The following is a brief explanation of the Mackinac Center's approach to public policy, the principles that guide our work and why the term "free market" best describes our institute.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy focuses its research on economic policy, broadly defined.[*] It does not address issues like abortion, censorship and gambling. These concerns, while very important, are primarily questions of social ethics.

By gaining the support of all who recognize the importance of sound economic policy — whatever their views on social issues — we are better able to pursue a key objective: establishing a more advanced level of economic and political understanding among Michigan citizens and decision-makers. Our focus on economics draws support from market-oriented libertarians, moderates and conservatives. Mackinac Center staff, directors and scholars reflect this diversity.

Modern economic experience demonstrates overwhelmingly that the free market is a powerful engine of economic prosperity. Nations the world over are clamoring to shed the chains of central planning and unleash the creative energy of free men and women. The principles of the American Revolution — individual liberty, limited government, the free market and the rule of law — have become the dominant paradigm of enlightened society.

Today no one calls an American political research institute a "democratic" institute because it has embraced democracy over monarchy. That battle was fought long ago, and democracy is deservedly the winner. We believe that the verdict is also in concerning economic systems, and the free market has won. To play on Churchill's famous quip, the free market system is the worst type of economy, except for all the others. The Mackinac Center works to advance solutions that meet human needs while preserving the benefits of sound economic policy.

We look forward to the day when the myths and fears of free-market capitalism are dispelled, along with the misplaced faith in a benevolent, omnipotent state. By focusing on the actual problems and understanding the proper role of public and private institutions, we can give all Michigan citizens the greatest opportunity for peace, prosperity, and freedom.


[*] It is important to understand that economics is not the study of dollars and cents; it is the study of human behavior. Economics deals with how we use scarce resources to meet the needs of people in a complex society. Broadly defined, economics includes the incentives and systems used to deliver not just commodities, but also education, social assistance and other services. It also encompasses a free-market economy's vital political prerequisites, such as respect for private property, freedom of contract and the rule of law.