Germany moving more to the right is good

This is not about EFN conference, rather about EFN main sponsor, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) and Germany.

Last Sunday night, September 24, I joined FNF-PH officials and other friends in watching WAHL2017 live on tv, Germany’s Bundestag/Parliamentary elections, at the German Club in Makati City. The event was jointly organized by the four German political foundations in Manila — Konrad Adenauer (KAF, affiliated with CDU), Hans Seidell (HSF, also affiliated with CDU/CSU), Friedrich Ebertt (FES, affiliated with SPD), and FNF (affiliated with FDP).

Hours before the official start of elections in Germany, this was among the forecasted results.

Bundeswahl_2017

http://notrickszone.com/2017/09/24/germany-expected-to-shift-to-the-right-in-todays-national-elections-green-energies-to-take-back-seat/#sthash.gT1rlwGa.dpbs

Actual results were:

CDU/CSU center right – 33.0%
SPD socialist – 20.5
AfD hard right – 12.6
FDP free democrats – 10.7
Linke/Left – 9.1
Greens – 8.9
Others– 5.0

No Tricks Zone blog owner Pierre Gosselin wrote,

“The big winners are the business-friendly libertarian FDP Free Democrats and the right wing AfD…. The shift to the right means that the brakes are likely going to be put on the Energiewende and on efforts “to rescue the climate”. FDP leader Christian Lindner has been a vocal opponent to onshore wind park approvals in rural areas and forests and has also been critical of the subsidies paid out to green energies… The Greens have said they will accept being a coalition partner only if the CDU agrees to end coal power by 2030, a condition that hopefully the FDP will refuse.”

— http://notrickszone.com/2017/09/24/germany-shifts-to-the-right-may-mean-significant-slowdown-for-countrys-green-energies/#sthash.nXusXhTS.OkUEKNpC.dpbs

This is from The Economist, September 25:

“the “Germany for optimists” is the more accurate. The election result is unsettling on several fronts, deeply so where the AfD is concerned. But much of Germany’s pre-election tranquility was illusory anyway. The anger had been building for years; the AfD’s success has just brought it to the surface, where perhaps it can even be understood and addressed. Questions that were going unanswered, tensions that were going unconfronted, now brook no oversight.”

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FDP and AfD as net gainers, the latter especially (first joined the elections just 4 years ago and got 4.8%, this year got 12.6%). FDP is pro-business, pro-liberalization, pro-energy realism. AfD is wild right and definitely anti-left. Germany is indeed moving right, which is the right thing to do. The lefties — SPD, Greens, Linke/left — are transitioning towards becoming marginal parties in the near future.

Thanks to Wolfgang Heinze, FNF PH Country Director for inviting me that night. He’s speaking here, introducing FNF and its main advocacies and activities in the Philippines.

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I enjoyed German sausage, other food, plus beer that night. Thanks again to FNF for the invite.

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EFN Asia meeting 2017 in Kuala Lumpur

The Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia held its meeting 2017 last September 11 at the Intercon Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS, KL) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) co-sponsored it.

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Small group. Main agenda was some reorganization of the network as there is now an annual Asia Liberty Forum (ALF) mainly sponsored by Atlas with support from the Center for Civil Society (CCS, India), FNF, Templeton Foundation, and local partner think tank/s in an Asian city where the 3-days annual conference is held.
Productive discussions, became intense and extended in late afternoon. Will discuss later when final decisions have been made by key sponsors.

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State-inspired murders, political and economic freedom

This is my article in BusinessWorld on August 25, 2017.

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The second week of August 2017 would possibly be the bloodiest in the drugs war of the Duterte administration. More than 80 people were murdered mostly by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in various drugs-raid and victims were described as “nanlaban eh (they fought the police).”

Perhaps 99% of all countries and governments in the world have their own “drugs war,” like the Philippines. Punishment range from imprisonment to death penalty. Many of our neighbors in the ASEAN have death penalty for drug crimes like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

The “war on drugs” therefore is not a unique program or policy of the Philippine government, the Duterte administration especially.

What makes the Duterte drugs war unique is the absence of due process for poor victims.

True, there is due process for very rich drug suspects like those implicated in the P6.4-billion drugs smuggled from China and passed through the Bureau of Customs. Not one of the personalities implicated including the President’s son, Davao City Vice-Mayor Paulo Duterte, were shot or murdered. They enjoyed due process of investigations, filing of affidavits, dismissal of allegations, if proof is weak.

