Each year, Freedom Week (“Semana de la Libertad”) celebrates the growing success of the liberty movement in Spain. This year’s events, hosted by Atlas Network partner organization Instituto Juan de Mariana, included the Ninth Congress of Austrian Economics, a Liberal Book Fair, and the annual Freedom Dinner, which honored Spanish economist Jesús Huerta de Soto as this year’s winner of the Juan de Mariana Award for an exemplary career in defense of freedom.
“The Congress is aimed at all those social scientists who are developing some research and want to submit to constructive criticism from the public,” said Juan Ramón Rallo, director of the Instituto Juan De Mariana, in a press release announcing the event (translated from Spanish). “Most of the works to be exhibited are enshrined in the tradition of Austrian thought. Along with presentations by researchers, the Congress will have three keynote speeches — Gloria Álvarez on populism, Miguel Anxo Bastos on public pensions, and Jesús Huerta de Soto on the policy of s. XXI — and three roundtables about inequality, education, and startups.”
Following the Congress of Austrian Economics was the Liberal Book Fair (“Liberacción”).
“The purpose of Liberacción is to perform a bibliographic review of all editorial publications, over the last 12 months, that have contributed to spread or develop liberal thought,” Rallo wrote (translated from Spanish). “The various authors of the works parade through the event to summarize the themes of their books to attendees.”
Closing out the week was Freedom Dinner (Cena de la Libertad), which was where the 2016 Juan de Mariana Award was presented to Professor Jesús Huerta de Soto. His career as an economist and professor spans more than four decades, during which he taught thousands of students and also served as vice president of the Mont Pelerin Society from 2000 to 2004. He additionally serves as CEO and president of ESPAÑA S.A., Compañía Nacional de Seguros, a company providing life insurance and private pension plans that his grandfather established in 1928.
“As you know, Mises called state interventionism and socialism ‘destruccionismo,’ in view of the adverse effects that both generate,” Huerta de Soto said in his acceptance remarks (translated from Spanish). “Fortunately, despite the ravages, the state has so far never managed to end all the momentum of the free initiative of the human beings that has been generated by the development of civilization. ... It is irrefutable proof that eventually the good, represented by private property, free enterprise, individual initiative, and, above all, moral principles, always, with God's help, prevails and is able to overcome evil incarnate by the fatal conceit of the socialist ideal and the ‘destruccionismo’ that characterizes the state.”
Instituto Juan de Mariana was founded in 2005 and has been working to promote opportunities for increasing freedom in society ever since. Rallo calls Freedom Week “the most important week of the year for Instituto Juan de Mariana” (translated from Spanish). “Three of our most beloved and popular events are concentrated during these days with the hope that many members of the institute, residents in many parts of the world, come to Madrid to join us during these days.”