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Discussion Questions

by Foundation for Economic Education

1. What do you think about the author’s claim that not a single person on the face of the earth has the knowledge required to make an ordinary pencil?

2. Even if you did have the knowledge to make a pencil, would you spend your time doing so? Why or why not?

3. How is it possible that you can buy a pencil for less than a quarter from your local store when it requires resources from around the globe and inputs from countless people to create?

EoE: 6.1.A - I, Pencil - The Movie

Leonard E. Read (1898–1983) established the Foundation for Economic Education in 1946. For the next 37 years he served as FEE’s president and labored tirelessly to promote and advance liberty. He was a natural leader who, at a crucial moment in American history, roused the forces defending individual freedom and private property. Read was the author of 29 books and hundreds of essays. “I, Pencil,” his most famous essay, was first published in 1958. Although a few of the manufacturing details and place names have changed, the principles endure. This video is included as part of a 40-lesson course on the Economics of Entrepreneurship available now for teachers and students at no charge at

from I, Pencil - The Movie (2016)
Creator: Competitive Enterprise Institute
Posted by Foundation for Economic Education