By Marek Tatała, Vice President, Civil Development Forum (Poland)
Translation: Sylwia Szymańska
It is important to appreciate outstanding liberty organizations and the people who participate in these important activities. One of the ways to show this appreciation is by means of the prizes awarded by, among others, Atlas Network and America’s Future Foundation, prizes that you can read about in the latest episode of the “World of Freedom” series. At this time, we are going to visit some places including India, Greece, Serbia and the African continent, places from which we will begin reviewing the most interesting actions of liberty organizations that we could hear and read about in May.
The Center for African Prosperity, founded by The Atlas Network is good news for the people in African countries. It is a good a new initiative that aims to promote economic freedom, property rights, the rule of law and entrepreneurship. The organization was headed by a respected entrepreneur from Senegal, Magatte Wade. This liberty-oriented center’s purpose is launching processes in African countries that will allow for permanent poverty recovery and raising the life standard of living of the continent’s inhabitants.
Moving to Europe, in Athens, the annual Europe Liberty Forum conference took place. It was a chance for both deepening knowledge and exchanging experiences, above all in the field of work of the liberty-oriented NGOs. During the Forum, we could hear some inspiring performances and learn about tools that are used by organizations from Europe and other parts of the world. I myself had the pleasure to participate in a discussion about the threats to liberalism in Europe. I described the attacks on the rule of law in Poland carried out by the ruling party and the means which we use to defend ourselves against these attacks. Moreover, the heads of the most important liberty-oriented organizations from around the world discussed issues like populism before the main event within the CEO Summit.
Atlas Network, who organized the conference, has also awarded a number of prizes. The winner of the Think Tank Shark Tank competition was Nataliya Melnyk from the Ukrainian Bendukidze Free Market Center. Thanks to winning this contest, the organization represented by her will create a Ukrainian version of the economy textbook for schools, which is based on the extremely successful Lithuanian textbook created by the Lithuanian Free Market Institute. The award for the last year’s best organization also went to Ukraine, to EasyBusiness, for effective actions to release land trade in this country. Furthermore, the Multi association from Bosnia and Herzegovina received the award for reaching students.
It is worth paying attention to another tax calculator. This time a simple tool for checking the amount of tax burden, which largely depends on the amount of public expenditure, launched the Serbian organization Libek. Let’s recall that a tax calculator is also available to Polish users on the FOR website SprawdzPodatki.pl. Another important European event is the next edition of the Nanny State Index, which is the Index of State Paternalism, which is published by the British Institute of Economic Affairs and the Epicenter think tank chain, which also includes FOR. In Poland, there was a statement on excessive state paternalism titled “Alcohol, Cigarettes, Food and Drinks.” Poland is more restrictive than Germany and the Czech Republic, so I encourage you to read this statement.
Freedom organizations often focus on the weakest people who have to deal with a powerful state apparatus. An example of such a group is street vendors from India. Thanks to the work of the local Center for Civil Society (CCC), there have been changes made in the law that increased the protection of small entrepreneurs against state oppression in the form of penalties, confiscation of property and forced bribes. During a meeting in New York, Bhakti Patil from CCC spoke about the problems they have to face in India and the history of success, which is the fight for the rights of small merchants and greater economic freedom, which is extremely important in their daily work on the streets of India.
On the Atlas Network’s website, in May, inspirational articles were published that addressed topics important to libertarians.Antonella Marty wrote from the Latin American perspective about the need to replace the cult of state and state property, which is a fertile ground for populists, with appreciation of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.Brad Lips, the CEO of Atlas Network, recalled the importance of free trade on the US and Mexico border.
Finally, let’s mention one more award, this time for Atlas Network president,Matt Warner, who became one of the winners of the Buckley’s Award, given by America’s Future Foundation for “prominent young conservatives and libertarians for their outstanding work for freedom.” Applause for hard work and congratulations for a well-deserved reward!