Poverty: made in socialism

by Pablo Garcia Quint The 27th of January event “An Inside View: Poverty in South America” took place in Scottsdale, Arizona thanks to the initiative of Liberty International’s Project Arizona and ArizonaTalks. Speakers from Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador, current students at Project Arizona, and Dr. Kyle Varner, Vice President for Latin American Programs at Liberty International, gave speeches showing the consequences that the government has when it tries to solve poverty or when it applies policies that are oriented to generate wealth.   Dr. Kyle Varner started the night talking about Why Latin American countries struggle with poverty and how he got involved with Venezuela as a doctor. While learning Spanish he used to listen to Hugo Chavez’s speeches. He soon realized that radical socialist ideas where only depriving people of being freer. The consequences that his ideas had over the years were notorious so Dr. Varner decided to help somehow. He volunteered for an NGO to work in the border between Venezuela and Colombia. The experiences he told about the precarious equipment and medicine they have to work with to give support to Venezuelans that are fleeing the country were devastating. Everything was caused because of the economic collapse that leads to poverty and it’s leading to death. The spread of socialist ideas through Cuba and the repercussion it had in Latin America are dangerous. The hope Dr. Kyle Varner sustains is that somehow people who advocate for freedom will have the rails of power because this is the only way to make an economy thrive and to overcome poverty. The second speaker, Nicolas Zelada from Argentina, talked about populism being a killer of his country. What caught the attention of many in his talk is that Argentina was in the XIXth century one of the richest economies in …

Why Cuba’s Infant Mortality Rate Is so Low

By Luis Pablo de la Horra Fidel Castro, the dictator who ruled Cuba with an iron fist for almost six decades, has been dead for more than three years now. Unfortunately, his regime didn’t die alongside him. The Caribbean’s largest island is still under the burdensome yoke of communism. Since Castro took over in 1959, Castroism has been characterized by the brutal repression of political and civil rights, as well as low economic growth. Real GDP growth averaged a meager one percent from 1959 to 2015. Cuba’s “Low” Infant Mortality Rate Despite the lack of freedom and the poor economic track record, Cuba is often praised for its social achievements in health care and education, some of which rival developed countries. A good example of this is the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), which is defined as the share of children dying before their first birthday. The graph below plots Cuba’s IMR against four developed countries: Surprisingly, Cuba’s IMR in 2017 was lower than that of both the U.S. and Canada: 4.1 deaths per 1,000 live births as opposed to 5.7 in the United States and 4.5 in Canada. This seems counterintuitive. How could a poor country like Cuba, whose income per capita is a fraction of those of developed countries, outperform two of the world’s wealthiest nations? There are a few possibilities, both of which involve health care spending. Are these stellar numbers the result of Cuba spending more than the U.S.? Not according to the data. As the following chart shows, Cuba’s health care spending per capita is substantially lower than that of the United States. But higher spending doesn’t ensure better results. According to the Bloomberg Health Care Index, which measures cost efficiency in health care, the U.S. spends four times as much as Singapore in per capita terms, yet life expectancy is four …

Update from Board Member: Dr. Kyle Varner

Liberty International Board Member and VP for Latin American programs, Dr. Kyle Varner, was in Ecuador where he visited the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and gave a presentation “Socialism: The most dangerous disease in human history” and attended a dinner with Students for Liberty where he talked about Capitalism and Health. After he traveled to Cuenca, Ecuador where he had the chance to deliver again his presentation “Socialism: The most dangerous disease in human history” at the Universidad de Azuay and at Universidad de Cuenca he gave a talk on “Capitalism: The most important public health policy in the history of Humanity.” Each event in Cuenca had about 50 students, where Dr.Varner’s ideas were well- received by most students and prompted robust discussion. Dr. Varner believes that with these events, he was able to help strengthen the local Students for Liberty chapter and Bastiat Society organization, as well as introduce new people to Libertarianism while also calling attention to the atrocities of the Maduro regime in all his talks.

Country Risk Assessment for Resource Investors: Mexico

By Lobo Tigre The drug war is heating up in Mexico. Narco gun battles and massacres of women and children are making headlines. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) released the son of convicted drug kingpin El Chapo rather than go to open war with his cartel. President Trump says he’ll designate the drug cartels as terrorist organizations, which could result in military intervention. My heart goes out to my family, friends, and all Mexicans who are already affected and may yet get caught in the crossfire. Sad to say, but it’s looking like my Colombian friends were right when they said Mexico was headed down the path of terror and guerrilla warfare that made such a tragic mess of Colombia for decades. When they first said this to me some years ago, I answered that the battles in Mexico were largely between government forces and the narcos, as well as between the narcos themselves. The violence hadn’t become predatory on the general population. That now seems to be changing. I don’t see the Mexican government winning its war against the drug cartels. I also don’t see it allowing the US military to step in to wage war on Mexican soil. The only way out I see, frankly, is for the US to lead the world in ending the drug war through legalization—and that’s not gonna happen anytime soon either. Personally, I do think ending the drug war would be for the best. Even if I thought that drugs were so bad it would be better to ban them, I’d have to face the fact that the drug war is having the same results that Prohibition did in the 1920s: war and corruption. I’m sure that decriminalizing drugs would result in many tragedies for those vulnerable to addiction. But …

