PERC was created in 1980 by a handful of economists who began by asking the question, "If markets can produce bread and cars, why can't they produce environmental quality?" Since its founding, PERC has moved from being a voice in the wilderness (both literally and figuratively) to holding a prominent place on the environmental policy stage. Today, mainstream thinking has come much closer to PERC's philosophy. "Free market environmentalists are pushing against an open door," says David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
The next step in PERC's growth is PERC University, a place where professionals from many fields can gather to exchange ideas and explore new prospects for free market environmentalism. A series of scholarly workshops have brought together journalists, economists, scientists, policy makers for vigorous debate and discussion of new ideas.