Lawrence Reed

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Larry Reed
Born (1953-09-29) September 29, 1953 (age 70)
Nationality Pennsylvania, United States
Institution Foundation for Economic Education
Field Public Policy
School or tradition
Austrian School
Alma mater Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (M.A.)
Grove City College (B.A.)
Influences F.A. Hayek
Ludwig von Mises
Henry Hazlitt
Frédéric Bastiat

Lawrence W. (Larry) Reed (born September 29, 1953) is president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). Before joining FEE, Reed served as president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Midland, Michigan based free-market think tank. To date, he remains Mackinac’s president emeritus.[1]

Personal life

Reed was born and raised in Pennsylvania, United States.

He has cited the 1968 event between the Czechs and the Soviets known as the "Prague Spring", as the genesis for his interest in liberty and freedom, and has referred to the Czech cause as a “flowering of liberty.” As a result of interactions with FEE in his teen years, Reed became exposed to the ideas of F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and others from the Austrian school of economics.[2]

In 1982, he was the Republican candidate for U. S. Congress in Michigan’s 10th district.[3]

Education and appointments

Reed holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Grove City College (1975) and a Master of Arts degree in History from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (1978).

From 1977 to 1984 he taught economics at Midland, Michigan’s Northwood University, serving as chairman of the Department of Economics from 1982 to 1984. While at Northwood, Reed designed the university's dual major in Economics and Business Management and founded its annual "Freedom Seminar."

In addition to his undergraduate and graduate education, Reed was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Public Administration from Central Michigan University in 1994 and an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Northwood University in 2008. Reed is also the recipient of the Grove City College Distinguished Alumni Award.

Long active in Michigan policy, Reed was appointed in 1993 by the state's then-Governor John Engler (R) to the Headlee Amendment Blue Ribbon Commission. The Commission had been established as part of the state's 1978 "Headlee Amendment" for the purpose of limiting local and state government spending.[4] It was officially abolished in 2004 by former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.[5]

In 1994, Reed was named to the Secchia Commission on Total Quality Government, a task force charged by Governor Engler to streamline Michigan state government. Engler and many of his administration's officials frequently cited the work of the Mackinac Center as influential in shaping administration policies.[citation needed]

In December 2007, the Washington, D.C. based Heritage Foundation named Reed as a Visiting Senior Fellow.[6]


Reed's interests in political and economic affairs have taken him as a freelance journalist to 78 countries on six continents since 1985.

Over the past twenty-five years, he has reported on hyperinflation in South America, black markets from behind the Iron Curtain, reforms and repression in China and Cambodia, and civil war inside Nicaragua and Mozambique. Additionally, he spent time with the Contra rebels during the Nicaraguan civil war; and lived for two weeks with Mozambique rebel forces at their bush headquarters in 1991, while the country was engaged at the height of their guerrilla conflict. Among many foreign experiences, Reed visited Cambodia in 1989 with his late friend, Academy Award winner Dr. Haing S. Ngor.

In 1986, while traveling with the Polish anti-communist underground,[7] Reed was arrested and detained by border police.[6]

An advocate for free market solutions to national and global issues, Reed has authored over 1,000 newspaper columns and articles, 200 radio commentaries, as well as dozens of articles in magazines and journals.[8] His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Baltimore Sun, Detroit News, Detroit Free Press and USA Today, and others.[9][10]

During a 2003 address on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congressman Ron Paul paid tribute to Reed, acknowledging him as "one of America’s leading advocates for liberty", and remarked that Reed's writings "reflect his unswerving commitment to limited government and the free market as the best way to promote human happiness."[11]

Foundation for Economic Education

On September 1, 2008, Reed became president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). FEE, founded in 1946 by Leonard Read, has been recognized as the first not-for-profit organization of its kind, familiarizing people with free market economics. It is FEE’s mission to provide people with the “economic and moral” foundations of a free and civil society. As president, Reed hopes to reassert FEE’s position as a “mothership” for the freedom movement at large.[2]

According to Reed, “FEE believes a free society is not only possible, it is imperative because there is no acceptable alternative for a civilized people. Our vision for the future is that through education, men and women will understand the moral, philosophic and economic principles that undergird a free society. They will appreciate the direct connection between those principles and their material and spiritual welfare. They will strive to pass those principles on from one generation to the next.” [12]

Economic philosophy

Reed is an advocate for what is recognized as the Austrian School of economics. His writing career, as well as his occupational affiliations, have been dedicated to advancing free societies via recognizable Austrian credos such as spontaneous order of pricing systems, voluntary contractual agreements, and limited government intervention in all aspects of life.[13] Austrian economists champion free enterprise and competition – something Reed has referred to as one of the highest and most beneficial forms of human cooperation[14] – and believe human interaction and the human condition are the true dictators of how societies are formed, and how they will perform.


Reed's 2012 book is A Republic – If We Can Keep It, is a collection of essays by Reed and historian Burton W. Folsom, Jr. that surveys the economic history of the United States and the modern world.[15]

Another of Reed's books is Striking the Root: Essays on Liberty, a bundling of works previously published in FEE's magazine, The Freeman. The essays zero in on what Reed identifies as the chief root of many America's burdens: the failure of the its people to recognize that, in order to survive and have influence, governments must use force.[16]

Reed's other books include Lessons from the Past: The Silver Panic of 1893, and Private Cures for Public Ills: The Promise of Privatization, both published by the Foundation for Economic Education, and When We Are Free, with Dale M. Haywood.

Published works and interviews

Academic books (authored or coauthored)



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