Has Capitalism Saved the World?

Leon Louw gives a critique of Thomas Pickettey’s claim that, “capitalism has failed the world”. Quite the contrary, said Leon Louw in a presentation at the World Conference on Market Liberalization in Bali, 2015, hosted by the International Society for Individual Liberty. According to Louw, “Poor people in rich countries are amongst the richest people on earth.  Being poor in America means you only have 3 color TV sets, and you don’t have the latest iPad.” “We have just witnessed, and are witnessing the greatest achievement in humanity ever in history.  And that is the virtual elimination of poverty,” said Leon Louw.  He demonstrated a graph of the world poverty rate falling by 80%.  

A Free-Market Solution to India’s Sanitation Problem

Nick Holvik and Emily MacNintch are working on a project to help solve the sanitation problem in India.  Nick explains below: If you have ever been to India, I’m sure you’ve smelled a problem. Many of the people openly defecate, which contaminates groundwater, crops, and drinking water. This spreads disease and kills millions worldwide. Most of these deaths are completely preventable. The World Health Organization and Unicef estimate that in some villages, 65% of the people openly defecate, and the country has about a 50% open defecation rate as a whole. The situation gets worse when we look at women, who are often kidnapped, or become victims of sexual assault as they have to venture off alone to simply use the bathroom. Once adequate sanitation is provided, school attendance goes up, especially for women. Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thinks he has a solution to the problem. Modi wants to tackle the problem with government money. Modi is giving 15,000 rupees to each home without a toilet, for the purpose of building a toilet. Will this solution work? Well, according to Soutik Biswas of BBC News, many Indians don’t use toilets because it’s part of their culture.  Another report in the Economist showed that fixing dreadful sanitation in India requires not just building toilets, but also changing habits. Princeton economist, Diane Coffey, found that even among households with a working latrine, more than 40% reported at least one member of the family still defecating in the open. The study showed that if the toilet was government built, they were even more likely to defecate in the open instead of using a toilet! Government cannot solve this problem, we need the free-market to do so!  Entrepreneurs need to find another way to provide incentive to the people of India to use toilets. …

Poop Out of Poverty

Emily MacNintch and Nick Holvik have stumbled on to a brilliant idea to help reduce disease, and save lives.  Please watch their video, and consider voting for their idea on the like provided. Video transcribed below:   “Hello, my name’s Emily, and my team wants a National Geographic grant to collect poop.  In a world where we have become so technologically advanced, it’s easy to forget that over 2.4 billion people lack access to proper sanitation.  In other words, more people have cell phones than toilets.   This leads to people openly defecating and spreading disease.  A major disease that it spreads is diarrhea.  It takes atoll of 5,000 children daily, making it the second leading killer of children worldwide.  The majority of these deaths could be prevented just by using adequate sanitation.   In 2000, the UN set a goal to half the proportion of people without sustainable access to basic sanitation by 2015.  It is 2014, and it is known as one of the worst performing development goals, specifically being stalled in South Asia, and Sub Saharan Africa.  India accounts for 60% of the people who rely on open defecation worldwide.   Every one dollar spent on sanitation can result in up to nine dollars in benefits and productivity.  What if we told you we could create even more value for the community?   We want to bring communal bio-digester composting toilets to communities that need it.  This will not only help to solve the waste problem, but will provide communities with energy and fertilizer.   We want to equipped community members to create sustainable businesses from the energy and fertilizer produced.  This will not only create jobs, but will ensure that the toilets are promoted, safe, and clean, so that people will use them.   Don’t forget …

