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Founder of Reason Magazine and the Reason Foundation
Robert W. Poole, Jr.


Advocates for Self-Government, Board of Advisors
Independent Institute, Research Fellow
Reason Foundation, Founder, President 1978-2000, Board of Trustees
Eris Society, 2001, "Taxation in the Global Cybereconomy"

Web Pages

Robert Poole | Reason Foundation
Includes picture, biographical summary and links to commentaries and writings
Robert Poole is director of transportation policy and Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow at Reason Foundation. ... Robert Poole co-founded the Reason Foundation with Manny Klausner and Tibor Machan in 1978, and served as its president and CEO from then until the end of 2000. He was a member of the Bush-Cheney transition team in 2000. Over the years, he has advised the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations on privatization and transportation policy. Poole is credited as the first person to use the term 'privatization' to refer to the contracting-out of public services ...


40 Years of Free Minds and Free Markets, by Brian Doherty, Reason, Dec 2008
The history of Reason magazine as related to Doherty by Reason Enterprises founders, editors and other staffers
Robert W. Poole Jr.: I got a job, in order to avoid the draft, with a defense contractor, Sikorsky Aircraft in Connecticut, and started working as an engineer. I hardly knew anybody who had similar ideas, so I was desperate to read things of a libertarian or Objectivist flavor. In 1968, in some newsletter or other, I saw a classified ad for reason, which was at about its third issue. I sent in a buck or two bucks and subscribed, and found that despite it being mimeographed and amateurish, the writing was pretty good.
Robert W. Poole, Jr. - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
Biographical profile published by The Daily Objectivist; discusses the effects of airline deregulation and the solution proposed by Poole, with some background on the Reason Foundation and Reason magazine
Enter Bob Poole, quondam engineer, 'gradualist' libertarian radical par excellence, and head honcho of the Reason Foundation that Poole along with Tibor Machan and Manny Klausner established in the late 70s. ... Poole's very first article for Reason had dealt with airline deregulation, and that remains one of his premier areas of expertise. He was among the first to propose the privatization of air traffic control ... Thanks to Bob Poole, the friendly skies may be getting a little bit friendlier. And thanks to Poole ... the Leviathan State just might get chipped down to size.
Related Topic: Deregulation
Total Victory: How Sweet It Is!, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Libertarian Forum, 1983
Lengthy account and commentary on the 1983 Libertarian Party presidential convention
But the Craniacs were able to snare one important right-winger, Robert Poole, Jr., editor of Reason magazine. Poole, though formerly an enemy of the Machine, and whose now defunct frontlines was a leading architect of its overthrow, had long been looking for a less pure, broad-based, big name candidate, Libertarian Party ... he fell hook, line, and sinker for the Unity Scam ... Saturday night is traditionally the big banquet after the Presidential nomination ... Earl Ravenal, however, was there to his great credit, as was Bob Poole, greatly distressed to see the extent to which the cry for unity had proved to be a hoax and a scam.