It is the poor or several middle class or rich but not-politically connected people who get murdered on mere suspicions of being drug users or pushers. Of the roughly 9,000 estimated casualties in the Duterte drugs war, majority are labeled by the PNP as death under investigation (DUIs). However, for those who were killed outright by the PNP because they supposedly resisted arrest, no police investigation is expected.

These are state-inspired murders. The President himself is urging the police to have more deaths for drug suspects, warning the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and other human rights advocates that he will order the police to shoot them.

The continuing murders from mid-2016 — when the Duterte administration was inaugurated — to the present has coincided with the big increase in the government budget, P667 billion in 2017 and P417 billion in 2018. I checked the PNP’s budget and I wondered why its allotment for this year fell by P17B despite the increase in personnel from 184,000 to 194,000 during the same period. What explains this discrepancy?

In interviews by various media (local and foreign) and human rights groups of self-confessed but anonymous murderers, the murderers claimed that they get cash from the PNP for each murdered victim, usually previous or current drug users or pushers but people who are generally poor. Remember also the testimonies at the Senate of several ex-Davao policemen (Lascañas, et al.) who claimed they got paid by then Davao City Mayor Duterte for the murders they made.

If this claim is true — and I hope it is not — where would the government get extra resources given the decline in the PNP budget?

I checked the other items of the proposed 2018 budget and there were five big items that stand out. They get P566B of the P667B total increase in 2017 budget, and P260B of the P417B increase in 2018 budget (see table).

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If the claims of the anonymous hired murderers, of Lascañas et al. are true, then the extra resources may be sourced from “Miscellaneous personnel benefits fund” and from “Gratuity fund.” But since this is only surface data, this is hard to prove.

On another note, the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia will hold its annual meeting and conference this coming Sept. 11-12 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While the focus is on economic freedom and trade, political freedom will also be tackled among network members because there are instances of decreasing political freedom and rising dictatorial trends in the region. These include the continued rule of military junta in Thailand and the rise of murders in the Duterte government.

Economic freedom cannot prosper well in an environment of threatened political freedom and decline in the rule of law. Rise in public health care spending to save the lives of sick and weak people becomes a farce when the same government is engaged in state-inspired murders by the thousands.

Bienvenido Oplas, Jr. is the head of Minimal Government Thinkers, a member of EFN Asia.

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EFN Asia panel at Jeju Forum 2017

The Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia participated once more at the annual Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, a big international conference held at Jeju Island, S. Korea. I am reposting this report submitted to the organizers within an hour after the panel discussion. Originally posted at the EFN website.

I add two photos here, taken from EFN’s fb page. From left: Wan, John, Razeen, Young-Han.

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This is 3,200+ words, 7 pages, enjoy.
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Session Outline

Name of Session: Asia’s Contribution to the Global Open Market
Session Organizer: Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
Date: 1 June 2017, 14.50-16.20
Moderator: Dr. John Delury, Associate Professor, Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University
Welcoming Remarks: Dr. Lars-André Richter, Head Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Korea Office

Discussant(s)

Dr. Razeen Sally, Associate Professor,
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Chief Executive
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Malaysia

Dr. Kim Young-Han, Professor, Department of Economics, Sungkyunkwan University

Summary of Presenters & Discussants’ Remarks

Dr. Lars-Andre Richter

Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) is a German non-profit organization, founded in 1958 post-war West Germany. The main goal at the time was to help re-establish democracy in West Germany. Shortly after, FNF opened offices abroad, including in Tunisia, India and Indonesia. The office in Korea was opened in 1987. We promote liberty in Korea through a variety of programs including democracy building, projects with market economy, human rights, rule of law and also the re-unification issue, bringing in the unique German experience of re-unification. In fact, FNF has projects in both Koreas. The North Korea program started in 2004, focusing on economic policy. The session today at the Jeju Forum is hosted by both FNF and Economic Freedom Network Asia (EFN Asia), FNF support’s network of liberal minded think tanks and individuals.

efn2(From left: Wan, John, Razeen, Lars, Young-Han)

Dr. Kim Young-Han

Threat of the Protectionism by the US Trump Presidency

– Why Protectionism by the Billionaire US President?

