Fisher Awards Recognize Best Think Tank Publications

Published on 29th April 2008

Atlanta,GA,April 25, 2008

At its annual Liberty Forum, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation announced the winners of the 2008 Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Awards, which honor think tank publications that have made the greatest contributions to the public understanding of the free society.

This year’s Fisher Awards were presented to the Center for Politiske Studier, Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia, Independent Institute, Institute of Public Affairs, and Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Center for Politiske Studier, Copenhagen, Denmark
Winner in the “Young Institutes” Category The Origins of Wealth by David Gress
Borgens Forlag, City Copenhagen Denmark, 2007

The Origins of Wealth describes freedom as the fundamental building block from which prosperity flows. It makes the case for freedom, not only as a “right,” but as the condition that best allows  people to develop traits of virtue, rationality, and creativity.

Observing that Denmark must nourish its sources of wealth so they aren’t depleted, the Center for Politiske Studier (CEPOS) set the task of finding the origins of wealth, and explaining this to a wider audience in order to bring about a shift in the intellectual debate.

The Origins of Wealth has become a national bestseller, praised in reviews as a bold and innovative intellectual approach to controversial issues.  Since its launch in May 2007, it has been republished in a second edition to meet public demand.  

A Fisher Award judge remarked, “The Origins of Wealth is a very well-written, original, accessible and stimulating book with a wide potential audience in Denmark as well as in other countries. It explains the origins of wealth in terms of the historical evolution of culture, norms and institutions, in particular private property rights, free trade and state pluralism.  A very good winner.”

Sharing top recognition in the Young Institutes category, CEPOS receives a $5,000 prize.

Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia, West Virginia, USA
Winner in the “Young Institutes” Category
Unleashing Capitalism by Russell S. Sobel
Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia, WV, United States, 2007

Covering a broad range of issues – revamping the tax code, judicial selection, strategy for economic growth, education, property rights, eliminating government waste and burdensome regulatory system – author Russell Sobel demonstrates that free market solutions can make West Virginia more dynamic and prosperous.

A Fisher Award judge remarked, “This book outlines the theoretical basis for a free market economy and to an unusually high degree succeeds in showing how these principles can be employed to explain the West Virginian predicament, as well as pointing to the concrete reform proposals in the book.”

Sharing first prize in the Young Institutes category, the Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia receives a $5,000 prize.

Independent Institute, California, USA
Winner in the “Established Institutes” Category Street Smart by Gabriel Roth
Transaction Publishers, NJ, United States, 2006

The truly path-breaking book Street Smart systematically examines private, market-based alternatives for road services, both in theory and practice. The book explores numerous possible directions for private services, such as testing and licensing vehicles and drivers, management of government-owned road facilities, franchising, and outright private ownership. The book further traces the history of private roads in Great Britain and the United States, and examines contemporary examples of entrepreneurial innovation in road pricing, privatization, and marketization in environs as diverse as Singapore, California, Ghana, Norway, and England.

A Fisher Award judge remarked, “This is a major anthology dedicated to the idea of private roads, one of the most important applications of free market principles. It does a superb job of advancing the public understanding of these principles, through ample illustrations. The fact that everyone is familiar with the problems associated with public funding of highways in particular and roads in general makes it easier for people to appreciate the arguments presented in these articles.”

As the winner in the Established Institutes category, the Independent Institute receives a $5,000 prize. 

Institute of Public Affairs, Melbourne, Australia
Winner in the “Best Magazines” Category
IPA Review

In its 60th year, the IPA Review is one of the world’s oldest free market magazines with a proud history of providing clear, analytical commentary from some of Australia’s and World’s most free thinking minds. The IPA Review is often controversial because it presents ideas that are not regularly presented in the mainstream media.  Published quarterly, the magazine has a small but loyal subscriber which continues to grow. 

Amongst those who read the IPA Review are some of Australia’s most prominent politicians, journalists and business minds. Sales of the magazine over the counter are also increasing as they aim to constantly boost the magazines circulation so that free thinking ideas can reach as many people as possible. To celebrate its 60th birthday, the IPA Review had a full make-over, reformatting its style and increasing its content. 

IPA receives a $2,000 prize as the winner of the Best Magazines Award.

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Michigan, USA
Winner in the “Innovative Projects” Category
Students for a Free Economy

Special Innovative Project Award Mackinac’s “Students for a Free Economy” multimedia project has taken a thoroughly modern approach to the task of enticing Michigan college students to learn about free market ideas. The program recognizes that America’s youth have long passed the point of excitement over most “new media”; after all, they have grown up with CDs and DVDs, and they have watched these media get left in the dust by MP3s and YouTube.

Projects in the SFE portfolio have included: a Economic Freedom and Human Prosperity booklet; the Vive La Liberte blog; postcard invitations to join SFE; a line of original T-Shirts; “I Party with Economic Models” frisbees; “Because Freedom Needs a Young Voice” stickers; SFE business cards; as well as SFE writing contests that have generated dozens of free-market articles in campus newspapers across the state.

SFE has hosted more than 25 events last summer, including Competition Makes it Better, where they took 20 students to a baseball game to celebrate the late Milton Friedman’s birthday and the value of competition; two colloquia; booths with iPod raffles; free market book fairs.  A Fisher Award judge remarked, “The Mackinac Center’s project addresses an absolutely crucial group of people – young students.  In the future, they will possibly become multipliers as they advance to top careers.  In that sense, with regard to the focus group, the project does effectively advance public understanding of the principles of a free society. In the nicely designed booklet, e.g., the project provides brief, reliable summaries of the core principles and values of a free society. All the media that the Center uses convey the impression that these principles are of top relevance.”  

Mackinac receives a $2,000 as the winner of the Special Innovative Projects Award.

The Atlas Economic Research Foundation has been supporting independent think tanks that support the free society for more than 27 years.  Atlas currently works with more than 250 think tanks in 80 countries. More than half of these organizations were assisted in their formative years by Atlas through financial support or advisory services. The Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Awards were named in honor of Atlas’s late founder, who believed independent think tanks can play a crucial role in improving the public understanding of freedom. Atlas relies upon an independent panel of prestigious judges to select each year’s winning publications. For more information about the program and this year’s winners, please contact Atlas’s Director of Program Management, Yiqiao Xu, at 703-934-6969.

Many thanks to the Judges on the Selection Committee of the 2008 Fisher Awards!

  • Nigel Ashford
  • Alejandro A. Chafuen
  • J.R. Clark
  • Tyler Cowen
  • Juliana Geran Pilon
  • Karen Horn
  • Nils Karlson
  • Maurice McTigue
  • Jan Arild Snoen
  • Bridgett Wagner
  • Carl-Johan Westhom
  • Bruce Yandle

For a list of all the judges who have served on the Selection Committee of the Fisher Awards, visit

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