Competitive Enterprise Institute celebrates economist Hernando de Soto

CEI President Kent Lassman (left) presenting Hernando de Soto with the Julian L. Simon Memorial Award

The Competitive Enterprise Institute's (CEI) Annual Dinner and Reception brought together policy professionals, distinguished scholars, congressional staff, and enthusiastic supporters to celebrate CEI's effective advocacy for freedom. More than 700 attended CEI’s 2018 Annual Dinner and Reception. During the event, CEI presented economist Hernando de Soto with the 2018 Julian L. Simon Memorial Award.

A man with glasses and a beard speaks at a podium.
Jonah Goldberg of the National Review as the Master of Ceremonies

Jonah Goldberg of the National Review was the master of ceremonies at the dinner. Kent Lassman, president of CEI, provided further remarks. White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney delivered the keynote address, speaking about the benefits of tax reform and economic growth.

“[M]ost people, most of the time, are going to make good decisions about their own lives,” said CEI President Kent Lassman. “We don’t need an instruction manual from the Code of Federal Regulation … for the few of us who even know how to find it. We also don’t need hundreds of regulatory agencies micromanaging the way we do just about everything in this country. … This is what we believe at CEI. Whether it’s lawmakers, executive branch officials, judges in the courtroom, or simply our friends and family ... we argue, persuade, poke, and jab, but ultimately, we bring others along to join us to support the miracle of free people pursuing their own lives in harmony with others.”

A man wearing a suit delivers a speech from a podium onstage.
CEI President Kent Lassman

Every year, CEI presents the Julian L. Simon Memorial Award to an individual who promotes “mankind as the ultimate resource.” This year, the award was given to Hernando de Soto, a Peruvian economist who founded Atlas Network partner Instituto Libertad y Democracia in Lima. De Soto has worked to reduce poverty around the globe by focusing on the importance of property rights. In 2004, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and President Clinton described him as “the world’s most important living economist” at the 2004 World Economic Forum at Davos.

“Economist, author, humanitarian, advisor to world leaders, and a serial entrepreneur of ideas, Hernando de Soto has stamped his mark on history through pioneering work to put capital in the hands of the poor,” said Lassman. “Like Julian Simon, de Soto develops and promotes ideas premised on the belief that people are the ultimate resource and the means to eradicate impoverishment. A leader in business, a champion of property rights, and an innovator of technological solutions to age-old problems of title and ownership, de Soto is a force for good who builds on the legacy of Simon.”

The next CEI Annual Dinner & Reception will take place on June 20, 2019.