Conference 2010 in Jakarta

* Originally posted on October 09, 2010.

Arrived Jakarta, Indonesia last October 6, for the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) 2010 Conference, at Sultan Hotel. Arrived with 3 other Filipinos, all academic economists — Dr. Alvin Ang (Univ. of Santo Tomas), Dr. Lawrence Dacuycuy (De La Salle Univ.) and Dr. Ernesto Pernia (Univ. of the Philippines). Ernie represents the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), Lawrence represents the Philippine Economic Society (PES), both are local partners of FNF Philippines. Alvin is sponsored by Atlas. I was also sponsored by FNF and I represent our think tank, Minimal Government Thinkers, Inc.

All four of us were either panel speakers or panel moderators. Ms. Jyoti Sachavirawong, a friend and the overall conference manager, made sure that Filipino participants will wrack a part of their brains for this conference. đŸ™‚

Migration is not exactly a “modern” phenomena, it’s an old occurence dating back before the modern man (before the homo sapiens species). It’s just that with globalization, migration and people mobility across countries and continents is becoming an ever-increasing phenomenon for many people in many countries. Adam Smith of course, is the author of the famous book, “The Wealth of Nations”, among the classic work for people who believe in individual freedom and free market.

The conference program is here, Going through the names of speakers and moderators, I think I personally know at least 1/3 of them. Some were fellow participants of the 4th Pacific Rim Policy Exchange in Sydney, Australia, last week.

This is my first time to set foot in Indonesia, so I was very excited to see the city. Jakarta’s international airport looks old — well, not the usual steel and glass structures in many modern Asian airports these days — like Manila’s terminal 1. But the Jakarta airport is big.

Jakarta’s road infrastructure is better than Manila’s. I did not see potholes on the roads, for instance. But Jakarta’s traffic is a lot worse than Manila’s. We arrived at the hotel around 3:30pm local time, meaning non-rush hour, but traffic gridlock was bad. It’s good that our taxi driver was very brave on the road, we sneaked through the gridlock by passing through the highway’s shoulder made narrow by huge trucks and thousands of cars.

Of the 10 member-countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia has the biggest population, should be about 230 million now, while the Philippines is 2nd biggest at 94 million. So comparing their capital cities, Jakarta and Manila, would make some sense. Jakarta’s population is about 20 million? Metro Manila’s is 12 million. Among the megacities of the world.

Among the old friends in our Asian liberty forum discussion yahoogroups who came here in Jakarta were — Barun, Parth and Bibek (India), Xingyuan and Jude (China), Wan and Shankaran (Malaysia), Arianto and Luthfi (Indonesia) , Minh and Ha (Vietnam), Simon (HK), Gorawut (Thailand), Carlos and Alvin (Philippines), Robin (Nepal), Seyitbek and Michu (Kyrgyztan), Jyoti (Australia-Thailand), Tom and Kelsey (US), and Alec (UK).

Aco Patunru was a big guy in the conference, he gave the welcome address in behalf of the Indonesian co-sponsors, he presented a paper in a panel discussion (I was his moderator :-)), he talked again in the plenary on the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) 2010 report, and he gave the intro message of the EFW 2010 Report Indoneian edition.

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