Trump thinks that the current format of ‘the Global Open Market System’is unbearable and unsustainable for the US blue collar workers. Are US blue collar workers simply irrational? No, they are absolutely rational.

– The US blue collar workers know that there is not and will not be an effective trade adjustment assistance system in the US. Winners get everything with no room for losers in global open market according to the US experiences. (The same with the Brexit case.)

– How much of a threat caused by the Trumpian Protectionism?

Very threatening and disastrous. If Trumpian Protectionism is spilled over to major trading countries, the global trade war is the next stage, just like the experience before the two World War. The current one-sided protective measures of the US are highly likely to provoke retaliatory measures from trading partners.

– Is Trumpian Protectionism Sustainable?

Not really, since it’s self-defeating. Why? The source of gains from free trade: Efficiency Gains via Reallocation of economic resource from inefficient sectors to efficient sectors. In the US, without the effective trade adjustment assistance mechanism, resources in the inefficient sectors became laid-off instead of being reallocated. What Trump tries to do is to keep inefficient sectors protected as inefficient, which is self-defeating and unsustainable. He suspects Trump will realize this after 3-4 years.

– Can other powers fill in the US role?

The Share in the Global Trade: EU takes roughly 40% of the world trade, followed by Asia which takes 33%, and North America (17%). If the US goes back to protective regime, it is bad, while the other players can keep the remaining 83% under free trade regime. The EU might play a more meaningful role in leading the global free trade regime and also Asian powers like China. But he does not think so.

– The requirements for the leadership the global free trade regime: Leader has to prepare itself and operate on a rule-based trade policy and National Treatment for all players (treat all players as domestic players). The EU is more prepared, but not China. Furthermore, Big Players with market power are likely to resort to bilateral arrangements based on one-sided bargaining power. Therefore, relying on a multilateral platform is better than relying on a big guy leading power. Rebuilding the Multilateral Free Trade Regime via WTO is the solution.

The Role of Asia in Rebuilding the Global Free Trade Regime

– Datawise, Asia takes significant market power, i.e. 33% of the global trade. Historically speaking, all Asian countries’ economies, such as Japan and South Korea, have emerged via the global free trade regime with no regret against the multilateral free trade regime, WTO. A multilateral free trade regime as WTO is welfare dominant to a single country leadership (by whether the US or China). Asia has kept the spirit of multilateral or plurilateral free trade regime via ASEAN and ASEAN+3, and even ASEAN +6. Asian economy with her complexity in terms of diverse stages of economic development and asymmetry of economic size and power works as a miniature of the global economy with gradual and sustainable unit of economic integration.

– Condition for “Sustainable Global Open Market System”

  1. i) Effective Trade Adjustment Assistance Mechanism: Losers (i.e., workers in the importing competing sectors with comparative disadvantages) should be reallocated to Winners’ sectors (jobs in the export sectors with comparative advantages) via Effective Trade Adjustment Assistance Mechanism.
  1. ii) Multilateral Free Trade Regime with strong surveillance and reputation building mechanism with respect to the Big Guys with market power.

Dr. Razeen Sally

He has three main points to make. First, where we are in the global economy, particularly on trade. Second is on protectionist threat. Third is on what can be done in and by Asia to keep the market open.

– Where are we in the global economy?

Economic globalization has not been reversed, since the global financial crisis, but it has stalled. There has been a global growth slowdown. Trade to GDP worldwide has not increased, since about 2006. Foreign direct investment flow has decreased, since the crisis Cross-border flow of finance has Decreased considerably, as expect from the global financial crisis.

– But particularly on trade, something unusual is going on. Since the beginning of 19th century until 2008, world trade grew faster than world output, which is the indication that trade is the engine of growth. But since 2012 until the end of 2016, trade growth barely kept pace with world GDP growth at about 3 percent or less. This is highly unusual and tends not to happen except in war and deep recession. This is particularly worrisome for Asian nations, whom depend on exports. But still too early to tell if this is a new trend.
Continue reading

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Asia Cafe on climate change, Conference 2015

I forgot to post this earlier, my talking points when I hosted one of the “Asian Café” on climate change, EFN Asia Conference 2015 in Bhutan.

MaharI don’t have any picture during the small group discussion, here with FNF Regional Director for E and SE Asia, Siggi Herzog, and SWS’ Mahar Mangahas.
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Asian Cafe, Questions to be tackled:

  1. How does climate change (CC) manifest itself affecting people, economies and happiness?
  2. What does current evidence and projections say about the future?
  3. What are some existing successful responses to ensure resilience and adapt to changes, particularly from economic development point of view?

