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.

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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 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.
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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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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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