Thursday Thinker: Sir Anthony Fisher

Each Thursday the AUSFL Blog will post a new short summary of an important figure in liberty, focusing on ones applicable to students at AU. For the final installment of the year: Sir Antony Fisher

Sir Antony Fisher was a true jack of all trades. In his youth he became an RAF fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain, learning first-hand what terrible governments can unleash on the world.  After the war, seeing the pro-socialist path Britain had chosen he became acquainted with F.A. Hayek, and that started him on a path that would lead to his later work. He became an entrepreneur, and then used his accrued wealth to found the Institute for Economic Affairs, one of Britain’s most important think tanks. He helped advise a number of think tanks, and to aid this created the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. And to top it all off he got knighted.

So why should you care?
Simply put, if Palmer is the modern face of the international liberty movement, Fisher was its forefather. Without Antony Fisher the international liberty think tank movement would be years behind, if not non-existent. I’d argue that no single person has done more to advance liberty than him, and many people’s lives would either be much worse or not exist had he not devoted so much time and money to the cause. Here’s hoping that one of you is the next Antony Fisher.

If you read only one thing…
Check out the IEA paper "Waging the War of Ideas" by John Blundell, or check out his profile on the Atlas website ( for the full story. While you’re there, look at how far it’s come by checking out the directory ( of think tanks across the world.

Extra Credit
Because I didn’t have a chance to do a profile on him, take a look at the work of Manuel Ayau, whom Fisher would have had great pride for. This article describes him well.

Next week:
Summer, where you’ll hopefully be applying to one of the many conferences and activities posted on the Students For Liberty website!

Each Thursday the AUSFL Blog will post a new short summary of an important figure in liberty, focusing on ones applicable to students at AU. Next up, Tom Palmer

Tom G Palmer is the Executive Vice President for International Programs at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. He is one of the most well known speakers in the  international movement for liberty, and travels extensively throughout the year. On top of this, he’s also written one of 
the most seminal books on liberty in the modern era Realizing Freedom: The Theory, History, 

and Practice of Liberty (Note: If you’re interested in reading it, AUSFL has a number of copies 
floating around).

So why should you care?
You’re at AU, a school which touts itself as an “international” university, and if you’re reading 
this you like liberty. Palmer is the face of liberty to a large number of people worldwide, having 

worked with think tanks and individuals from Egypt, Kyrgyzstan and Nepal to London and DC 

He’s the kind of individual who gives hope to people in places that are far less free than the US, 
where the consequences of speaking out are far worse than some dirty looks and rude comments. 

If you’re looking to work with the international liberty movement, he’s the person to learn from.

If you read only one thing…

Realizing Freedom is an amazing text. I’m not one to recommend books because they tend to get 
long and tedious, but this one is worth the time you put in. It digs right into the ideas, and makes 

sure you know why they’re important.

Extra Credit

Watch some videos on the Atlas Network website: (
freedom-champions/ ) to learn about all the goings on with the liberty movement abroad.

Next week

Sir Antony Fisher, the perfect person to end the term on.

Each Thursday the AUSFL Blog will post a new short summary of an important figure in liberty, focusing on ones applicable to students at AU. Next up, Frederic Bastiat:

 Don't let the stuffy cravat fool you, Bastiat was the original snarky economist

Frederic Bastiat was a French classical liberal economist, writer, and thinker. His greatest work is titled What is Seen and What is Not Seen. That book was one of the first real origins of the idea of unintended consequences. 

So why should you care?
He popularized the fallacy of the broken broken window fallacy and is one of the liberty movement’s great forefathers.  Bastiat’s pieces like The Negative Railroad and the Candlemaker’s Petition are great works of satire, especially thinking that he was writing entirely before 1850. The idea of making change through satire and popular analogies can be seen to this day, and can be traced as far back as his writing.

On untended consequences, the idea is one of the most important concepts of economic thought, and was further expanded by Henry Hazlitt in Economics in One Lesson. On top of that, it’s highly applicable to the poli sci, IR, or  other social science field you’re probably studying. For poli sci, you have to look at whether a law will do more than what it is intended once enacted. In IR, and especially development, it’s important to make sure what you’re doing isn’t hurting those you’re trying to help.

If you read only one thing…
The Economics of Freedom: What Your Professor Won't Tell You, produced by Students For Liberty and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. It’s a great collection of his most important writings, condensed into a convenient book. Can't wait for the book? Check out free, easy to read, and online version of The Bastiat Collection

Extra Credit
For some definite laughs, write a satirical op-ed in the same vain as he did and submit it to a newspaper. It’s a fun way to spread the ideas of good economic thinking. 

