medical discharge in April 1945. While idled in New Guinea, Harwood was reading a real estate catalogue, which featured an abandoned estate in Great Barrington, located in western Massachusetts, that included over 500 acres of land, a small lake, a trout stream, and twelve miles of bridle paths. Following the end of the war, Harwood and his wife Helen purchased 103 of the 500 acres and relocated to the "white elephant" manor house.[5]

After recovering from the war, AIER continued to expand its operations, and in 1956, a print shop annex and warehouse were built, and in 1963, the E.C. Harwood Research Library was added to the hillside below the annex, whose workspace was later doubled in 2002 up to 20,000 square feet. In 1968, further housing was added for staff members, graduate students, and fellows. The print shop closed in 2008, as AIER transitioned from print to digital dissemination of its research.[8]

Ideology and views espoused by the InstituteEdit

The Institute advocates for personal freedom, free enterprise, property rights, and sound money, and is committed to advancing peace, prosperity, and human progress.[7] AIER believes that economics presupposes no particular design of the economic order, such as socialism, fascism, or capitalism, and its writings espouse normative judgments about outcomes that are often found in socio-political philosophies advocating for a particular vision of economic order.[9]

Forms of governmentEdit

AIER believes that the most successful economic order to date has been that based on individual sovereignty and advocates for limited government and a society based on property rights. It believes that an open market is what allows one to reach these goals.[9] Since its inception, the Institute has critiqued socialism, which advocates for a centralized control of economic decisions, but it strives to recognize what may make a certain decision or policy socialist. Additionally, the Institute believes that "the struggle against communism is crucial to the survival of Western Civilization."[10]

The Institute continually publishes articles that are against fascism, communism, and socialism, and it believes that totalitarianism results in the absence of freedom and a loss of individual rights. AIER sees political power as detrimental to society, creating a "them" vs. "us" mentality and a loss of individual power.[11] In addition, AIER strives to recognize a difference between democracy and freedom.[12]

On foreign and domestic policyEdit

AIER regularly comments on foreign policy issues, such as the ongoing trade war and the response by the Federal Reserve Bank.[13][14] The Institute regularly discusses the consequences of the trade war, such as the decrease in international trade and the cost to Americans. AIER believes that everyone is affected and has stated that the trade war will likely be the cause of the next recession. AIER believes that the negative effects of the trade war are difficult to separate from all of the other factors playing a role in the economy. It critiqued the Fed's inflation-targeting policy, which has failed to eliminate any negative shocks that have resulted from the tariffs.[15][16]

In addition to commenting on the Fed's monetary policy in relation to the trade war, AIER routinely comments on the Fed's monetary policy, particularly its low interest rates and quantitative easing, since the 2008 recession. The Institute believes that the Federal Reserve is cautious and it questions the role that their expansionary policies have played since the financial crisis.[17][18] AIER believes that the Fed is largely to blame for the sluggish recovery of the US economy and attributes much of this slow recovery to the floor system, which discourages banks from lending.[19] The Institute believes that the inability of private banks to allocate credit has resulted in a less productive economy.[18]

Commentaries on other issuesEdit

The Institute regularly writes articles about other current issues, such as energy,[20] the minimum wage,[21] and regulation.[22] AIER writes several articles on the American presidency, and is known for critiquing President Donald Trump for his policies and tax cuts.[23][24]

ActivitiesEdit

PublicationsEdit

The aim of AIER is to distribute its publications to the widest range of individuals possible and focuses on keeping its publishing costs low.[8] AIER has two serials which are distributed to sustaining members, a monthly Economic Education Bulletin and the twice-monthly Research Report. These writings discuss current issues on personal finance and public policy.[8]

In addition, AIER also publishes Business Conditions Monthly, which discusses business cycles, and a Harwood Economic Review. Several works by AIER have been quoted in newspapers and magazines such as the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Business Week.[7]

ConferencesEdit

AIER hosts the Harwood Graduate Colloquium, a four day event intended for graduate students that takes place three times a year. Students visit from around the world are invited to participate in a combination of discussions based on pre-assigned readings and lectures given by prominent scholars who are affiliated with AIER.[25] Previous conversation topics include The Theory and History of Monetary Institutions, Economic Freedom and Trade, and Private Governance.[26]

