Harry Browne

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Harry Edson Browne
Harry Browne speaks at 1998 LP convention in Virginia.
Born (1933-06-17)June 17, 1933
New York City
Died March 1, 2006(2006-03-01) (aged 72)
Franklin, Tennessee
Occupation Writer, politician, investment analyst
Spouse(s) Pamela Lanier Wolfe Browne

Harry Edson Browne[1] (June 17, 1933 – March 1, 2006) was an American writer, politician, and investment analyst. He was the Libertarian Party's Presidential nominee in the U.S. elections of 1996 and 2000. He is the author of 12 books that in total have sold more than 2 million copies.[2]

Early life and education

Browne was born in New York City and spent his time growing up in Los Angeles.[2]


Armed services

He was inducted into the U.S. Army on May 5, 1953. He went to the Southwestern Signal Corps Training Center at Camp San Luis Obispo, California to study cryptography. On October 4, 1953, he was sent to Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where the 1954 Operation Castle hydrogen bomb tests were conducted.

In 1955 Browne was sent to Eniwetok to finish his tour of duty and afterwards was transferred to the Army Reserves at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He was released from active military service on July 17, 1956. He was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces on February 28, 1961 and discharged from the Army Reserves on July 1, 1961.

Activist and author

Browne worked as an advertising and sales executive in the 1960s. He then devoted himself full-time to the “Americanist” cause. He believed that the newspapers of America would willingly buy material promoting the American way of life; so, in 1961 he took on the proprietorship of American Way Features, Inc., a newspaper feature service, and as managing editor inaugurated a plan to turn the service from a subsidized program into a profit-making service. It sold "Americanist" features, in competition with all the recognized syndicates. His own column, The American Way, appeared in over 200 newspapers throughout America.

In the summer of 1962, Browne was named the advertising manager for the Liberty Amendment Committee's bimonthly American Progress for Economic Freedom. In October he was named associate editor, and in November he was the editor. The following Spring the magazine was renamed Freedom Magazine, and Browne continued as its editor until February 1964 when he turned his full-time attention to the American Way Features, Inc.

Investment theory and the "Permanent Portfolio" concept

Also in the 1960s, Browne taught courses such as: The Economics of Freedom, The Tools of Success, Tools of the Market, The Economics of Success, and The Art of Profitable Living. Browne was an investment advisor for much of his life, and developed the so-called "permanent portfolio" investment strategy, which claims to identify the four types of economic conditions that can apply over a given investment period, and the appropriate asset classes that give both profit from the upside of these conditions, and some measure of protection when they cease to prevail.

Browne published his first book, How You Can Profit From The Coming Devaluation, in 1970. Browne's second book, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, was published in 1973. You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis was Browne's third book. He continued to write and publish books including his personal finance book, Fail-Safe Investing: Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes, published in 2001.[3] According to Browne's web site, he was a consultant to the Permanent Portfolio Fund which utilizes some of the investment strategies described in his book, Fail-Safe Investing.[4] Browne also authored books and gave lectures on actively living a libertarian lifestyle. His book How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World gave a detailed explanation of how one can bring libertarian concepts to every aspect of your life. His posthumously released 1960s lecture series, "The Art of Profitable Living," was released as a 20-CD album titled, "Rule Your World."


Browne was the presidential nominee of the United States Libertarian Party in 1996 and 2000. He received 485,798 votes or 0.5% of the vote in 1996 and 384,516 votes or 0.4% of the vote in 2000.

His campaign qualified for matching funds during each election but did not accept them, per his campaign platform.[5] Browne's refusal to accept matching funds won him expected praise from libertarians and those who are against the concept of federal matching funds, but also earned him somewhat greater exposure in the "mainstream" media. Browne said he needed to be true to what he had preached in his libertarian speeches and that "it would be highly inappropriate for me to stick my nose in the trough after having denounced the Republicans and Democrats for doing so." During both of these elections, the Libertarian Party managed to get on the ballot in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Browne did not appear on the 2000 Arizona ballot, however, as the Arizona Libertarian Party instead chose to run L. Neil Smith, whose candidacy was a protest against that of Browne.

Claims of wrongdoing by Libertarian National Committee staffers during Browne's 1996 presidential campaign surfaced during his second run in 2000. Browne responded to allegations surrounding the controversy.[6]

After the 2000 elections, Browne continued to work to increase the popularity of libertarian goals. In addition to writing and making appearances on behalf of the Downsize DC Foundation (an organization he helped to co-found and for which he served as Director of Public Policy for a year and a half), he hosted two weekly network radio shows,[7] one on Saturdays dealing with politics, which he often called "The Libertarian Conversation" (since listeners were encouraged to call in), and the other on Sundays, called "The Money Show", dealing with financial topics. Both of these radio programs were on the Genesis Communications Network. Browne also worked with the Free Market News Network, of which he was the President for much of 2005, and a Senior Political Analyst. Via Free Market News, he had his own internet-based television show called This Week in Liberty, which ran for 25 episodes.

