Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment
|Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment|
The Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment (FREE) is a U.S. based think tank which works on questions of economics and environment. FREE was founded by John Baden in 1985. In a previous incarnation FREE was known as the Political Economy Research Centre (PERC) from 1982-85, and before that it was part of Montana State University, in the Center for Political Economy and Natural Resources. The Centre was obviously politically controversial, and FREE claims they were the victims of academic turf wars:
'Some commodity groups were outraged that "their" University would harbor these outspoken critics of crony capitalism. And a generation ago, many Greens had more than a tinge of pink. They were livid that a bunch of libertarian economists had trespassed into their domain and claimed the intellectual, ethical, and ecological environmental high ground.' 
Those associated with FREE claim to have played a key role in pioneering the 'New Resource Economics' and they carefully position themselves as not being in the pocket of big business:
'FREE has consistently fought corporate subsidies (see “A Welfare Act for U.S. Oil” and “Spare that Tree”) fostering exploitation and strongly advocates such efforts as wolf reintroduction to the federal lands of the West. The intellectually naïve confuse FREE’s classical liberal, pro-market process orientation with that advocated by supporters of a subsidized, pro-business position that exploits the environment'