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Dr Madsen Pirie received his first degree – an MA in History from the University of Edinburgh – in 1970. He went on to obtain a PhD in Philosophy from the Scottish university St Andrews, and later received an MPhil (Master of Philosophy degree) in Land Economy from Pembroke College, Cambridge.
Before founding the Adam Smith Institute, Pirie worked at the Republican Study Committee in the US Congress and then taught philosophy and logic at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Even only a few years after its establishment, the ASI was instrumental in forming public policy during the Thatcher era, advocating privatisation and simpler, lower taxes. As Madsen once said of the Institute, “We propose things which people regard as being on the edge of lunacy. The next thing you know, they’re on the edge of policy.”
At the Institute, Madsen was part of the influential team which pioneered privatization and the extension of market choices and incentives. His work in helping to develop the Citizen’s Charter led to his appointment to the Prime Minister’s Advisory Panel from 1991-95.
Madsen has authored several books including The Book of the Fallacy, Micropolitics, Privatization, How to Win Every Argument, 101 Great Philosophers, Blueprint for a Revolution, and Freedom 101. He also writes children’s science fiction, and with his colleague Dr Eamonn Butler he has co- authored a series of books on IQ, including The Sherlock Holmes IQ Book.