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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Day 2 of Conference 2016

Sorry readers, delayed posting of Day 2, EFN Asia Conference 2016 in Manila last November….

New FNF-PH Country Director Wolfgang Heinze delivering the welcome remarks for Day 2.

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Below are some tweets under #efnasia2016

(1) From ruben dieckhoff ‏@rdieckhoff, 22-23 Nov 2016

“All politics is local.” To save free trade/globalization you have to win the battles at home first says @barunsmitra

@razeensally wonders whether you can keep up economic growth while trampling on human rights of the citizens

When political families move from controlling to owning companies this is neo-cronyism and eventually fails. See: Arab Spring

.@laveeshbhandari: how you can be free without education? Highlights susceptibility to populism for people who feel left behind

First protect dignity and rights of all individuals. Then start talking about economic liberty. Strong stance by @LoeningMarkus

(2) from FNF Philippines ‏@FNFPhilippines, 22 Nov 2016

Peter Perfecto: There is a tendency to rely heavily on the business sector, but there is only so much that business can do.

Dr. Laveesh Bhandari: There are enough laws that try to inhibit crony capitalism, but they very rarely get implemented.

Fred McMahon: The real driver of poverty reduction is not CSR, but economic freedom.

Fred McMahon: You cannot find a stable democracy that does not have a high level of economic freedom.

(3) Barun Mitra ‏@barunsmitra  22 Nov 2016

The discussion over basic rights and freedoms, have got confused by including entitlements and aspirations: Nick Sallnow-Smith

#EFNAsia2016 Rich & poor nations, high & low growth ones, democracies or not, across the world are experiencing populist nationalist upsurge

(4) Others:

Akash Shrestha ‏@aaktung  22 Nov 2016

“In an economically free society, you only get ahead by making other people better off” – Fred McMahon.

PichuLo ‏@pichuuu  22 Nov 2016

Random thought:How can local small and medium enterprises compete if we’re pushing for the free market to gain economic freedom?

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FNF Philippines ‏@FNFPhilippines  21 Nov 2016

Wan Saiful Wan Jan: Definitions of human rights vary. What may be HR violations to some can be another’s sole income source. #efnasia2016

Armin Reinartz ‏@Armin_Rz  21 Nov 2016

#TPP is dead. Trade agreements fail because of protectionist attitude, not #HumanRights provisions, Dr. LEE Taekyu,KERI Korea #EFNAsia2016

Siegfried Herzog ‏@biberacher  21 Nov 2016

Free Marketeers keep having to play catch-up to Human Rights concerns that are framed in a way hostile to markets #efnasia2016

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My own tweets:

Economic #freedom means freedom of individuals to acquire, own, control, sell, donate private #property

Rising #inequality per se not prob but poverty. If poverty declined but inequal increased, fine. It’s not good to stop excellence.

Some consider child labor as HR violation but some households, it is necessary. If sole breadwinner is gone, young need to work.

Corporate branding will help global firms stay the course in #HumanRights and econ freedom protection, respecting #ruleOfLaw.

VP @lenirobredo was here day 2 #efnasia2016 conf. She talked abt rising inequality. Actually poverty declined, many poor became middle class.

No planner would know every indiv preference… Invasion of others’ freedoms, Liberal people end up illiberal – Nick Smith, LRI

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Economic freedom, taxes and tariffs in Asia

* This is my article in BusinessWorld last December 01, 2016.

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Human prosperity is not possible if there is no economic freedom, if people do not have the freedom to own private property and have freedom to trade. Misery is the result if people live under political dictatorships and bear the effects of the state’s economic central planning.

These, among others, were the topics discussed in the two-day Economic Freedom Network Asia (EFN Asia) Conference 2016 last Nov. 22-23, 2016 at Dusit Hotel, Makati City. The event’s theme was “Economic freedom and human rights in business,” primarily sponsored by EFN Asia and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF).

