Opposition to trade liberalization has become more popular around the world in recent years, particularly in Europe and the United States. Atlas Network partner Prometheus—Das Freiheitsinsitut (The Liberty Institute), working in Germany, has launched an initiative to combat anti-trade ideas and to promote the widespread benefits of free trade.
In November 2017, Prometheus published Freihandel für eine gerechtere Welt (Free Trade for a Fairer World), which explores the global advances made possible by trade liberalization. Featuring works by authors Frank Schäffler, co-founder of Prometheus and member of the Bundestag (German parliament); Florian A. Hartjen, fellow of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom; Clemens Schneider, managing director of Prometheus; and Björn Urbansky, economist at the University of Leipzig; Freihandel focuses on current trade issues such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (the European companion to the Trans Pacific Partnership) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, among others.
The cover of Freihandel für eine gerechtere Welt.
“Germany is one of the most trade-focused countries in the world,” said Schneider. “Big parts of its industry rely on open markets and open borders. Ironically, the country was one of the front-runners in Europe when opposition was raised against the TTIP agreement. Left-wing lobby groups managed to infuriate a big part of the population against symbolic parts of the agreement such as the investment protection courts or the ‘chlorine chicken.’ In this context, not only did the TTIP agreement obtain a bad reputation, but free trade as a concept was discredited.”
In addition to the publication of Freihandel, Prometheus has promoted its free trade campaign with the launch of www.freetrade.world, an interactive educational website identifying the common myths and misconceptions around free trade.
“In light of the increasing general opposition towards free trade all over the world, we decided to draw up a campaign that emphasizes the many benefits of free trade for the economy, the free and open society as a whole, and the peaceful progress of the world,” continued Schneider. “We published a manifesto which summarizes the benefits of free trade and drew up a website as an information hub. The website is intended to serve as an internationally accessible hub. The idea is that think tanks from different countries utilize the site to publish their work on the issue. The anti-globalization movement is active globally. Strangely, the pro-globalization movement is split up into national actors — at least in public perception. We want to make visible towards the public that we, too, are a strong and internationally active movement.”
Our Economy: Business Cycle and Crises
In cooperation with the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), Prometheus has translated the online course Our Economy: Business Cycle and Crises into German, which is provided for free on the organization’s website. The variety of tools provided by Prometheus are set to have a significant impact on improved public knowledge of trade policy and support for free trade, not only in Germany but throughout the European Union.
Prometheus—Das Freiheitsinstitut received a grant from Atlas Network for their online course translation project.