Bob Poole Remembers Tibor Machan, A Fellow Founding Co-Editor of Reason Magazine, 25 Mar 2016
Memorial essay, highlighting Machan's life, his involvement with Reason and the Reason Foundation, and some of his writings
On March 24, Tibor Machan—co-founder of Reason Foundation—died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his children, after a short illness. The libertarian community has lost one of its most prolific writers and thinkers. Tibor was born in Budapest in 1939. He was such an individualist, that he already loathed Communism as a young teenager ...
Several months ago we talked by phone, and I told him about early planning for Reason's 50th anniversary celebrations in 2018. We joked about him needing to take good care of himself so that he could be part of those events. Sadly, that was not to be.
Fixing Airport Security, Intellectual Ammunition, 1 Nov 2001
Published shortly before the establishment of the Transportation Security Administration, recommends that U.S. airport security be handled the way it has been done in Europe, and Heathrow in particular, by turning airports into business enterprises
The September 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center have forced us to rethink the issue of airport security. ... Some observers have called for creating a federal service to take over most, if not all, airport security functions. ... The FAA should establish outcome-based security requirements, and make each airport operator solely responsible for compliance. Airports that flunk should face hugely increased financial penalties ... If the FAA can yank the operating certificate of an airline that doesn't measure up on safety compliance, why not hold airports accountable in the same way?
HOT Networks: A New Plan for Congestion Relief and Better Transit [PDF], 6 May 2003
Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, discussing high-occupancy toll lanes combined with bus rapid transit systems
The focus of my comments today is a potential breakthrough idea for addressing the transportation needs of America's large urban areas. These areas are plagued by traffic congestion. The latest report from the Texas Transportation Institute estimated that the cost of congestion in the largest 75 urban areas is $68 billion per year in lost time and wasted fuel. ... it's essential to create true value pricing, in which people pay only if they get something much better in exchange for paying. That's what HOT Networks offer drivers ... giving them congestion insurance across the entire freeway system.
Obstruction of Justice, by Robert Poole, Jr., Michigan Privatization Report, 1997
Discusses U.S. federal policies that prevent or work against lower-level governments privatizing the "services" they provide
Cities, counties, and states have significantly increased their use of privatization over the past decade. But a great many privatization opportunities remain unrealized due to federal laws and regulations. There are four principal types of federal barriers: labor-protection provisions, tax code provisions, regulatory barriers, and federal grant provisions ... Mayors and governors have become more aware of the crippling impact of these federal laws and regulations over the past few years. The 105th Congress presents an opportunity to clear away some of these obstacles to privatization.
Related Topics: Taxation, Transportation
Reason 35th Anniversary Banquet Remarks, 5 Nov 2003
Remembrances of 35 years, focusing on Reason magazine and the Reason Foundation, but also contrasting the late 1960s to the early 2000s in terms of both technology and government intervention
Since this is a major anniversary, David asked me to say a few words about the history of this enterprise that we're celebrating tonight ... Back in 1968, just out of grad school, I started subscribing to a mimeographed magazine called Reason, started by a journalism student at BU ...
To close on a personal note, I want to assure you that I have no intention of slacking off ... in my current role ... I'm working harder—and more effectively—than ever before. After 25 years full-time in the freedom movement, I'm looking forward to another 25 years of doing battle for a free society.
U.S. Airport Privatization Slowly Takes Off, by Adrian T. Moore, Robert W. Poole, Jr., Intellectual Ammunition, 1 Sep 1999
Discusses one completed and two potential airport privatization deals under a 1996 pilot program in the U.S. (Note: the Stewart Airport 99-year lease was sold back after seven years)
On January 25, New York State submitted to the FAA its final application to privatize Stewart Airport. The application details the terms of the 99-year lease with National Express Group, the U.K. airport, rail, and bus operator that won the bidding for Stewart last spring. ... So far, efforts to privatize have been most successful at smaller airports. In June, COMARCO Airport Services took over the operations of Altoona-Blair County Airport in Pennsylvania on a five-year basis. ... Altoona is COMARCO's twelfth airport, making it the largest U.S. operator of general aviation airports.
Related Topic: New York


Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, by David Gordon, The Mises Review, Dec 2007
Critical and (self-admittedly) "unfair review" of Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism (2007)
[Doherty] says that Robert Poole "sums up the most charitable [sic] current assessment of Rothbard in most mainstream libertarian institutions outside the Mises Institute ..." ... Poole's assessment is that although Rothbard "was important, particularly in the 1970s" and one "had to respect his energy, his intellect, his skill with words, and some aspects of his vision," nevertheless "I [Poole] thought then [in the 70s] and thought more as time went on that he was a very divisive figure and a negative influence" ... So much for charity.


Interview with Robert Poole, by Robert W. Poole, Jr., Karen Minto, William Minto, Full Context, May 1999
Topics discussed range from Poole's early influences, Ayn Rand, getting interested in policy analysis, the Goldwater campaign, the LP, Reason Foundation, the professionals who helped him the most and his passion for privatization
Q: Tell us where you grew up and what kinds of early influences shaped your thinking.
Poole: I grew up in Hialeah, Florida, a suburb of Miami. My parents were moderate Republicans, though politics and ideas were not much discussed at home. My interest ... was sparked by a 12th grade advanced-math teacher, Daryl Johnson ...
Poole: ... [Dr. Ken Green has] also been explaining the late Aaron Wildavsky's argument that ... it's better to rely on building up the means to cope with possible bad situations (resilience) than acting prematurely to head off the possible bad outcome (anticipation).