The Bastiat Society began in 2004 when Walter LeCroy (physicist and founder of LeCroy Industries) and Ben Rast (Senior V.P. of the Rast Group) hosted a symposium on globalization. The symposium was a success, and a semi-regular discussion group began at Walter’s home in Charleston, South Carolina. Over the next six years, these meetings became more regular and grew in size.
By 2010, the Bastiat Society was hosting monthly meetings in Charleston featuring academics and think-tank leaders from around the world. The Society launched a successful membership program and had a surplus of excellent speakers.
Ben Rast and Brad DeVos met Surse Pierpoint at a Liberty Fund conference in 2011. Surse immediately realized that his discussion group at the Fundacion Libertad in Panama City, Panama was very similar to the Bastiat Society in Charleston. Seeing an advantage to networking and co-branding, he decided to call his monthly meetings “Bastiat Society Meetings.” During that same weekend, the Bastiat Society chapter-based model developed and Brad DeVos accepted the role of executive director soon thereafter.
By 2107, the Bastiat Society network had grown to over 25 chapters and was acquired by the American Institute for Economic Research to become a central program of that organization.
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