MJF 023 The 60th Anniversary of “I, Pencil”: by Leonard Read

by Michael Flight


Ipencil 1

The Best Explanation for Free Markets and why Socialism Never Works

I, Pencil: The Movie

Sixty years ago the short story ‘I, Pencil was written by Leonard Read and published in December 1958.  This short, eloquent masterpiece is one of the greatest explanations of the free market ever written.  It demonstrates how no single person alone can make a pencil; yet you can buy a ‘Number 2 Yellow Pencil’ for 8¢ because people from all over the world contributed their ingenuity and labor to get it to you.

When you break down the manufacture of a simple little pencil to all its constituent parts and every bit of input from wood, to saws, to trucks, sourced from all over the world to quote Read “what you see is the market at work.”  The entire essay is a brilliant explanation of the phrase “the invisible hand”  used by Adam Smith to describe free market forces in his book ‘The Wealth of Nations.

Leonard Read’s main point in ‘I, Pencil’ is that economies are way too complex to be “planned” when not one single person possesses all the knowledge and skills to produce a seemingly simple, ordinary, everyday pencil. Leonard Read also shows how much worldwide cooperation is required to you make a simple little writing instrument.  And like all great ideas, other people have used other common items to replicate and demonstrate what Leonard Read so eloquently summarized. You can see the same idea in this video series on making a sandwich:

How to Make Everything: Sandwich

Mr. Reid was waging a battle for the minds of people living in the United States in the 1950s. Then, like now, people were warming to the idea of socialism. Socialism and Communism assert that things would be much better if a few really smart people in the government were to run everything.  Socialism / Communism has never, ever worked.  Where ever it has been tried financial misery, slavery and lots of killing follows in its wake.  Look at the misery in Venezuela for its most recent iteration.

The free market, with billions of individuals making their own financial decisions has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And while not perfect, the free market has allowed billions of people to live peaceful, purpose filled lives.  ‘I, Pencil’ Leonard E. Read (1898–1983) established the Foundation for Economic Education in 1946 and served as its president for 37 years.

You can get your own pdf of ‘I, Pencil’ here:


or mp3 here:

Concordia Realty is proud to support FEE.org and the excellent work they do educating young and old alike about the merits of living in a free society and the need to understand sound economics.

Michael J. Flight

Principal at Concordia Realty Corporation
CEO & Co-Founder of Liberty Real Estate Fund
Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Invest On Main
Co-Founder of Blockchain Real Estate Summit

Michael J Flight was named the Godfather of Blockchain Real Estate by Forbes Crypto Editor Dustin Plantholdt. Michael achieved that distinction by co-founding Liberty Real Estate Fund, the World’s First Net Lease Security Token FundTM and creating the Blockchain Real Estate SummitTM. More recently, Michael has co-founded Invest On Main (IOM.ai) the Real Estate & Alternative Asset marketplace of the future and AcceleratedLaw a faster, more affordable way to create and tokenize securities offerings!

Michael is a real estate entrepreneur and real estate tokenization pioneer who is an expert in retail real estate investment, redevelopment and real estate on the blockchain. He started his commercial real estate career in 1985, and then co-founded Concordia Realty Corporation in 1990, which continues to partner with some of the world’s most well-known banks, insurance companies, hedge funds and institutional investors in many successful investments.

Michael is a real estate entrepreneur and Blockchain Real Estate evangelist who is an expert in retail real estate (Shopping Centers and Single-Tenant Net-Leased) investment, redevelopment and real estate on the blockchain. He has an extensive record of value-add shopping center redevelopment and with partners Merchant Equity Group, LLC as a pioneer in de-malling (repurposing enclosed malls). Michael has been active in commercial real estate over the past 35 years.

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