The event also launched the results of the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) 2016 Report by Fraser Institute in Canada. The EFW index is measured by getting the scores (0 to 10, zero is totally unfree and 10 is full economic freedom) of countries covering five criteria: (1) Size of government, (2) Legal system and property rights, (3) Sound money, (4) Freedom to trade internationally, and (5) Regulation.

Countries with big governments and high taxes get low scores in the first measure while nations with highly corrupt legal systems and unstable property rights protection will receive low ratings in the second, and so on. The composite score of the five criteria covered is generated and countries are ranked from highest to lowest (see table).

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The numbers on the right show the following.

One, for many years now, Hong Kong and Singapore are recognized as the two freest economies in the world. Their governments are strong in enforcing the rule of law and protecting property rights, have low income tax rates, zero or near-zero tariff rates. They may have many non-tariff barriers (NTBs) but that is for another paper.

Two, many ASEAN countries are in the middle tier in global ranks out of 157 countries covered. Outliers are Singapore which is high up there, and Vietnam and Myanmar which are among the bottom-ranking countries.

Three, the Philippines and other ASEAN countries’ score and global ranking do not significantly move up or down and I think there are flaws in the scoring made by Fraser. Here’s why.

In sub-area “Freedom to own foreign currency bank accounts,” the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam got 0 (out of 10). Similarly, these four countries also posted low scores in criteria 3, Sound Money. I think foreigners and foreign corporations can own forex bank accounts here in the Philippines, also in Malaysia, so why did Fraser give a score of 0?

In sub-area “Capital controls,” the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam scored only 0.77 while Indonesia and Thailand scored 1.54 (again, out of 10) such that their scores under Area 4, Freedom to Trade Internationally, are again low.

Perhaps the capital control that Fraser refers here is the maximum amount of Pesos (about P10,000) and dollars ($10,000) that Filipinos and foreigners can bring in or out when they travel abroad. But many travelers hardly use big cash for their transactions, they use credit and debit cards. People can also send huge amounts of money anytime via banks or money couriers from abroad to the Philippines and vice versa, without capital control limits.

Since countries’ global ranks are separated only by one or two decimal places, significant low score in Areas 3 and 4 in this case would mean overall low score. As a result, the Philippines’ overall score of 7.01 made it rank 80th while Taiwan’s score of 7.65 made it ranked 23rd. A difference in score of 0.64 already spells a huge difference of 67 places in global ranking.

Fraser should either check its data properly or adjust the scoring.

Instead of 0 or 10 for “freedom to own forex account,” “capital control” and other sub-areas, it may adjust the score to 0 or 4 or 5. This will reduce the distortion in overall score and hence, in global ranking.

Nonetheless, Fraser is doing a good job in promoting the philosophy of economic freedom, free trade, rule of law, low taxes and limited government. Its annual EFW report is being cited in various international studies and helps guide civil society and corporate leaders, government and public policy makers in instituting reforms towards a freer, more prosperous world.

 

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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Day 1 of Conference 2016

efn0The Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia conference 2016 at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati ended last Wednesday. Thanks again FNF and EFN for another wonderful conference.

Here are some tweets from #efnasia2016 and my own thoughts about the event.

Protection of human rights is part and parcel of EU policy – Walter van Hattum, EU Delegation to the Philippines.

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It’s a responsibilty of businesses to respect human rights… It is state duty to protect and defend human rights in its territory.

Nobody can seriously suggest that businesses can opt in and out of respecting human rights as they wish… There is legal obligation for businesses to respect HR.

Businesses should be as transparent as possible so they will be less likely to be attacked by false news. Business leaders are often uncomfortable explaining to the public how they work. It’s understandable but unwise. — Markus Leöning, former Himan Rights Commissioner in Germany.

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Increasingly populist goverments a threat to human rights and economic freedom. The pendulum has swung as globalization has failed in its promises to those who have lost out in its benefits. Food for thought. — Frank Largo

For me, among the important human rights of the people is freedom to choose in the market place, freedom to sell or not sell, freedom to buy or not buy. Political human rights like the right or freedom from theft (especially organized criminals), murders, prosecution and harassment, that is where the state should come in.