Introduction: the Philippines

(a) The Philippines is the 12th biggest country in the world in terms of population size, 101 million people, July 2015.

(b) Archipelago, 7,100+ islands and islets.
Lots of active and inactive volcanoes. And earthquakes too, average of around 3 EQs a day, though mostly too mild to be felt only by seismographs, or they happen under the sea.

(c) Capital is Metro Manila, composed of 17 cities, with estimated population of almost 13 million. During weekdays, this bloats to around 16 million as students and workers from neighboring provinces and cities flock to the big city.

  1. How does CC manifest itself affecting people and economies and happiness?

After experiencing some huge storms and very wet conditions in recent years due to the last La Nina, we currently experience a big El Nino that affects the Philippines and other countries in the tropics. So we expect drought conditions in the dry months of December-May. But it is not the “Godzilla” of El Nino as reported in many papers, rather comparable to the other big El Nino in 1997-98.

In a global survey on the Question,

“Which of these issues is the most important for [COUNTRY] today? (HEALTH CARE/ EDUCATION/CRIME/ THE ENVIRONMENT/ IMMIGRATION/ THE ECONOMY/ TERRORISM/ POVERTY/ NONE OFTHESE/ CAN’T CHOOSE)”

Percent selecting and rank of environment (2010).

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Source: TOM W. SMITH, NORC/University of Chicago. “Global Environmental Change across Countries and Time, 1993-2010”, Presented at the 2013 Research Session of the ISSP Meeting, Santiago, Chile, April 28 to May 1, 2013. Published by the Social Weather Station (SWS), Manila.

So public awareness of climate change is low compared to “gut issues” like healthcare, economy.

  1. What does current evidence and projections say about the future?

Current evidence and projections say that we are entering the global cooling phase, after the global warming phase of the last century. CC is natural (nature-made, not man-made), it is cyclical (warming-cooling-warming-cooling).

cc2Source: Dr. Roy Spencer, Senate EPW Hearing: “Climate Change: It’s Happened Before, July 19th 2013.

  1. What are some existing successful responses to ensure resilience and adapt to changes?

Focus on energy, the Philippines is putting up more coal power plants as we have the 2nd highest electricity prices in Asia next to Japan, because of insufficient power supply and various taxes and charges imposed on electricity. These new coal plants will help expand electricity supply and help reduce electricity prices.

Many big Asian economies rely heavily on coal and natural gas for their electricity needs. In particular, these countries have more than 90% of their total electricity coming from  fossil fuel sources: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh.

Electricity production and sources in selected Asian economies, 2012

Electr. Prodn.

(Bill. kWh)

Sources of electricity (% of total) Fossil fuel % (1+2+3)
Coal (1) Nat. gas (2) Oil  (3) Hydro (4) Others (5)
Indonesia 195.9 48.7 23.2 16.7 6.5 4.9 88.6
Thailand 166.6 20.0 70.3 1.5 5.3 3.0 91.8
Malaysia 134.4 41.5 46.6 4.5 6.7 0.7 92.6
Philippines 72.9 38.8 26.9 5.8 14.1 14.4 71.5
Singapore 46.9 84.3 13.0 3.0 97.3
China 4,994.1 75.8 1.7 0.1 17.5 4.9 77.6
Japan 1,034.3 29.3 38.4 17.5 8.1 6.7 85.2
S. Korea 534.6 44.8 20.9 4.0 1.4 28.9 69.7
Taiwan 250.3 49.9 25.4 3.1 3.4 18.2 78.4
Hong Kong 38.8 70.3 27.3 2.1 0.2 99.7
India 1,127.6 71.1 8.3 2.0 11.2 7.4 81.4
Pakistan 96.1 0.1 28.2 35.9 31.1 4.7 64.2
Kazakhstan 91.2 76.1 14.7 0.8 8.4 91.6
Bangladesh 49.0 1.8 85.1 11.5 1.6 98.4
Bhutan 6.8

Source: International Energy Agency; ADB, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2015.

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Quotes and presentations during ALF 2017, Mumbai

* This is my article in BusinessWorld last February 15, 2017.