Reflections on Kazakhstan: Ideas & Performance

I’ve traveled a lot, but never to such an exotic destination as Kazakhstan. The country and the people are a mix of everything Asia—Russian, Mongolian, Turkish, Indian, modern, prosperous, intellectual, traditional, proud, friendly, and aware. I landed on the vast steppes of Astana, the amazingly glamorous new capitol fueled by vast new oil riches of the Caspian Sea. And departed from Almaty, the old capitol nestled at the foot of spectacular snow-capped peaks that skirt the ancient Silk Road. Through the auspices of Pavel Kotyshev, Executive Director of the Institute for Development and Economic Affairs (IDEA), and the Entrepreneurship Development Fund (DAMU), I was fortunate to have been invited to join 10,000 other participants at the Astana Economic Forum & the UN World Anti-Crisis Conference. It was truly a gala affair. I am grateful to Aigerim Zhumadilova, Galiya Zholdybayeva, and all wonderful folks at DAMU for their extraordinary hospitality. If you are looking for a man of action to promote entrepreneurship and the ideals of liberty in Central Asia, Pavel Koktyshev is the star. Pavel is efficient and capable, he is a superior intellect, and he is good friends with everyone. At every turn, there were people and projects familiar to him. Why such global events in Central Asia? I think the preeminent purpose was to showcase the strategic prominence of Kazakh oil and the leadership of President (for life), Nursultan Nazarbayev (above left). On a tour of a local park I found this quote from the national constitution: “The Republic of Kazakhstan proclaims itself a democratic, secular, legal and social state whose highest values are an individual, his life, rights and freedoms.” This was surely music to a libertarian’s ears. Yet, one could wonder if this was a reference in practice to the natural rights of all—or to one individual …

The Mariel Boatlift: Voting With Boats

It is said that freedom always wins when people are allowed to vote with their feet…they move from locations of high tyranny to places of relative freedom—always in very great numbers. 34 years ago today, on April 20, 1980, Fidel Castro announced that any Cubans who wanted to leave could do so without punishment from the port town of Mariel. In the clearest possible expression of their hatred of Castro’s rule, Cubans voted by boat. More than a hundred thousand took to rickety, makeshift vessels in what came to be known as the Mariel Boatlift. Americans in Miami grabbed whatever boats they could find to reunite with friends and relatives across the channel. Braving hurricane winds, exposure at sea, pirates and sharks, desperate refugees crowded aboard anything that floated, regardless of seaworthiness, because freedom seemed so worth it. At first the U.S. government of Jimmy Carter lived up to the ideals of the Statute of Liberty and embraced these refugees. The U.S. Coast Guard didn’t actually go to the port of Mariel to provide safe transportation for those eager to leave, but the U.S. armed services did a commendable job of rescuing many of those who became stranded on the high seas. After all, the U.S. had sanctioned Cuba for 20 years, condemning Castro’s regime for the brutality of his communist dictatorship, for the forced economic squalor and repression of free speech and civil liberties. The U.S. had even attempted to overthrow or assassinate Castro. So why wouldn’t Americans at least welcome those who tried to flee Cuba? Then the mood turned against refugees when it was rumored that Castro’s trick was to release “undesirables” from prisons and mental hospitals, sending them all to America. Jimmy Carter, in an election year, then agreed with Castro that they would both put …

33,000 Cheers for Liberty in South Africa!

One hundred years after the 1913 Native Land Act was passed in South Africa, the first fully tradable title deeds were released to black home owners in the Ngwathe municipality in the Free State province. Initiated in 2010, the Free Market Foundation’s (FMF) Khaya Lam (my house) project serves to convert land currently held under a complex variety of restrictive tenures and titles to unambiguous, freely tradable ownership. Secure property rights represent one of the most important requirements for the protection of both economic freedom and civil liberties. The Ngwathe municipality prides itself on the extent to which it has implemented land transformation for black South Africans. Virtually all black-occupied land has been properly surveyed, included in town planning schemes, proclaimed, and registered in the deeds registry. The objective of the ambitious but achievable project is to have all lawfully held plots in South Africa upgraded to unambiguous, tradable and mortgageable ownership at no cost to the lawful residents In consultation with the FMF, the Ngwathe municipality has resolved to become the first urban area in South Africa where all land is privately held under full freehold title on the basis of complete equality between whites and blacks. The project is truly historic and has the potential to be the first ever large-scale substantive project to undo the land disempowerment of apartheid that is still endured by millions of South Africans. It will set a precedent for reform of its kind to continue in South Africa, in other developing countries, and perhaps even in developed countries. Most of all, it will unlock the economic potential of thousands of householders, opening the door for large-scale economic growth and liberating millions of individuals in the process. Hernando de Soto, said in his internationally best-selling book, The Mystery of Capital, that throughout the …