A minimal government focused on enforcing the rule of law, enforcing contracts between and among people, is consistent with economic freedom and human rights protection. That minimal govt should have no business creating and expanding lots of endless welfarist programs. Prosperity is not an entitlement or privilege. Lazy and irresponsible have no right to a prosperous life, they deserve poverty. Politically incorrect statement, as usual.

Rule of law means the law applies equally to unequal people. So the law should apply to both rich and poor people, to big/giant and small firms. A law or contract can be written, verbal, done by govt or private entities. Basic human rights then means that people have access to such equality before the law.

Below, Rainer Heufers moderating, with Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Peter Kompalla, Rishi Sher Singh, Dr. Manzoor Ahmad in the new panel.

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People’s definitions of human rights vary. What may be HR violations to some can also be another’s sole income sourceDefinitions of human rights vary. What may be HR violations to some can be another’s sole income source. — Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Good point. Some westerners may consider temporary child labor as HR violation already but for some households, it is ok and necessary. If a sole family breadwinner is gone for instance, the young need to work to help sustain the family. Harsh but necessary.

Stakeholder values, not just shareholder values. — Rishi Sher Singh

Barun Mitra tweets:

Business of business is indeed business! Inclusive of profitability for investors, benefit to consumers, add values to society.

Better protection of human rights, improved environmental quality, higher sense of justice, necessary social value additions.

Value added products, economic and social, become affordable with prosperity, and necessity in a free competitive market.

Implentating Rule of law carries cost, level of effective enforcement has to be affordable, economically socially politically. #EFNAsia2016

I think corporate branding will help global firms stay the course in HR and econ freedom protection, respecting #ruleOfLaw. Firms would dislike to be associated with bad products, bad services, bad corporate image. So they will try to be as transparent as possible, to be accountable to their products and practices. Transparency is good protection vs negative image/attacks.

Session 2 Panel speakers: H.E. Franz Jessen of EU, Dr. Lee Taekyu of KERI, and Atty. Arpee Santiago of Ateneo Human rights Center.

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Govt and countries don’t trade, individuals and businesses do. Govt negotiating trade treaties leading to anti-trade backlash.

Free trade is voluntary, so win win. Govt negotiations may liberalise trade, but legitimises govt in trade n economy, corruption.

Environment, labour or human rights standards in national trade treaties, focus on outcomes, give advantage to large, richer cos!

Society / govt benefit most if they adopt unilateral free trade. All politics is local, a local decision will minimise backlash.

Govt negotiating trade, inevitably adopt export is good, import is bad outlook. Free trade is beneficial when govt has no role.

Access to internet can’t be a “Right”. Political rights are negative rights. Any +ive right paid for by others can’t be a RIGHT.

TPP may be good agreement, but has lost legitimacy because govts. no longer carry credibility among large sections of people. –– Barun Mitra

As usual, I agree with Barun’s ideas and observations: unilateral trade liberalization; countries and governments do not trade with each other, people do; so governments, national and multilateral, should step back from trade negotiations as much as possible. Let companies and people organizations negotiate with their suppliers and consumers abroad and keep prices low via low or zero tariff, minimal non-tariff barriers

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Program of Conference 2016 in Manila

The Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia conference 2016 will start in two days, November 22-23, 2016 at Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati. It is organised by EFN Asia and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), with support from four organizations: the Philippine Economic Society (PES), EU Delegation to the Philippines, Ateneo Human Rights Center, and Bloomberg TV Philippines.

The program is here, http://efnasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/EFN-Asia-Conf-2016-Full-program-as-of-17.11.pdf. Below, I just copy-pasted the program minus the time and some space.

MC for Day 1 will be Minnie Salao, Program Manager, FNF – Philippines, and Pett Jarupaiboon, Regional Program Manager (Economic Freedom and Human Rights), FNF Southeast and East Asia (based in Bangkok).

