Austrian Economics and Social Media in China

In many places around the world we hear about the use of social media and mobile apps to help people communicate with each other in opposition to the state or against mainstream standards. From Egypt to Venezuela, social media has played an instrumental role in the organisation of protests. Fearing the same, the Chinese government has long sought to block the use of social media sites, thus Facebook and Twitter have a very minor presence in the country. Nonetheless, here in Shanghai I’ve learned about some of the innovative ways that local mobile apps are being used to spread ideas of liberty. While it is risky to talk about politics or to openly criticize the government in China, the field of economics provides somewhat safe ground to discuss ideas of liberty. Even then, one still must be mindful of one’s wording, because the terms ‘free-market’ or ‘capitalism’ are still blacklisted, whereas the phrase ‘market economy’ is perfectly acceptable. This past month a group of professors of Austrian Economics (a number of whom spoke at our 2012 Shanghai Austrian Economic Summit) got together and decided to create an online course entirely based on Hayek’s works. What’s exceptional about their approach is that the whole course is hosted on Weixin (known as WeChat for English users), which is like a Chinese version of Whatsapp. The lectures are given live, enabling students to tune in and respond in real time, while those who can’t make it at the time can still catch up later. The professor gives his lecture by leaving voice messages for the group. Each clip is limited by the app to being just a minute long, though they can be played consecutively. All the while, students can type in their questions, to which the professor can reply instantly. This style …

Egypt Seeking a Path to Freedom

Dear My Americans, European, Japanese, French, and friends from all other nationalities, I am writing this post because by discussing what has been going on in Egypt, I found out that, unfortunately, the news does not tell the whole story regarding two issues. 1. The death penalty that was given to 529 members of Muslim Brotherhood. Regarding this issue, unfortunately the news only talks about the verdict, they do not talk about why these guys were convicted. So why were they convicted? Did you know that these guys killed fifteen policemen and 44 other Egyptians? Did you know that these guys burnt down eight churches and four mosques. Did you know that these guys badly injured more than 400 Egyptians? Did you know that these guys belong to a group that has been the source of all the radical Muslims in the world? If the USA and UK waged war in Iraq just to be sure that their oil sources were secured, do we Egyptians not have the right to make sure that our lives are secure? If you have a very well organized group that has hundreds of thousands of members that are very determined to rule you or kill you, what would your opinion be then? As an Egyptian that loves his country, I believe that people who do that do not deserve to live among us. If you think that these guys are defending their rights in power, do not forget that when young Egyptian people went in to the streets to send the message that the leadership’s way of running the country is against democracy and freedom, they killed many of them. Just few steps from the presidential palace. Moreover, a few hours later, Dr. Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt at that time, actually came …

How 2 Days in India Made Our Year

Starting off 2014 with a bang, 200 freedom fighters from 41 countries gathered in New Delhi, India for the second annual Asia Liberty Forum (ALF). “Hundreds came, from countries like Afghanistan and Bhutan to Tajikistan, Thailand and Vietnam. Those with decades of experience met others who had just joined the movement. Some initiatives wanted to promote the studies of classical liberalism while others engaged in practical initiatives. Yet all shared the desire to prove that individual freedom and free markets in open societies provide the best policy solutions,” observed Rainer Heufers, who spoke at our Lausanne conference last year. We were pleased to join in on the excitement as ISIL President, Ken Schoolland, was invited to speak at the event on the panel From Aid to Enterprise. “The Asia Liberty Forum was a magnificent congregation of free market activists from around the world. It was impressive to make the contacts and to learn what projects are being undertaken,” reported Pres. Schoolland about the event, “Among the most impressive is the India Property Rights Project of the Liberty Institute (LI) and Action Research in Community Health (ARCH). And I was stunned by the extensive ground work performed by the India Institute on ‘The Private School Revolution in Bihar.’” He was not alone in being impressed by the event, Prof. Cris Lingle, who also spoke at last year’s ISIL conference, “I have to say that it might have been one of the most interesting and exciting such events I have ever attended anywhere. It is quite clear that Asia is fertile terrain for spreading the ideas and ideals of supporting human liberty.” ISIL has been hosting World Conferences for a number of years, while at the start there were very few such events for international libertarians, today the number of providers has …