"In the general course of human nature, a power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will." - Alexander Hamilton
"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasions of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." - Justice Louis Brandeis
These statements by Hamilton and Brandeis are parts of a debate regarding economic freedom which has involved eminent scholars as well as political, religious, labor, and business leaders for more than two centuries. The freedom of people to pursue their economic interests is connected closely by some scholars with the very rise and fall of nations. The following questions illustrate the dimensions of this concern.
A FEW VITAL QUESTIONS:
Should trade among nations always be free?
What is the proper economic role of government - federal, state, local - in our society?
Can financial markets operate in the presence of large degrees of economic freedom?
What monetary and fiscal policies are most consistent with economic freedom?
To what extent should the law promote or constrain economic freedom?
Have the limits to freedom in private enterprise gone too far or not far enough?
What are the conditions which best generate business and social entrepreneurship?
Are labor unions consistent with economic freedom?
To what extent should economic freedom be abridged to assure a minimum of well-being in our society?
Would educational quality improve if there were greater economic freedom in its delivery?
Would the quality and distribution of health care be improved if there were greater economic freedom in its delivery?
To what extent does economic freedom conflict with and reinforce and complement other freedoms?
Do nations rise and fall because of their treatment of economic freedom?
The Economic Freedom Institute is an enterprise which catalyzes both the popular and scholarly discussion of issues related to economic freedom such as those suggested by the preceding questions. This endeavor has importance and broad scope, as these questions above surely indicate.
The tools of applied economics are well developed and well integrated into college and professional school curricula. However, the efficacy and value of public policies which promote or impinge upon economic freedom are less discussed and less well understood.
EFI provides a forum for the study, analysis, and discussion of the nature of economic freedom and its implications. It fosters the exchange and development of ideas concerning policies and programs of importance in regional, national, and international arenas. Open to a variety of viewpoints and philosophies, participants in EFI include scholars, corporate executives, and officials from labor unions, non-profit institutions, and various levels of government.
EFI's primary audience is Westchester and Fairfield counties, an area possessing a highly educated and interested population but one in which there exist few vehicles to conduct sophisticated discussions of economic liberties. EFI will assure that these counties have a place in the discussions; and representatives from private and public institutions, including secondary schools, will be invited to its functions.
Edward W. Ryan, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Manhattanville College, founded the EFI and was its first director. A member of the Manhattanville community for many years, Professor Ryan's major field of scholarly inquiry was economic freedom. He was the author of In The Words of Adam Smith: The First Consumer Advocate, published by Thomas Horton and Daughters with a foreword by William E. Simon and Liberty, Virtue and Happiness: The Story of Economic Freedom in America.
Dr. Anna Sachko Gandolfi, Ryan/Bacardi Professor of Economics Emerita is the current Director of the Institute. She has published several articles in economics and finance journals and is the co-author of "Economics As An Evolutionary Science" published by Transactions Publishers.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
ECONOMIC FREEDOM INSTITUTE
Anna Sachko Gandolfi, Ph.D., Director Manhattanville College 2900 Purchase Street Purchase, NY 10577 (914) 323-5321 Anna.Gandolfi@mville.edu