Next week
Tom Palmer

Each Thursday the AUSFL Blog will post a new short summary of an important figure in 
focusing on ones applicable to students at AU. Next up, Ayn Rand


Ayn Rand was a Russian-American author who did her main writing in the 1940s and  

Her two main books, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are among the bestselling  novels in 
the last few years with the economic crash. She also wrote a number of other books, including 

Anthem, and We the Living. Her writing and ideas draw on her experiences during and just after 

the Russian Revolution, as seen in the clear anti-collectivist themes in each of her novels.

So why should you care?

She’s influential, that’s why. Atlas Shrugged is considered to be one of the more influential
books among major businessmen. Not only that, but the book’s wide popularity has surged
recently, as the novel’s dystopian concepts seem to get more real each year. Also, Objectivism, 

her philosophy has clearly influenced the liberty movement in many ways. To understand liberty 

and the liberty movement, it’s important to understand Randian  philosophy; it’s as simple as that.

Objectivist writers are also an interesting read, so check out The Atlas Society or the Ayn Rand 

Institute for more information.

If you read only one thing…

Contrary to what most people will tell you, if you only read 1 Rand book, make it Anthem. It’s 

far shorter (albeit less meaningful) than The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and it’s a nice 
easy read. Its commentary on the concept of individualism and government is great, and much 
less dense than the great speeches of the later books.

Extra Credit

See Atlas Shrugged Part 1 at the E Street Cinema! Directions here.
 Or the Regal in Bethesda! Directions here. Or, best yet, the Regal in Ballston, a little further, but AUSFL will be trekking out there already. Facebook event here. Released tomorrow, it’s worthwhile.

Next week:

Frederic Bastiat


Each Thursday the AUSFL Blog will post a new short summary of an important figure in liberty, focusing on ones applicable to students at AU. Next up, Tyler Cowen


Tyler Cowen is an economist at George Mason University. He got his PhD from Harvard after doing undergrad at George Mason. He also does work in the Center for Public Choice. His work centers on the economics of culture, and he’s a well-known, to use his term, “infovore”. His interests are wide, from art and music to general culture and, most importantly, food. This man is living proof that economists have lives outside of the ivory tower.
So why should you care?

Aside from his proper economics he matters for two reasons: his blog and his ethnic dining guide. The Ethic Dining Guide ( is one of the best guides to food in the city. Definitely a great resource if you’re going into the city and don’t know where to do dinner.

The most important reason to care, though, is his blog, Marginal Revolution (which he writes with co-author Alex Tabarrok. MR is one of the most influential and well-read economics blogs of the internet, and deservedly so. Its topics range from more heavy economics to light-hearted pieces. His Assorted Links posts are really interesting, and showcase a broad range of interesting articles from sources across the web and across the world.

If you read only one thing…

If you read only one (more) thing…

He released a short, 15,000 word essay for Kindle (and other mobile) format called The Great Stagnation, one of the hottest economics pieces out there.

Extra Credit

His text book is a really great resource for learning economics. If you’re struggling with a topic in your class, go and check it out of the library, it’ll almost certainly straighten things out. 

Next week:
Ayn Rand 


Each Thursday the AUSFL Blog will post a new short summary of an important figure in liberty, focusing on ones applicable to students at AU. Next up, William Easterly.


William (Bill) Easterly is a development economist working at New York University, and works in the NYU Development Research Institute (DRI). He previously worked at the World Bank, before leaving for his present post. He’s from a self-admittedly Midwestern, rural background in the heart of the US Rust Belt, which he references regularly in posts at Aid Watch ( His blog is one of the most important development blogs out there (Pro Tip: If you’re in SIS and are reading this post, you should be reading Aid Watch as well).

So why should you care?

Think battle of the titans except with in economic development. In one corner you have Easterly, and in the other Jeffrey Sachs. The former advocates bottom-up development, spurred on by entrepreneurs who he calls “searchers” and the latter advocates top-down, goal oriented development driven by what Easterly refers to as “planners”. If you take development economics at AU, this is the lens you’re learning it through. On top of that, he cuts to the core of how development works, entrepreneurs looking for new ways to make a living. Also, even more prominently is how he critiques “pop development” with the likes of Bono attempting to help in places they simply don’t understand.

If you read only one thing…

While Aid Watch is an excellent blog, to really get at Easterly you’ll need to check out his book

The White Man’s Burden, available in the AU library. It’s all worth a read but the first chapter puts it all in perspective.

Extra Credit:

Well I’m a little bit late but your chance to see him in person was last week when he spoke at AU.

Next week:

Tyler Cowen

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