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NEWS + ANALYSIS

A TEST OF OUR CREED

March 24, 2020 | by Elena Leontjeva

The COVID-19 crisis has turned upside down healthcare systems, businesses, and governments. It has also hit our industry, non-profit free-market think tanks. We take heart in our unique credo, and now it is manifesting full force its crucial role not only for our movement, but for entire nations.

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OPEN MARKETS ARE THE BEST ANTIDOTE AGAINST THE COVID-19 CRISIS

March 23, 2020 | by Rainer Heufers

Earlier this month, I was invited by the Jakarta city government to speak about Indonesia’s food trade issues. When I asked what made garlic so expensive, the answer came quick and easy: COVID-19. Ninety percent of Indonesia’s garlic comes from China and since China was in lockdown, supplies dried up. Most Indonesians would have given the same answer, but that does not make it correct.

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LEBANON'S LONG GAME

January 9, 2020 | by Erik Eppig

With no simple solution in sight, Lebanese freedom fighters believe the time to act is now—for the future of their country.

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ALTERNATIVES TO THE NEW SCIENTISM IN DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS

December 9, 2019 | by Matt Warner

When Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo were announced as two of this year’s Nobel Prize winners, it prompted a fresh flurry of public critiques of their work in development economics. From voices as diverse as Oxfam’s Duncan Green and Marginal Revolution’s Alex Tabarrok, many economists and aid experts have cautioned against pinning all our poverty reduction hopes on their findings.

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WHY EGYPT IS NOT ON A PATH TO END ITS LONG STRUGGLE WITH POVERTY

December 9, 2019 | by Mahmoud Farouk

In 1979, Fouad Ajami wrote that Egypt finds herself between her “pride and place, between her limited material resources and her unbounded psychological esteem for herself, between her old glory and her current poverty." Forty years later, Egyptians are still immersed in the same contrast, and their struggle to leave poverty is still evident. The economic figures such as GDP coming from Egypt in the last three years raise three questions: 1) Is the Egyptian government on the right track to end its long-standing struggle with poverty, or are the figures nothing but recurrence of the previous wave of economic improvement before 2011? 2) Why are Egyptians unhappy with the recent reforms? and 3) What are the missing policies to make Egyptian society benefit from economic reforms?

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FREE MARKET HUMANITARIANISM: A PRIMER

October 2, 2019 | by Bryan Cheang

Young people around the world today are gravitating to socialist ideas. This isn’t a big secret, and is widely reported by numerous publications and channels. Of course, what they are attracted to isn’t Maoist-Stalinist state socialism (at least that’s what they say); rather, they embrace a constellation of ideas that focus on environmentalism, eradicating inequality, and greater recognition for marginalized identity groups.

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WHAT TRUMP’S FOREIGN AID FIGHT CAN TEACH US

August 27, 2019 | by Matt Warner

Last week Trump backed down from his controversial threat to cut billions in unused foreign aid funding. The news, no doubt, came as a huge relief to the more than 90 aid organizations that had joined together to urge him to reconsider. Sam Worthington, president, and CEO of InterAction, an alliance of more than 180 international NGOs, had even considered suing the White House but worried the move would ignite political divisions and renew calls to defund the “aid industrial complex.”

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THE OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS TO FREE TRADE IN EUROPE

August 15, 2019 | by Glen Hodgson

As the new European Parliament has been elected—and the new European Commission are set to take their seats in November—it is an ideal time to look at where the free trade opportunities exist in Europe and where more needs to be done. The European Union (EU) represents the largest economy in the world at USD 20 trillion, and its rules and regulations set precedents internationally. In this vein, the European Single Market has been one of the EU’s greatest achievements. Over the past two and a half decades, tariffs and quotas have been reduced between the EU Member States while trade and economic growth have flourished. Since the economic crisis - and in response to an increase in populist forces - however, we have seen a rise in non-tariff barriers, and a reluctance to truly complete the European Single Market through widening and deepening.

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BREXIT AND THE FREEDOM MOVEMENT

July 25, 2019 | by Michael Mastrianna

On June 23, 2016, Britons from all over the United Kingdom flocked to the polls to vote on leaving the European Community—what Peter Wilding, the chairman of think tank British Influence, jokingly dubbed“Brexit.” Over 33.5 million Brits cast their ballots, equal to around 72 percent of the eligible voting electorate. In the three years since two Prime Ministers have left 10 Downing Street while the EU continues to be a 28-nation bloc despite the referendum.

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MERGING FREE MARKET THINK TANKS: THE CASE OF LIBERTAD Y PROGRESO

June 13, 2019 | by Iván Cachanosky and Michel Kelly-Gagnon

In the world of for-profit corporations, organizations can grow organically but they can also do so through mergers and acquisitions. Conversely, non-profit organizations typically do not have access to this latter path in order to fuel their growth. But this does not mean that the fundamental justifications for or potential benefits of mergers or acquisitions processes that are found in the business world are absent from the not-for-profit world. For instance, a fragmented market could very well be better served following a round of consolidations. Synergies could be found and efficiency gains could be made. And, in the case of hostile takeovers, less competent management teams could be purged and replaced by better ones.

