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NEWS + ANALYSIS

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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IN MEMORIAM: ANDREA MILLEN RICH, 1939–2018

August 2, 2018 | by Dr. Tom G. Palmer

The cause of liberty has lost a dear friend and a wise counsel, but her spirit remains active through every person she convinced of the value of liberty and through every person she inspired to stand against violence and tyranny; they are far, far more than they know. Andrea Rich (1939-2018) was a businesswoman, publisher, TV producer, philanthropist, Atlas Network board member, enthusiastic lover of life, and an always dependable friend.

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GETTING BEYOND THE NONPROFIT PLATEAU: START WITH A TEAM PERFORMANCE TUNE-UP

June 22, 2018 | by Matt Warner

Good teams can hit a wall. Despite talented people and no shortage of hard work, sometimes the rate at which results have been eclipsing previous benchmarks starts to slow down. Sound familiar? I’m talking about the puzzling plateau that frustrates not because anything is really going wrong. It’s because the level of success has remained stubbornly bounded by some imaginary wall.

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OPENING UP FOOD TRADE IN INDONESIA A WIN FOR FORMER THINK TANK SHARK TANK WINNER

January 22, 2018 | by Rainer Heufers

The Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) won Atlas Network’s Think Tank Shark Tank competition in 2016 for its pitch to create a massive open online course to engage university students as part of a wider plan to open up food trade in Indonesia – specifically to move the country away from its protection of the local rice industry. In a sign of growing traction of CIPS’ efforts, the Indonesian government recently decided to import 500 thousand tons of rice from Vietnam and Thailand by the end of the month of January.

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THE YOUNG AFRICAN SCHOLARS COLLOQUIUM, OCTOBER 2017

January 16, 2018 | by Linda Whetstone

Last year I had the pleasure of attending the Young African Scholars Colloquium, which took place in Nairobi in October. It was a new initiative of Network for a Free Society (NFS), generously supported by the Goodrich Foundation, to give younger colleagues in Sub-Saharan Africa the opportunities afforded to those in other parts of the world by the Liberty Fund to foster thought and encourage discourse on enduring issues pertaining to liberty. The organizing theme of the colloquium was an Introduction to Liberty, Social Thinking and Constitutional Government.

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IN MEMORIAM: GEORGE M. YEAGER, 1934-2017

January 8, 2018 | by Dr. Tom G. Palmer

Some in the liberty movement, but especially those in New York, may remember a tall, quiet, dignified gentleman who economized on words and often preferred to solicit the opinions of others over advancing his own. His name was George M. Yeager and he will be seen no longer. He left us on December 31 of last year, after dealing patiently and stoically with a variety of ailments.  

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HOW WE ACHIEVED VICTORY IN BULGARIA’S "WAR ON CASH"

December 21, 2017 | by Georgi Vuldzhev and Stoyan Panchev

On September 14, 2017, Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry tabled a proposal to lower the upper limit on cash payments to 5,000 Bulgarian levs (the equivalent of EUR 2,500 or USD 3,000) from 10,000 levs as part of an overall tax reform package related to VAT and some excise taxes. Cash restrictions of such scope would lead to significant changes for many Bulgarians, who still mostly rely on cash payments for many of their purchases, like second-hand car sales. The justification given for why such tightening of existing financial regulations was needed, however, was that it would reduce the size of the shadow economy and bring in more tax revenue.

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CONTEXT, CONTINUITY, AND TRUTH: THEORY, HISTORY, AND POLITICAL ECONOMY

November 9, 2017 | by Peter J. Boettke

It is a great honor for me to give the Liggio Lecture here at Atlas Network’s Liberty Forum. Leonard Liggio truly was the Ambassador of Liberty throughout his amazing career. He was also a great friend and mentor to many of us in this room. My first interactions with Leonard were through the Institute for Humane Studies in the early 1980s, and as a teacher, and as a mentor.

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GETTING YOUR REFORM IDEAS ACROSS THE FINISH LINE

September 29, 2017 | by Zilvinas Silenas

Encouraged by Atlas Network’s “Leveraging Indices for Economic Freedom” initiative, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) took up the challenge to implement three changes in Lithuania. First, to reduce time and effort required to get a building permit. Second, to streamline the procedure of connecting new users to the electricity grid. Third, to merge the social security payments by employer and employee into one payment. While this would not actually reduce the effective burden on employees, at least people will finally become aware that in addition to income tax, a third of their earnings are diverted into social security.

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PIONEER INSTITUTE’S NEXT STOP: A FIRST-CLASS TRANSIT SYSTEM

September 18, 2017 | by AJ Skiera

The Boston area’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA or the T) serves 1.3 million commuters who rely on the system to get to work each day. Institutional and operational issues led to the system’s virtual shut down for several weeks in early 2015, leaving thousands of riders in the lurch and taking a devastating toll on the regional economy. This prompted Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, an Atlas Network partner based in Boston, to take action by offering actionable, commonsense reforms to the MBTA’s finances, governance, and operations in order to bring costs under control, improve efficiency, and enhance performance and reliability.

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OVERCOMING THE OUTSIDER’S DILEMMA: CAN PHILANTHROPISTS HELP THE DEVELOPING WORLD?