India Property Rights Project: Empowering Hundreds of Thousands of Farmers

A property rights revolution is taking root in Gujarat, India, that is spreading across rural India, securing land title for hundreds of thousands of farmers. The evidence of success is so strong that this movement is expected to spread to 900 million plots of land in India and millions more across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. [button url=”#donate” style=”blue” size=”medium”]Make a donation now![/button] Hernando de Soto has called international attention to the lack of property rights in developing nations, resulting in the single greatest deterrent to economic development. But recognizing this isn’t enough. “De Soto’s approach to making change has had limited success so far,” remarks Barun Mitra, President of the Liberty Institute in New Delhi. “De Soto has written books,” says Mitra, “spoken at lofty forums, advised heads of state, suggested ways of changing the law to recognize the property rights of the millions of poor. But this approach has invariably run into opposition by powerful sections of society who have so far benefited from the prevailing lack of clear titles.” Frustrated by the lack of impact from academic conferences, Barun has decided that a real and practical demonstration of establishing property title among the vast population of rural farmers is the only way to prove the value of these ideas. Such proof will not only win over and empower the rural poor, but will captivate the interests of social and political leaders across the ideological spectrum. BUILDING THE FOUNDATION On a Sunday morning in January 2014, three hundred farmers came from miles around Sagai village in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Most of them left their homes at 6:30 AM walking, riding busses, and sharing rides on jeeps to gather in time for the noon meeting of the Action Research in Community Health & Development (ARCH) center …

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 …

China: 35 Years Along the Path to Capitalism

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the opening of China, when earth shattering reforms were officially launched. Policy changes introduced at the Third Plenum meeting in December 1978 did not instantly make China into a capitalist country—because capitalism arises from the people’s response to freedom rather than from government policy—but it laid the essential foundation for development of capitalism. In the years since, 680 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty and the country has become the world’s second largest economy. How could this miracle take place? To answer this question, we call upon Dr. Ning Wang. Dr. Wang and Nobel-Prize winning economist Ronald Coase co-authored the recently released book “How China Became Capitalist,” which brilliantly tells the story of China’s 30-year transition from a closed, communist, agrarian economy to a rapidly growing industrial economy. Kenli Schoolland: What was it that enabled such a dramatic shift in leadership to take place at this event? Ning Wang: It was due to the combination of many factors, some more contingent and some less so. In the first place, there was a strong demand for change among the leadership, or more accurately, a demand for furthering the kind of changes that started after Mao’s death in 1976, that is, a shift of focus from political movements to economic development. Inside Chinese politics, Deng Xiaoping had been widely regarded as a successor to Mao (even by Mao himself). Even though Deng was deprived of power right before Mao’s death; he was never humiliated in a way that was done to other Chinese leaders who opposed to Mao, like Liu Shaoqi. Before the Third Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, Deng was on the rise to power. His return to the center of political power was sealed at the Third Plenum. Then, among …

Sep 21-22 Workshop on Forest Rights Act — Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

Workshop on Forest Rights Act Strengthening the Gram Sabha www.RighttoProperty.org 21-22 September2013 Patmada , East Singhbhum, Jharkhand Organised by ARCH Vahini & Liberty Institute with the support of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom 21 September 2013 • 10 am -12.30 pm: Field visit and demonstration of use of GPS at Sootriuli Dangar village, near Jamshedpur • 3 pm – 4 pm: Introduction and demonstration of www.RighttoProperty.org • 4 pm – 5 pm: Essentials of FRA, and the challenges • 6 pm – 8pm: Sharing of Experience regarding implementation of FRA 22 September 2013 • 9.30 am- 12 noon: Role of Gram Sabha in FRA • 2 pm – 4 pm: Strengthening the Gram Sabha • 4 pm – 5 pm: Conclusion Contact details: Coordinator: Arvind Anjum, Jamshedpur Mobile: +91-94311 13667 Email: arvindanjum5@gmail.com ARCH Vahini, Baroda Email: m_ambrish@hotmail.com Website: www.archgujarat.org Liberty Institute, New Delhi Email: info@righttoproperty.org , barun@libertyinstitute.org.in, Tel: +91-11-28031309 Websites: www.InDefenceofLiberty.org | www.EmpoweringIndia.org | www.RighttoProperty.org