Good line up of speakers from many countries on Day 1.

I think President Duterte’s admin might raise their eyebrows on the subject of “human rights”. But the conference will talk less, if ever, of murders and large deaths in the on-going “drugs war” of the government, more on the conduct of business in the age of expanding trade and business globalization.

Day 2 of EFN conferences are always devoted to the launching and discussion of the annual EFW reports by Fraser Institute, based in Vancouver, Canada. Fraser is almost always represented by Fred McMahon for several years now.

Session 9 will be a more political discourse of human rights but not necessarily mentioning the Philippines. This is because the three speakers — Tom (US), Razeen (Sri Lanka) and Barun (India) — are long-time fighters of individual freedom, dating back to 3 decades ago or more.

Economic freedom, not economic central planning. Rule of law, not rule of men and dictators. Looking to another exciting conference next week.

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Economic freedom and human rights

* This is my article in BusinessWorld last October 18, 2016.

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Economic freedom is the ability and privilege of people to engage in various social and economic activities without unnecessary restrictions and prohibitions. Such freedom is guided by voluntary exchange, open markets, personal choice and accountability, and clearly defined private property rights.

People are economically free if they can choose to buy or not buy certain goods and services from various sellers, when they are not forced and coerced to buy something expensive and/or poor quality. Freedom is not absolute though and free people have no freedom to harm other people nor destroy, burn or steal their private properties.

Human rights include the right to life, right to private property, and right to liberty and security of person. Thus, even a person who has committed a wrong act should be given due process to defend him/herself from false or exaggerated accusations. Murders of individuals based on flimsy or unsubstantiated accusations like what is happening in a number of instances in the on-going war on drugs are deprivations of those people’s human rights.

Combining these two concepts is very important for people to live with freedom and dignity.

And these two concepts will be tackled in a big international conference by the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia on the theme, “Economic freedom and human rights in business” this coming Nov. 22-23 at Dusit Thani Manila Hotel, Makati City. The conference is jointly organized by EFN Asia Economic Freedom Network Asia (EFN Asia) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), supported by four local organizations, the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Philippine Economic Society (PES), Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC), and Bloomberg TV Philippines.

Among the key speakers and major resource persons in this event will be Siegfried Herzog, head of Regional Office, FNF South East and East Asia; Ms. Rosemarie Edillon, president of PES; Markus Loening, former German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, and Vice-President Leni Robredo.

Other speakers will be Wan Saiful Wan Jan, CEO of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Malaysia; Chito Gascon, chairperson of CHR; Franz Jessen, ambassador and head of Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines; Nicholas Sallnow-Smith, chairman of the Lion Rock Institute, Hong Kong; and Peter Perfecto, executive director of the Makati Business Club (MBC).

So, how economically free are the people of the Philippines and big nations of the ASEAN? How free or unfree are they from heavy regulations that tend to restrict entry into markets and interfere with the freedom to engage in voluntary exchange?

The Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) 2016 report give scores to countries (0 most unfree, 10 most free) based on five criteria and areas: (1) Size of government, (2) Legal system and property rights, (3) Sound money, (4) Freedom to trade internationally, and (5) Regulations. Then they are ranked from the most free to the least free economies.

For this short paper, only the performance in Area 5 will be tackled and in particular, sub-areas on labor regulations and business regulations.

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The Philippines has a modest score in both labor and business regulations, meaning not yet choked by those multiple bureaucracies and permits. In particular, the country has a good score in labor hiring regulations and enforcement of the minimum wage, but it has a low score in hiring and firing of employees.

From some existing policy debates in the Philippines today, we can apply the principles of economic freedom and human rights on these issues.

(1) On labor contracting including endo, being hired for short-term labor contracting is a privilege, a human right for new job entrants and the unskilled. It is much better than being rejected and not hired by employers because of the high cost of hiring new additional workers and the threat of government harassment for firing the un- or less-experienced, less skilled people.