CIPS plays its part in Indonesia’s reforms

By Rainer Heufers Last month, President Jokowi started his second presidential term and we shared with you his to-do list for the upcoming five years. By now, he has vowed to streamline business registration processes under one agency, to create a positive list of sectors where foreign investment is encouraged, and to gradually reduce corporate income tax to 20%. These are good news for the country and there were also good news for Center for Indonesia Policy Studies (CIPS). Food and agriculture will become number one among the government’s research priorities. Our team learned this when we took part in the national coordination meeting held by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce. The Research and Technology Minister told us that he does not only count on research by government agencies. Rather, the private sector shall become a crucial partner of the government. This means a great deal for CIPS as an independent research organization—and for you, our valued supporters! While we are busy preparing more policy papers we also went into filming. Messages that emanate from our policy research are grounded in scientific research, but they also need to appeal to the emotional senses of our audience, so let’s have some fun while we are at it, shall we? In collaboration with a popular YouTuber, CIPS produced a short film on the rice distribution chain and the actors involved. Watch here, just like more than 23,000 other viewers did! No worries, the film is subtitled in English. Right now, the CIPS outreach team is heading to the fifth city to screen the film and to hold fun and super interactive discussions with university students. Bakoel Kosong or ‘empty bowl’, as the film is titled, gives thought to how rice can actually be cheaper and fill the meal bowls of Indonesia’s poor. …

October Update from LI Board Members

Dr. Kyle Varner Last month I joined Language of Liberty Institute as a faculty member at a Liberty Camp in the Amalfi Coast of Italy.  I gave talks to the students about the specific ways that socialism destroyed the economy of Venezuela, the nature of profits under capitalism, and the need for a free market in human organs.This month I have been in Colombia doing humanitarian work and promoting liberty.  I started in Cucuta providing volunteer medical care to the Venezuelan refugee population.  Currently, I’m on a five city speaking tour with a total of 8 planned events where I am discussing libertarian ideas.  The program is a joint venture between Language of Liberty Institute, Liberty International, Movemiento Libertario Colombia and Students for Liberty.At the end of this speaking tour, I will head to New York City to attend the Atlas Network Event. James Lark I met with many libertarians during my visit to Sao Paulo, Brazil on Oct. 17-22.  Specifically, I met with Paulo Ghedini, a member of the Board of Directors of Students For Liberty Brasil on Oct. 17 to discuss ways to build more effective Libertarian student groups throughout the country. On Oct. 18, I met with Helio Beltrao, president of the Instituto Mises Brasil, along with several IMB staff members.  We discussed various ways to promote libertarian ideas among students and in the popular press.  On Oct. 19, I served as chef for a dinner party at the home of Leandro Narlock in Sao Paulo.  Mr. Narlock is a well-known journalist and writer in Brazil.  In particular, he is the author of a popular book titled Guia Politicamente Incorreto da História do Brasil  (“Politically Incorrect History of Brazil”), along with two sequels.  The party was attended by several libertarian scholars and think-tank members.  (The dinner was arranged …

Latin America: Curing the cancer with liberty

By Dr. Kyle Varner Latin America is a fascinating place with an amazing culture and a political landscape that is ten times more interesting than anything that happens in the United States or Europe. It is also a region with a profound ideological sickness that has caused multiple once-wealthy countries, such as Cuba and Venezuela, and to a lesser extent Argentina, to self-immolate. Today, Latin America is experiencing a crisis of enormous proportions, and thae extent of the crisis is underappreciated by most observers in the world. Most people know about the crisis in Venezuela–about the six million refugees, the rampant spread of diseases like tuberculosis, measles and malaria and the extrajudicial murders carried out by the criminal regime of Nicolas Maduro. What many observers don’t know is that while the Maduro regime has received widespread condemnation throughout Latin America, there remain a handful of vocal supporters as well as an enormous number of individuals who refuse to recognize that the collapse and devastation in Venezuela is the inevitable result of revolutionary socialism. Socialism, in short, remains popular as an idea ​despite​the fact that people all across Latin American see desperate, suffering Venezuelan refugees, in person, on a daily basis. Why is socialism such a popular idea in Latin America? A variety of historical factors conspire to create a near perfect storm. Spanish colonizers created a rigid class structure that was highly exploitative, and even after independence much of the rigid class structure remained, creating feelings of economic resentment among a large portion of the population. Latin America also experiences a culture phenomena called patrimonialism, whereby the population tends to look for political figures that resemble saviors (think of Simon Bolivar, Eva Peron, Che Guvara, and Hugo Chavez as examples of fervent personality cults that have driven Latin American politics …