September 6, 2017 | by Matt Warner

Today’s top-down, economic development aid model is unavoidably flawed. The nature of economic development requires idiosyncratic solutions that can’t be successfully designed or administered by outsiders. Instead, locally grown solutions aimed at transforming the institutional environment in favor of market growth, primarily through securing economic rights for the poor, represent the best chance for accelerating the pace of poverty alleviation throughout the world. For outsiders, this represents a serious dilemma. Is there a way to help without interfering? A new strategy offered by Atlas Network successfully combines the resources of philanthropy with the locally grown research and advocacy agenda of independent, market-oriented think tanks working to strengthen the institutions that foster growth for the world’s poor. Benchmarking their efforts to global indices like the “Doing Business” report published by the World Bank, those think tanks are making measurable progress. The results are significant. According to new research commissioned by Atlas Network, a five percent increase on the “Doing Business” scale represents a 1-percentage point reduction in poverty.

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INESCAPABLE CONCLUSIONS

June 13, 2017 | by Brad Lips

In my lifetime, I want to see the benefits of free trade as broadly appreciated as the fact of gravity. I want to see civil society replace much of what exists today as the welfare state, so government’s role is reduced to a simple safety net for those who need it the most. I want a sound monetary system that’s immune from the tampering of government officials. I want to see absolute poverty eliminated from the earth, and our ancient hatreds be washed away by a growing culture of tolerance and respect.

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PROMOTING LIBERTY IN SPAIN THROUGH GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM

May 1, 2017 | by Andreas Kohl

Spain has long had excellent think tanks that specialize in the economic aspects of freedom, and carry out the crucial work of producing high-level academic, theoretical papers. In 2015, though, a group of Spanish libertarians were concerned about the need to develop a more engaging approach toward civil society — a task that we believe is now more fundamental than ever. That year, we created the Foundation for the Advancement of Liberty (Fundación para el Avance de la Libertad) in Madrid, harnessing the skills of people who had spent many years promoting the values of a free society through politics, think tanks, academia, and other fields.

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POLL SHOWS THAT GREEKS TURN AWAY FROM BIG GOVERNMENT AS THEY SEEK JOBS AND GROWTH

March 21, 2017

The Greek economy has deteriorated steadily during the past eight years of unprecedented fiscal collapse, and the people may finally be fed up with big government, runaway spending, public-sector corruption, and job-killing regulations. A recent in-depth survey, published by the daily Kathimerini newspaper and the new think tank Dianeosis, reveals that Greek society seems to be experiencing an ideological sea change. Economic freedom is steadily becoming the clear victor in the battle of ideas in Greece.

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SLOVAKIA’S CATALYST FOR CHANGE

March 17, 2017 | by Eric D. Dixon

Modern Slovakia is like night and day compared to its years under communist rule, before the 1989 Velvet Revolution hastened the end of communist control, ultimately dissolving the Soviet Union in 1991. The nation has forged its own path since its Velvet Divorce separated Slovakia from the Czech Republic only two years after that. Today, more and more Slovakia is embracing market exchange and international trade, and has achieved a stable currency, all of which contribute to the country’s economic growth. INESS is committed to serving as a catalyst for reform, advancing its vision of a freer, more prosperous Slovak Republic at every opportunity.

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PULLING THE ANDON CORD: USING TEAMS TO MAKE DECISIONS

March 16, 2017 | by Matt Warner

In the early 1980s, the workers at a General Motors plant in California had become so disillusioned with their jobs that they sometimes sabotaged the quality of the cars on purpose. The plant began to perform so poorly that the company shut it down. That failure, though, is only the first part of a great turnaround story. In a strange twist, two years later GM found itself partnering with Toyota to reopen the plant. This time, it became a top performer despite a staff comprising mostly the same workers. What changed?

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CONTRACTING FOR SUCCESS

February 27, 2017 | by Matt Warner

A few years ago, I was frustrated with a contractor’s failure to meet even the most basic terms of our agreement. I had not heard from him for an extended period despite sending emails to see what was happening. When we finally connected, we were both frustrated (I had stopped payment, which usually gets someone’s attention). As I explained my reasons, pointing out his failure to meet the terms of the agreement, he replied, “OK, well, frankly, I never even read that agreement.” I was floored.

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INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT SUBJECTS UK TO DYSTOPIAN SURVEILLANCE AUTHORITY

January 9, 2017 | by Renate Samson

Intelligence agencies and police in the United Kingdom have been secretly using unauthorized techniques to eradicate what they defined as online “safe spaces,” where criminals, terrorists, and paedophiles are believed to hide. In 2015, the U.K. government proposed legislation to make these techniques lawful, and ultimately passed the Investigatory Powers Act in December. Beginning on Jan. 1, all U.K. citizens are now subject to monitoring by the state in ways usually considered the preserve of dystopian science fiction or undemocratic totalitarian regimes.

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INEQUALITY, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF MOBILITY

December 6, 2016 | by Gonzalo Schwarz

For Christmas, our five-year-old son Sebastian wants a Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage. Our two-year-old daughter Arianna will also play with those cars, although we will continue to try to get her to like dolls. Despite these presents and all the presents in the years to come, however, my wife and I think the best present we ever could have given our two kids was to be born in the United States. This is one of the few countries in which you can tell your kids, “You can be anything you want,” where that assurance can actually come true. We believe that this country provides the greatest opportunities in the world, although both left and right agree that economic mobility here has stagnated. As we have taken a closer look at U.S. policies, it has become clear that some of the same structural limits to mobility that afflict Latin America could also be holding back the United States.

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