ProgramsEdit

The Bastiat Society is a global network of business professionals committed to advancing free trade, individual freedom, and responsible government.[27] Each year thousands of people come together to discuss AIER's mission and philosophy at the 140+ events. Attendees at these events learn what it means to be a more responsible business person.[7]

The Sound Money Project was founded in January 2009 to conduct research and promote awareness about monetary stability and financial privacy. The project is composed of various leaders from academia and practitioners in money, banking, and macroeconomics. The project also offers information on topics such as monetary policy, financial markets regulation, and cryptocurrencies.[7][28] The Sound Money Project also hosts an annual essay contest, which is designed to promote scholarship in monetary and macroeconomics. Graduate students, post-graduates untenured professors, and tenured professors are all invited to submit their writing.[26]

AIER also hosts Free Teaching Enterprise, which is designed to bring world class free market economic research and ideas to K-12 teachers to improve the quality and experience of economic education in middle and high school classrooms. AIER partners with the State Department of Education, Regional Education Services, and both public and charter school districts in order to create academic units that they can present to middle and high school social studies teachers. Lesson plans focus on topics such as trade, the morality of markets, and the FDA and regulation[29]

AffiliationsEdit

In 1978, AIER founded American Investment Services, Inc. (AIS) to provide asset-management services to individuals and organizations, and to publish a monthly eight-page Investment Guide newsletter. AIS provides information based on entirely objective scientific research on the economy, and its investment policy is informed by research conducted at AIER. AIS does not provide predictions of market movements, and it does not accept compensation from a third party.[5][30]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "American Institute for Economic Research". Foundation Center. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b "American Institute for Economic Research" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  3. ^ "AIER". www.aier.org. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  4. ^ "Why AIER: The First 45 Years and Plans for the Future". www.aier.org. 1978-12-01. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Harwood, Frederick C.; Murray (2008). The Golden Constant: American Institute for Economic Research: 75 Years of Free Thinking on the Free Market (1933-2008). American Institute for Economic Research: Charles. ISBN 9780913610626.
  6. ^ Staff (June 7, 2017). "American Institute for Economic Research names new president". The Berkshire Eagle.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Mission & History". www.aier.org. 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  8. ^ a b c "A.I.E.R. After 75 Years". www.aier.org. 2017-05-16. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  9. ^ a b "AIER After 75 Years: Our History and Plans for the Future". www.aier.org. 2008-02-01. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  10. ^ "The Counterrevolution and American Foreign and Domestic Policy". www.aier.org. 1950-08-28. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  11. ^ "America's Economic Commissar of Trade". www.aier.org. 2019-06-12. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  12. ^ "The Dangers of Totalitarian Planning, Past and Present". www.aier.org. 2018-07-31. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  13. ^ "Search Results". www.aier.org. 2018-05-09. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  14. ^ "Trade Wars and Monetary Policy". www.aier.org. 2018-08-26. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  15. ^ "Trade Wars and Monetary Policy". www.aier.org. 2018-08-26. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  16. ^ "The Trade War: A One-Year Assessment (Executive Summary)". www.aier.org. 2019-03-14. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  17. ^ "Monetary Policy in the Crisis: A Dam Mistake". www.aier.org. 2018-08-07. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  18. ^ a b "Did Tight Monetary Policy Result in a Sluggish Recovery?". www.aier.org. 2019-05-15. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  19. ^ "How Does the Fed Influence the Federal Funds Rate in a Floor System?". www.aier.org. 2018-06-25. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  20. ^ "Energy". www.aier.org. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  21. ^ "Minimum Wage". www.aier.org. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  22. ^ "Regulation". www.aier.org. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  23. ^ "President Trump's First Year Included Setbacks for Liberty". www.aier.org. 2018-01-03. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  24. ^ "President Trump's Threatened Tariffs Would Wipe Out 2017 Tax Cuts". www.aier.org. 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  25. ^ "Harwood Graduate Colloquium". www.aier.org. 2018-04-26. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  26. ^ a b "Sound Money Project Essay Contest". www.aier.org. 2019-05-26. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  27. ^ "AIER's Bastiat Society". www.aier.org. 2018-07-12. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  28. ^ "Sound Money Project". www.aier.org. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  29. ^ "Teaching Free Enterprise". www.aier.org. 2018-02-14. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  30. ^ "American Investment Services, Inc". www.aier.org. 2014-05-15. Retrieved 2019-06-17.

External linksEdit