Many of Atlas’s partners were inspired by meeting Sir Antony Fisher in the course of their professional lives, or by reading about Fisher’s impact as one of the think-tank movement’s founding “intellectual entrepreneurs.” But Rod Richardson encountered Fisher differently, as a visitor to his parents’ Manhattan apartment in the 1970s when Rod was just a teenager.
Both Fisher and Richardson’s father, Randy, promoted the free society and were involved with what became the Manhattan Institute. They also were veterans of World War II, businessmen, and nature-enthusiasts with marine-farming enterprises. Rod recalls conversations deep into the night about these two gentlemen’s shared dream of saving the planet by farming the sea.
Fast forward three decades, and Rod is collaborating with those inspired by Fisher’s legacy. Atlas has launched a “New Ideas Challenge” in collaboration with Richardson’s 21st Centrist Web Forum.
This collaboration sprang from a discussion at the 2009 Atlas Experience. Rod delivered a presentation on “Green Energy Tax Cuts,” a proposal to apply supply-side tax incentives to foster alternative energy innovations. He argued that such a proposal might replace more onerous government interventions in the energy sector. Ken Malloy of the Center for Study of Carbon and Energy Markets applied his institution’s “Ecoviergy Index” and offered a generally positive analysis of Rod’s plan.
Atlas’s “New Ideas Challenge” builds on this experience by extending research grants to scholars and institutes that explore and refine new policy ideas that are generated or discussed at the 21st Centrist Web Forum.
This modern approach marries the Internet’s potential for “crowd-sourcing” (harnessing unfettered conversation to produce new policy ideas) with the scholarly know-how of those in the Atlas network who can refine and promote the strongest of these policy proposals.