OUR STORY

We believe in the dedication of our team, the ideas of our partners, and the
commitment from our donors to have a tremendous impact on the
worldwide freedom movement.

OUR VISION

Our vision is of a free, prosperous and peaceful world where limited governments defend the rule of law, private property and free markets.

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to strengthen the worldwide freedom movement by identifying, training, and supporting individuals with the potential to found and develop effective independent organizations that promote our vision in every country.

OUR APPROACH

We aim to cultivate, support, and inspire potential and existing free-market organization partners around the world. Currently Atlas Network serves more than 400 partners in over 80 countries worldwide.

OUR BEGINNINGS

A firm believer in the impact of independent think tanks, Antony Fisher founded the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in 1981.

Antony Fisher never knew his father. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet in Gaza during World War I when Antony was two-years old. Antony and his brother Basil served as pilots in the Royal Air Force in World War II, part of “the few” in Winston Churchill’s memorable phrase about the Battle of Britain: “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.”

“Without Fisher, no IEA; without the IEA and its clones, no Thatcher and quite possibly no Reagan; without Reagan, no Star Wars; without Star Wars, no economic collapse of the Soviet Union. Quite a chain of consequences for a chicken farmer!”

After victory came at last in the war against Germany’s National Socialism, Fisher was distraught to see the British people elect a Labor Party government that set the country on a socialist course: nationalizing industries and using central planning to run the economy. He came across an abridged edition of F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, which posits that central planning inevitably erodes individual liberty and enables tyranny. Fisher was motivated to seek out Hayek, who was then teaching at the London School of Economics. Fisher told Hayek that he agreed with every word in the book, and was going to go into politics to save Britain from socialism.

Several years later, after achieving success as an entrepreneur (creating the first factory-style chicken farm in Britain), Fisher decided the most effective way to act on Hayek’s advice would be by establishing an independent research institute that would bring innovative, market-based perspectives to issues of public policy. In 1955, he founded the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, which gradually gained credibility and laid the intellectual groundwork for what later became the Thatcher Revolution.

Fisher lived in San Francisco in 1981 when, with the help of his second wife Dorian, he founded the Atlas Economic Research Foundation to institutionalize this process of helping start up new think tanks. Friends like Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and Margaret Thatcher applauded the idea of replicating the IEA model far and wide.

Fisher died in 1988, just weeks after being honored with knighthood by Queen Elizabeth. British MP, Oliver Letwin later commented on the incredible influence of this RAF pilot turned chicken farming entrepreneur turned think tank pioneer: “Without Fisher, no IEA; without the IEA and its clones, no Thatcher and quite possibly no Reagan; without Reagan, no Star Wars; without Star Wars, no economic collapse of the Soviet Union. Quite a chain of consequences for a chicken farmer!”

OUR IMPACT

In its first three decades, Atlas Network has played a role in the work of numerous market-oriented public policy organizations all over the world: the Manhattan Institute in New York, the National Center for Policy Analysis in Texas, Instituto Libertad y Democracia in Peru, the Acton Institute in Michigan, Fundación Libertad in Argentina, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute, Instituto Libertad y Desarrollo in Chile, the Centre for Civil Society in India, Istituto Bruno Leoni in Italy, and the Association for Liberal Thinking in Turkey, among others.

Each of these organizations has a remarkable story to tell about changing public opinion on key topics among its target audience.

Today, the Atlas Network connects more than 400 think tanks in 80+ countries. Each is writing its own story of how principled work to affect public opinion, on behalf of the ideas of a free society, can better individuals’ lives.

While the think tank movement has grown significantly over recent years, the spirit of Atlas Network’s work stays true to Antony Fisher’s vision. To win the long-term policy battles that will shape history, we need freedom champions to create credible institutes – well-managed and independent of vested interests – that use sound business practices to advance sound public policy ideas.

Atlas Network is not endowed and it does not accept government funding. It does not support political candidates or parties, or otherwise involve itself in partisan politics.

We are grateful to those generous individuals, philanthropies, and businesses that entrust us with financial resources to build a greater public consensus around the ideas of a free society by advancing the Atlas Network mission.

To learn more about Atlas Network, watch this short video.

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT ANTONY FISHER?
Purchase “Antony Fisher: Champion of Liberty,” by Gerald Frost from Amazon. Read the condensed version of Frost’s biography of Atlas Network founder Antony Fisher here.

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT ATLAS NETWORK PARTNERS?
Purchase “Freedom Champions: Stories from the Front Lines of the Battle of Ideas,” published by Atlas in 2011 during its 30th anniversary year. It contains chapters written by 30 think tank leaders on their work advancing liberty, as well as an introduction and epilogue by Atlas Network CEO Brad Lips.

ATLASNETWORK WORLD10 NEWSLETTER

The Atlas Network newsletter features the top 10 happenings
around the world in the global freedom movement showcasing
the work of Atlas Network partners.