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Thread: FEE and its Supposed Lobbyist Funding (1950)

  1. #1

    FEE and its Supposed Lobbyist Funding (1950)

    I was doing my own independent research and found these two very different descriptions of the same event to be interesting.

    Libertarian Brian Doherty:

    In 1950, the Buchanan Committee, a House panel investigating lobbying efforts, found Read and his foundation positively un-American because they opposed price controls, public housing, the draft and loyalty oaths. The committee subpoenaed records, called Read to testify and ordered some of his supporters to report on which organizations they backed. One foundation funder, Southern California Edison Vice President William Mullendore, denied Congress’ right to make such a “harassing and burdensome inquiry” into his attempts to influence his government. Mullendore got away with his defiance -- but today’s campaign finance laws allow such governmental intrusion.
    Leftist Mark Ames:

    As the Buchanan Committee discovered, the Foundation for Economic Education was the best-funded conservative lobbying outfit ever known up to that time, sponsored by a Who’s Who of US industry in 1946. A partial list of FEE’s original donors in its first four years includes: The Big Three auto makers GM, Chrysler and Ford; top oil majors including Gulf Oil, Standard Oil, and Sun Oil; major steel producers US Steel, National Steel, Republic Steel; major retailers including Montgomery Ward, Marshall Field and Sears; chemicals majors Monsanto and DuPont; and other Fortune 500 corporations including General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Eli Lilly, BF Goodrich, ConEd, and more.
    Which do you think is accurate? Were Friedman and Stigler stooges for big businesses?



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  3. #2
    Whether or not this is accurate, Ames and the articles inspired by his own inaccurately describe Milton Friedman as the founder of libertarianism, and that libertarianism came into existence in the 1950s. Obviously, the ideology, and Austrian economics has been around since the late 1800s with Carl Menger (moreover, Friedman was of course a Chicagoan economist).

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by HazlittIsLit View Post

    Which do you think is accurate? Were Friedman and Stigler stooges for big businesses?
    Saw the name of the author. Didn't read. I don't consider the views of clickbait internet conspiracy theorists.

    The only time in history (that I know of) when big business wasn't hostile to libertarianism was right after WWII when there was serious debate about socialism and nationalizing industries. There were still outright socialists in mainstream economics and many believed you had to continue to have a war time economy or else the country would be back in depression. Businesses weren't a big fan of being confiscated by government so they promoted things like the Road to Serfdom and FEE.

    For example
    http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2...ary-d-day.html

    Impossible to imagine that happening today.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Krugminator2 View Post
    The only time in history (that I know of) when big business wasn't hostile to libertarianism was right after WWII when there was serious debate about socialism and nationalizing industries. There were still outright socialists in mainstream economics and many believed you had to continue to have a war time economy or else the country would be back in depression. Businesses weren't a big fan of being confiscated by government so they promoted things like the Road to Serfdom and FEE.
    That's quite true.

    Business is rarely if ever in favor of free markets, but they don't want outright socialism either; they want subsidies, cartelization, etc. It's not difficult to imagine libertarians and business interests finding themselves in a marriage of convenience, in certain circumstances. We see this today with trade; the business lobbies opposing tariffs aren't principled free-traders, but their interests happen to align them with those of us who are.
    Last edited by r3volution 3.0; 09-30-2019 at 07:19 PM.
    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

    -H. L. Mencken



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