Fraser Institute invites journalists to learn more about its brand of economics

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      The Fraser Institute is rolling out the red carpet to journalists interested in becoming second-hand dealers of Friedrich Hayek's ideas.

      Hayek was an Austrian and British free-market economist who inspired the plethora of right-wing think tanks across North America.

      The Fraser Institute was one of the earliest, opening its doors in Vancouver in 1974.

      In 2012, the think tank revised its educational program for journalists. Since then, it has enrolled more than 150 of them to learn more about labour markets, the national debt, government budgets, and other economic issues. In May, it will host three more four-day sessions—one in Vancouver and two in Toronto. 

      The Fraser Institute recently sent an invitation to journalists offering full bursaries, which cover the cost of travel, meals, and accommodation. The registration deadline is January 18.

      Few, if any, of those who enroll will have read adjunct SFU communications professor Donald Gutstein's 2014 book, Harperism: How Stephen Harper and His Think Tank Colleagues Have Transformed Canada. In it, he exposed how Hayek and his acolytes promoted the growth of public-policy research institutes to advance a right-wing agenda.

      Fraser Institute economists have in the past been vigorous opponents of a minimum wage and rent controls. Gutstein noted in his book that Hayek asserted that society "must live with inequality because government intervention to reduce it will make things worse".

      One of the keys, in Hayek's view, was to recruit people whom he called "second-hand dealers" to disseminate his market-oriented ideology.

      Reporters and columnists were among those who could advance the cause.

      Of course, there's no mention of Hayek in the Fraser Institute's recent offer to journalists.