Supporter Tucker Andersen: Economic understanding is vital to national security

March 31, 2011  |  DONOR SPOTLIGHT

IWP supporter K. Tucker Andersen for years has had a passionate interest in economics, a field recognized by IWP as integrally connected with national security.  

Tucker, who is a retired portfolio manager and security analyst, shares IWP's philosophy on this connection, particularly in the recognition of the fact that economic strength can mitigate threats to a nation and the need for the use of force.  

In his view, the better a nation's economic policies, the wealthier its citizenry will be and the less reason there will be for it to engage in aggression.  He believes that free markets promote both higher economic achievement, as well as increased opportunity for people to pursue their own goals in civil society.  If prosperous nations can adjudicate disputes using the rule of law, there will be an increased probability of their peaceful coexistence.  

Leadership, power, and dissent

A longtime leader of many corporations and nonprofits, Tucker has some observations  to offer future statesmen based on his experience in matters of communication, substance, and style. He advises, "Always do what you think you will enjoy doing if you possibly get the chance to do it, even if it is a lower paid or less powerful position.  You will be much more effective, and ultimately happier."  Mr. Andersen, who changed his career at age 26, has never regretted that he did so.

He also counsels, "Don't be afraid to join an organization that values diversity of opinion, and whose leaders would rather engage in informed debate and examine differences than simply strive to achieve a lowest common denominator consensus.  Initial disagreement is often more likely to lead to a productive discussion and a better decision in the end."  

In fact, he asserts that, "If I were in a position of power, I would have as a second in power someone who often disagrees with my positions.  If I were President, I would appoint a cabinet secretary, and a shadow secretary - one with a differing opinion.  You have to be willing to move forward without consensus." The creation of an environment which encourages disagreement and informed dissent, he recognizes, is not always easy to achieve, especially in the military and other organizations that promote respect for authority.  

Tucker speaks from personal experience.  He helped implement a governance shift involving an educational institution from a hierarchical structure to a group governance model which involved all interested constituencies - a structure in which responsibility was dispersed to the members with the relevant expertise and they were trusted with greater responsibility. 

A long-time supporter

Tucker laments that there are many leaders in our country who do not understand the field of economics.  This ignorance, he explains, encompasses both a misunderstanding of economic theory in general, as well as a lack of entrepreneurial experience.  It has led to many poor political decisions with regard to national security.

It is his hope and the goal of our school that all of our future leaders will achieve an understanding of economic statecraft.  And it's why he began supporting IWP.  After meeting IWP President John Lenczowski through a mutual friend, Mr. Andersen was impressed by his "articulateness, dedication, and fresh viewpoints."  He made a "venture capital investment" in IWP many years ago, and has found that the payout has been "multifold."  He has been supporting IWP ever since.

K. Tucker Andersen is a retired portfolio manager and security analyst and the sole proprietor of the consulting firm Above All Advisors, LLC. He also serves as chairman of Artificial Cell Technologies, a biotechnology-nanotechnology venture stage firm. Mr. Andersen was previously co-Managing Partner and Chief Investment Strategist for Cumberland Associates. He is on the boards of the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics, the Cato Institute, Wesleyan University, GOPAC, the Questech Corporation, the Foundation for the Advancement of Monetary Education, and the Warren (CT) Congregational Church. While retired from his position as vice president of the board of the Phillips Exeter Academy, he still serves as a member of Exeter's investment committee, which he formerly chaired, and is the recipient of Exeter's Founder's Day Award. He received his B.A. in Quantitative Studies from Wesleyan University and is the recipient of Wesleyan's Distinguished Alumnus Award. Tucker is also a long distance runner who has completed 35 New York City Marathons. He and his wife Karen have been married since 1963 and have two adult daughters, Heather and Kristen.