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HONOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP, NOT THE CORPORATE STATE THAT PRODUCES MISERY, HUNGER, AND SCARCITY

May 14, 2019 | by Antonella Marty

Throughout Latin America, it is clear that the support base for home-grown populism lies in the state sector—state-owned companies created and maintained by successive governments. As a general rule, they have proved to be deficient and unproductive, and their final product is invariably a string of failures and poor economic results. By the same token, these companies are run by state bureaucrats who essentially fear competition and strongly reject anything related to innovation and progress. The spirit of innovation and entrepreneurs is fundamental to the growth of any country, provided an atmosphere of absolute labor freedom is assured. Those men who make a career out of overcoming state regulation are generators of competition and the engines of growth. They improve the lives of ordinary people. They are the real heroes, and plenty of them can be found all over the world.

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CAN THINK TANKS CREATE THE INEVITABLE?

April 30, 2019 | by Dr. Lyall Swim

Milton Friedman once noted that the role of think tanks is to “primarily keep options open, to have available alternatives, so when the brute force of events makes a change inevitable, there is an alternative available to change it.” Friedman’s sentiment is often cited as a kind of value proposition for think tanks around the globe.

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HOW THE RETAILER TAX IN SLOVAKIA WAS ABOLISHED

April 25, 2019 | by Martin Vlachynsky

Several Eastern European countries have been flirting with various forms of a “retailer tax.” This tax is similar (but not equal) to the value added tax (VAT) and the sales tax. The proclaimed aim of the tax is to “punish” international retail chains, who have been repeatedly blamed for problems of local farmers and the local food and beverages industry. In reality, it primarily hits consumers.

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THE DIMINISHING ROLE OF THE WORLD BANK: HOW LOCAL THINK TANKS ARE LEADING THE POVERTY FIGHT

February 7, 2019 | by Matt Warner

News that the World Bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim, is calling it quits to join the private sector has heightened the debate over what to do about foreign aid inefficacy. Kim made clear in an email to staff that, in his view, the “massive development finance gap” in low-income countries is best addressed by private investment. Kim’s likely successor, David Malpass, shares this view and has gone on record describing the World Bank’s financing approach as outdated due to increases in private capital available to developing countries.

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CAN THINK TANKS SUCCEED WHERE FOREIGN AID HAS FAILED?

January 25, 2019 | by Matt Warner

In Ruhiira, Uganda, an international aid project once offered villagers $300,000 to grow maize instead of matoke, a banana-like starch. Maize, the aid experts reasoned, was better to farm because it is nutritious, drought-resistant, and produces high yields. The experts were right. At harvest time, the villagers found themselves with a bumper crop of 3,840 tons of maize.

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OVERCOMING A LEGACY OF SOCIALISM IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, ONE CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION AT A TIME

November 29, 2018 | by Edo Omercevic

Consumer rights represent the basic ground for functional market institutions and without the right to terminate contracts with service suppliers, non-egalitarian laws are introduced and the market suffers intense violation of freedom of contract and contract equalities are deteriorated. History cannot be eradicated and our institutions are some kind of depositors of our collective memory. As a result, many institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (“B&H”) are still based on a socialist institutional legacy, a legacy that we started to leave behind since the early 90’s of the last century. One example of such transformational resistance is the institution of a central heating service that is very common in the country.

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THE JOY OF FREEDOM

October 26, 2018 | by Dr. Tom G. Palmer

It is a joy to take part in a festival of liberty, a truly liberal event. “Festival” is really the right word, because liberty is truly something to be celebrated, its realization a cause for joy and an occasion for happiness. And the occasion for happiness is not merely our own freedom, but the freedom of other people as well. Contrary to the mischaracterizations of Marxist and fascist ideologues, who willfully misstate classical liberal ideas, liberty is not a solitary condition, but a condition of equal freedom that we enjoy with others under the rule of law.

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REMEMBERING BASIL FISHER

October 8, 2018 | by Madeline Grant

Today (October 8th) would have been the birthday of Basil Fisher, the younger brother of the IEA’s founder, Sir Antony Fisher. Though few remember Basil Fisher today, his life (and death) have made a lasting impact.

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AMLO—IS MEXICO HEADED BACK TOWARD THE ROAD TO SERFDOM?

August 29, 2018 | by Dr. Roberto Salinas León

On Dec. 1, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, better known as AMLO, will become the next President of Mexico for the six-year term of 2018-2024. His stunning victory represents a watershed moment in the nation’s transition to a modern democracy. AMLO won with almost 53 percent of the popular vote; and his party, Morena, was able to capture majorities in both legislative houses, in addition to securing control over a large handful of state governorships and state assemblies.

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