The “Adventures of Jonathan Gullible” Book Translated & Published in Afghanistan

Afghanistan Economic and Legal Studies Organization is pleased to translate and publish “Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey” Book into Dari language for the first time in Afghanistan. On the event which was held by AELSO and 140+ participation of Afghan well-known scholars and writers, university students, civil society activists and politicians on the 2nd of November 2019 in Kabul, the book officially launched in Afghanistan. A number of Afghan well-known scholars talked about the ideas and contents of the “Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey” book and they all emphasized the importance of the book in the current situation of Afghanistan. “This book has a lot of important and valuable lessons for all Afghan’s nation and we are completely sure that translation and publication of this book on the current situation of Afghanistan can bring a lot of positive changes on bringing of peace, prosperity, and liberty in the country,” Said Khalid Ramizy, Executive Director of AELSO and Translator of the book. “I really appreciate the translation and publication of this useful book in Afghanistan; indeed, this book has thousands of important lessons for all of us and if we understand all of these lessons we can make the world a great place to live and work freely with our all individual liberty,” Said Prof. Ahmad Zia Rafhat, Lecturer at Kabul University and a well-known Afghan Writer. The book also introduced by his author Mr. Ken Schoolland via a video message to the audience and Mr. Khalid Ramizy the Dari translator of the book also introduced all the parts and ideas of the book to the audience and what can be changed through this book in Afghanistan. You can learn more about the “Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey” book in here. If you want …

PAFERE launching two important books

We are really happy to inform you that our Polish colleagues from PAFERE [Polish-American Foundation for Economics Research and Education] are about to publish two new books on liberty. We had a quick look at them before the premiere, and all we can do is to recommend them to any Polish reader. First book was edited by Jan Kuban, Miroslaw Matyja and Janusz Sanocki and focuses on a relation between citizen and a state in a Polish democratic system. Authors not only try to explain the intricacies of the Polish political system, but most importantly draw conclusions based on freedom-friendly message. One of the most important, and interesting, parts of the book relates to the responsibilities of various people that have a power of changes in the political system. This not only relates to politicians-voters dichotomy, but also to people usually omitted from the discussion yet having only a slightly lesser impact on society, like teachers, priests, intellectuals, and lawyers. The other book published by PAFERE is Tomasz Ulatowski’s ‘Wickedness’. This is a brilliant piece that explains the inflation game. Polish author focuses on a transparent review of the history of the idea and its implementation in practice. What’s interesting isn’t pure case study but the way that Ulatowski explains common misconceptions related to inflation.  We can only recommend Polish readers to follow PAFERE site to find out when books will be available. We have been told all books on their site( http://pafere.org ) are for free!

Liberty Camp Nepal 2019 -Background of the program

Bikalpa – an Alternative in collaboration with Language for Liberty Institute (LLI) and with the support from Atlas Networks, Samriddhi Foundation hosted a Five day residential “Liberty Camp” training at Dhulikhel Village Resort, from 21th to 26th September 2019. Liberty Camp is organized every year in different parts of the world, attracting people interested in spreading or exploring the idea of liberty. The objective of the event was to educate the youth about History and origin of liberty, Philosophy of Liberty, Freedom of Trade and Doing Business, Freedom, Entrepreneurship and Responsibility, The program was also aimed to understand a holistic picture on cross-sectoral topics. Overview of the Workshop During this Liberty Camp training in Dhulikhel, 23 aspiring participants from different part of Nepal, working on the different organizations and diverse issues joined the workshop. Among distinguished speakers were Mr. Andy Eyschen (co-founder and director of the Language of Liberty Institute), Mr. Glenn, (Founder of Language of Liberty Institute), Mr. Barun Mitra (Founder and director of the Liberty Institute) were the resource person and panelists in the event. Also, Mr. Deependra Chalulagian (Director of Operations at Samriddhi Foundation) and Mr. Govinda Sharma Ghaire (Tax Payers Association Nepal) were invited as a Local resource person for training. It was a pleasure hearing from all of them. The program officially kicked off on September 21 with a welcome reception at Dhulikhel village Resort by Basanta Adhikari (Founder and Director of Bikalpa an Alternative). After welcoming the participants, Mr. Basanta Adhikari shared the objectives, overview and importance of the training, detailing the idea behind the process of how it started, key issues behind it, why it was important and how it was all made possible to bring this training to Kathmandu, outside Biratnagar. Following this, the remainder of the workshop was facilitated by Bikalpa’s …