Prior to his death, he was also working on a book called The War Racket: The Lies, Myths, and Propaganda that Feed the American War Machine. War, he contended, was just another government program, and was essentially flawed because "government never solves anything." According to Jim Babka, "As Harry explained to me, the book was unlike any other he had ever written. Harry was well-read in his history, but after starting on the project he realized that 'well-read' wasn't enough." According to Browne's wife, Pamela, he collected over 400 books, read almost all of them, and made copious notes. He was struggling with the book's structure at the time of his death.[8]

Browne also authored thousands of articles and was a contributor to the news and opinion blog LewRockwell.com, to Antiwar.com, and to World Net Daily. He published the financial newsletter Harry Browne Special Reports from 1974 to 1997.

A column he wrote titled "When Will We Learn" discussing the September 11 attacks persuaded Larry Elder to break with the Libertarian Party and join the Republican Party. Browne, however, always tried to make it clear that his opinions were his own, and not necessarily reflective of the Libertarian Party. It was his most-read column, ever, and was also published in foreign languages.[citation needed]

According to Jim Babka, "Harry had warned that a day like [September 11, 2001] was coming and he was actually surprised that some of those who'd listened to him and supported him were shocked. He thought the anger should've been directed at the 'geniuses' who'd managed our nation's foreign policy.”[citation needed]


On March 1, 2006, Browne died of Lou Gehrig's disease at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. He was 72 years old.[2] Later that month Browne was eulogized by U.S. Congressman Ron Paul.[9]


  • How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation. Arlington House. 1970. ISBN 978-0-87000-073-7. OCLC 74182.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: A Handbook for Personal Liberty (25th anniversary ed.). LiamWorks. 1998. ISBN 978-0-965-60367-6. OCLC 39318909.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis. Macmillan. 1974. ISBN 978-0-02-517460-3. OCLC 724288.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Complete Guide to Swiss Bank Accounts. McGraw-Hill. 1976. ISBN 978-0-07-008483-4. OCLC 2072816.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • New Profits from the Monetary Crisis. William Morrow & Co. 1978. ISBN 978-0-688-03373-6. OCLC 4194700.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Inflation-Proofing Your Investments. William Morrow & Co. 1981. ISBN 978-0-688-03576-1. OCLC 6916595.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (with Terry Coxon)
  • Why the Best-Laid Investment Plans Usually Go Wrong & How You Can Find Safety and Profit in an Uncertain World. William Morrow & Co. 1987. ISBN 978-0-688-05995-8. OCLC 16226356.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • The Economic Time Bomb: How You Can Profit from the Emerging Crises. St. Martin's Press. 1989. ISBN 978-0-312-02581-6. OCLC 18558381.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Why Government Doesn't Work. St. Martin's Press. 1995. ISBN 978-0-312-13623-9. OCLC 32625515.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Fail-Safe Investing: Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes. St. Martin's Press. 1999. ISBN 978-0-312-24703-4. OCLC 41368221.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • The Great Libertarian Offer. LiamWorks. 2000. ISBN 978-0-965-60369-0. OCLC 44756859.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Unfinished books
  • The War Racket (unfinished at the time of his death)
  • "When Will We Learn?". WND Commentary. WND.com Inc. September 12, 2001.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Posthumous collections

Since his death, Harry's wife Pamela has put together several collections of his speeches and writings in audio and e-book format.

  • 99% of All You Need to Know About Money & its Effect Upon the Economy
  • Freedom Speeches, Volume 1
  • Freedom the American Way
  • How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation & Monetary Crisis
  • Investment Strategy in an Uncertain World
  • Rule Your World!
  • The Secret of Selling ~ Anything
  • The War Racket – Part 1
  • The War Racket – Part 2


  1. http://www.harrybrowne.org/
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 McCain, Robert Stacy (March 3, 2006). "Libertarian Leader Browne Dies at 72; Ran for President in 1996, 2000". The Washington Times. Washington, D.C.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> – via Questia (subscription required)
  3. Brian Doherty (March 2, 2006). "Hit & Run > Harry Browne, R.I.P. – Reason Magazine". Reason.com. Retrieved June 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "HarryBrowne.org". Retrieved June 25, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Libertarian Party 1996 National Campaign Platform". Uiowa.edu. Retrieved June 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Controversy in the LP". Harrybrowne.org. Retrieved June 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "radio shows". Harrybrowne.org. Retrieved June 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Babka, Jim (March 3, 2006). "DownsizeDC.org". DownsizeDC.org. Retrieved June 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Congressional Record – Extensions of Remarks, p. E374. March 15, 2006". Thomas.loc.gov. March 15, 2006. Retrieved June 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Andre Marrou
Libertarian Party Presidential candidate
1996 (lost), 2000 (lost)
Succeeded by
Michael Badnarik