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Mumbai, India — The title of this piece is from JP Narayan of the Lok Satta Party in India, who made that comment during the Asia Liberty Forum (ALF) that was held from Feb. 10 to 11, 2017 in Mumbai.

That remark seems to apply in many countries where the rule of law is weaker and the rule of men — especially those in charge of several forms of regulations — are stronger. These are the types of people who also impose restrictions and prohibitions on their political enemies and ordinary folk but exempt themselves, their friends, supporters, and families.

Below are other insightful quotes and comments from other speakers during the ALF. The conference was jointly sponsored by the Center for Civil Society (India), Atlas Network, John Templeton Foundation, Smith Family Foundation (USA), and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (Germany).

  1. “The word ‘Freedom’ has been lost because we mean ‘freedom from’ while an enormous number of people mean ‘freedom to.’” — Linda Whetstone, Network for a Free Society (UK).

That quote is correct and the confusion may be rooted from the common definition of freedom as “freedom from coercion” (by the State or government, clan, church, gang, etc.) and is similar to Friedrich Hayek’s definition of liberty as “absence of coercion.” Linda also added that “Trade and exchange is not a zero sum game… both sides can be better off.”

  1. “Inequality is not the issue; what bothers people is the ‘psychological threat to my perceived status.’” — Tom Palmer, Atlas Network.

Again, I agree.

Take note that free people are not equal and equal people are not free. Freedom allows people to be super-efficient or be super-mediocre or absolutely irresponsible in their own lives. This personal decision automatically results in material inequality among people. The only equality that matters is equality before the law, or the equal application of the law on unequal people. Thus, the law against robbery should apply to all, from the President to the richest people to middle class, down to the poorest people.

  1. “What we have in India is a PPP — Perpetually Planned Poverty” — Rajesh Jain, Free a Billion (FAB).

This is a funny but brutal parody and satire of an otherwise famous catchword in the Philippines and other countries of PPP (Public-Private Partnership) for big infrastructure projects. Rajesh was referring to various laws and restrictions by the government of India that he also called as “like air, it is all around you in India.”

  1. “Top communist individuals in this country come from the upper class of society… Capitalism and Caste cannot coexist.” — Chandra Bhan Prasad, a public intellectual and commentator, India.

He is referring to the various privileges and perks that cronies and state-protected corporate interests enjoy but are withheld from the rest of society. This is true because competitive capitalism is driven only by endless innovation and is anathema to state protectionism.

  1. “Demonetization is the biggest assault on property rights in India… Nehru nationalized industries, Indira nationalized banks, and Narendra Modi nationalized private cash holdings.” — Barun Mitra, Liberty Institute, India.

In November 2016, the Modi government pursued demonetization, a policy to remove all 500 and 1,000 (about $15) rupees from circulation to supposedly curtail the huge black market economy and counterfeit currency that funds illegal activities. These are exactly the currencies that hundreds of millions of poor Indians hold because of their low income and government has disallowed use of these. Very autocratic indeed.

  1. “Globalization of capital is the most liberating force particularly for the poor.” — Christopher Lingle, Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala

20170214cdb19Contrary to common belief that globalization only favored big capitalists and businesses, globalization has benefitted the poor more in the form of (a) being employed locally by foreign investors that were otherwise prevented from coming in, (b) being employed abroad as they were assigned by their multinational firms or being hired by competing foreign firms, (c) being stockholders through time of both local or foreign firms as enterprise competition intensifies.

  1. “Regulatory focus is to tap down on innovation because nobody understands something new. Lack of rule of law leads to adverse selection. Legitimate firms exit, leaving only bad actors.” — Susan Thomas, Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, India.

This is true. The implicit or explicit purpose of regulation is to limit and restrict innovation that can lead to business disruption and more income inequality. Some regulations simply kill innovation and we do not see or realize it because it was not initiated in the first place. Lack of rule of law means high rule of men; only friends and cronies of rulers will prosper while the non-cronies will remain small or exit the market.

  1. “There is a messianic belief among regulators that if there is any money made in India it must be taxed. Also underlying core belief among regulators that India is the fastest growing economy so the world owes us investments.” — Sudeepto Deb, Minerva Consulting, India.

This attitude by regulators of tax-tax-tax whenever there is perceived new income seems to apply in many other countries too. Former US President Ronald Reagan has a good summary of this when he said: “If it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

  1. “There are only two political philosophies: liberty and power.” — Simon Lee, cofounder of Lion Rock Institute, Hong Kong.