(2) On a nationwide minimum wage and abolition of regional wage disparities, this one-size-fits-all policy will make hiring people in the provinces become more expensive, and, as a result, there will be fewer hiring of lesser-skilled, lesser-experienced people. There are now more machines and robots available that can slowly replace more laborers.

(3) On entrepreneurship, it is a privilege and human right for the more hard-working, more ambitious people and they should not be deprived or discouraged to try that route because of heavy government regulations, bureaucratism, and taxation.

Increased market dynamism and fewer government regulations and taxation are the keys to ensuring economic freedom and protection of human rights.

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

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Conference 2014 in Hong Kong, part 1

The following are minutes and proceedings during the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia Conference 2014, Hong Kong, on the theme, “Liberalism: Promoting Growth, Reducing Inequality”, November 2014. Major sponsors were the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), a liberal political foundation based in Germany, and the Lion Rock Institute (LRI), a free market think tank in Hong  Kong.

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These notes were made by Karthik Chandra of the Foundation for Democratic Reforms, INDIA. The 25-pages notes are posted in
http://efnasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/EFN-Asia-2014-Conference-Report.pdf

I am reposting them by major segments and  installments, plus my brief personal notes on each segment. Here’s the 1st installment.
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Day 1: November 6, 2014
Introduction to the EFN 2014 Conference by MC, Wan Saiful Wan Jan
Chief Executive, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Malaysia

Welcoming Remarks
Bill Stacey, Chairman, LRI

  • Welcome to Hong Kong! Given the recent developments (citizens’ demands and mobilization) in Hong Kong (HK) serving as the backdrop, this certainly is a good and clearly an interesting time for all the participants to assemble in Hong Kong, especially to discuss about inequality, liberty and freedom.
  • There is an image of HK in some quarters of the media that capitalism here is of the crony variety and that there is no true economic freedom or liberty for its citizens. But the reality is that for a city of 7 million population, there is a lot of economic freedom and enterprise.
  • At the heart of the current political developments seems to be a vigorous debate about two freedoms – economic and political. But, there is no conflict between the two. Those institutions that ensure economic freedoms in the form of greater equality, growth, prosperity and overall economic freedom also underpin the political freedoms. A few such institutions are free flow of information and rule of law.
  • ‘Liberalism’ as understood in the traditional sense should not be viewed as an end in itself. There is a difference between treating people equally and keeping/ensuring that they remain equal.

Siegfried Herzog
Regional Director, FNF, Southeast and East Asia

  • Welcome to Hong Kong EFN Conference. EFN Asia Conference has become a long established tradition, this event being the sixteenth one; this is my first one as a Regional Director. Thanks to the LRI and the Frasier Institute for being our partners. LRI is also celebrating its 10th anniversary; congratulations to them.
  • Events such as the EFN 2014 greatly help institutionalize the ideas, research, debates and international experiences help them become a part of the political and academic discourse on economic freedoms.
  • This event is being held in the background of the furious debate over political and economic freedoms of HK vis-a-vis China. HK has long served as the global leader of economic freedom. Now, the debate is about its political freedoms; about ensuring the rule of law and independence from political interference in HK.
  • Currently, there is also a great debate on economic inequality. The idea of ‘economic equality’ retains a lot of appeal despite the fact that communism and socialism have repeatedly failed to ensure the same, based on our experiences in several countries.
  • At the same time, this debate also touches upon the issue of social mobility and how crony capitalists and well-connected gamers have managed to subvert economic institutions and thereby gain undue benefits.
  • This conference therefore is a valuable contribution towards helping settle the above debate because it provides a platform for sharing of knowledge and bringing new ideas into an area that has been traditionally dominated by left-leaning thinkers or misguided activists.
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Me: Right, the (classical) liberal definition of equality is equality before the law, equal  application of the law to unequal people, equality in access to opportunities with no exception or people giving exemptions. And inequality of outcome, of income and assets ownership, is the natural result because people have different attitudes in life.

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