Ultimately, yes. It is a battle between state-worshippers and regulators and the public or regulated parties who want more economic freedom. There are in-betweens of course, like people who move from the regulated to becoming regulators and vice versa.

There were many other useful comments and ideas during the conference but there is not enough space for this column. I am simply thankful to the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia for giving me the travel grant to attend the event.

 

Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the head of Minimal Government Thinkers and a Fellow of SEANET. Both institutes are members of EFN Asia.

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ALF 2017, Mumbai, India

The Asia Liberty Forum (ALF) is an annual 2-days conference jointly sponsored by the Atlas Network (US), Center for Civil Society (CCS, India) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF, Germany). Five ALF events so far from 2013-2017 and I have attended the last 3 — 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal; 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and 2017 in Mumbai, India.

Some photos of the ALF 2017 last week, February 10-11 held at The Leela Mumbai Hotel. Below, Baishali Bomjan, a superwoman at the CCS, formally opening the conference on Day 1.

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Speed networking, a traditional Atlas conference activity where participants introduce to each other one on one for 2 minutes, then move to the next person in front. Notice the background, “Freedom” translated in various Asian languages.

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About 250 people registered, some they come and go. About 200 max at any one time.

Among the tweets on Day 1 under the hashtag #AsiaLF17:

“Trade and exchange is not a zero sum game … both sides can be better off”…
“When you have free markets & property rights, you open up lot of opportunities” – Linda Whetstone

“After the collapse of the Soviet Union, we were intoxicated, thinking that our ideas had won…
I am a free market fundamentalist, I am also a democratic fundamentalist….
Populist trends did not happen on their own, they have been rising over the last ten years….
There is a huge political convergence that has taken placeThe traditional left and right agree on one point- use the state.” — Barun Mitra

Why #property rights matter for #India’s poor: Give them rights and they turn rocks into a garden. — #liberal activist Ambrish Mehta

One more #liberal bonmot: “Government is like air, it is all around you in #India.” — Rajesh Jain @freeabillion

“Technology equalises power of communication and lowers role of money … there would be no Tea Party without Facebook… “Every human being is fundamentaly a #liberal at heart. #Freedom is built into our DNA.” — Matt Kibbe @mkibbe

“why do we still turn our backs to private schools despite data that these schools are preferred choice for many?” — Brajesh Mehra

Our panel on Deregulation, 4pm of Day 1.
From left: Vivek, Syed Mizanur, Seetha, Alex, me.

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“Incentives for politicians have to be changed; data doesn’t support reelection for good eco stewardship” —  Vivek Dehejia

“Standardised containers did more to reduce trade costs than lowering trade tariffs…  Exits are important for Liberty because it disciplines firms.” — Alex Tabarrok
My 19-slides presentation, Electricity deregulation and re-regulations in Asia, Philippines in particular.

My article in BusinessWorld last February 15 about the ALF17, The public sector is the private sector of those in public offices. It is reposted at the EFN Asia website.

A good keynote speech during the farewell dinner, Day 2 of ALF given by Amit Varma, The landscape of freedom in India.

Thanks to Simon Lee for this photo, with Parth Shah, President of CCS. I met Parth for the 1st time in April 2004 during the Mackinac Leadership Conference in Michigan conducted by Lawrence Reed, Joe Lehman, other great Mackinac guys. Andrew Work, Ellen Sandig Cain, Manali Shah were also our batchmates in that great conference. Andrew is represented in this photo by Simon who was 1 of 3 co-founders of the The Lion Rock Institute in HK.

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Below: standing are me and Barun Mitra. Seated are Mohit Satyanand and Julian Morris. In June 2005, the International Policy Network (IPN, UK) organized the Global Development Forum in London, a conference in support of more free trade, less aid. It was held 2 weeks before the G8 summit in Scotland where the main agenda was more foreign aid (or simply more govt to govt aid) to “make poverty history”. IPN Exec Dir then was Julian, I and Mohit Satyanand were 2 of about 6 speakers.

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I am very thankful to EFN Asia for providing me the travel grant to attend ALF 2016 (KL) and ALF 2017. Thank you Pett, Siggi. My attendance of ALF 2015 (Kathmandu) was courtesy of Media 9/Business 360, thank you Charu; and partly by Samriddhi, thank you Robin.

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