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LITHUANIAN ‘ECONOMICS IN 31 HOURS’ TEXTBOOK WINS LONDON BOOK FAIR AWARD

March 21, 2017

Economics education in Lithuania has been transformed by the Lithuanian Free Market Institute’s (LFMI) groundbreaking Economics in 31 Hours textbook, which, less than two years after its original publication, is now in use by a remarkable 68 percent of 9th and 10th graders in Lithuania’s schools — more than 22,000 students across the country annually. Now the London Book Fair has awarded Economics in 31 Hours with its Educational Learning Resources Award for “its pedagogical value, practicality and uptake in the promotion of innovation in economics education in Lithuania,” an honor granted as part of the fair’s International Excellence Awards program.

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THE VAST BURDEN OF U.S. ‘REGULATORY DARK MATTER’

March 21, 2017

Every day, the U.S. regulatory apparatus collects new regulations, proclamations, issuances, memoranda, etc., that add up to a tremendous burden on market activity and civil society. A new study from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), an Atlas Network partner based in Washington, D.C., aims to measure the extent of this “regulatory dark matter” by taking an inventory of exactly what kinds of regulation accumulate through government action at every level of the federal government, the detrimental effects on society, and prospects for substantial reform. The study has received significant coverage from both Forbes and Fortune magazines.

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EXAMINING FRANCE’S TURBULENT POLITICAL CLIMATE

March 20, 2017

France will hold a new presidential election at the end of April, with effects that will ripple throughout Europe, and the destructive ideas of both populism and socialism are playing a prominent role in candidate rhetoric. The Institute Formation de Politique (IFP), an Atlas Network partner based in France, provides an antidote to this divisive political climate by bringing young people together to discuss the principles of liberty and responsibility, and to develop strategies for putting them into action. Founded more than a decade ago, IFP has attracted more than 1,200 students to its seminars and programs.

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SPENDING TRACKER SHOWS HOW MUCH MONEY U.S. CONGRESSMEN WASTE

March 20, 2017

With the flick of a pen, government officials spend countless billions of dollars — an “unlimited credit card,” as Jonathan Bydlak, founder and president of Atlas Network partner the Institute for Reduced Spending, puts it. In order to help hold politicians accountable, the organization created its “What’s My Congressman’s Number?” campaign, hosted at SpendingTracker.org, which features an easy-to-use congressional spending tracker app. The Institute to Reduce Spending received a project grant to develop the campaign from Atlas Network’s Think Tank Leadership Training program in 2015.

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‘THE ATLANTIC’ PROFILES ATLAS NETWORK PARTNERS DEFENDING FREE SPEECH, INQUIRY, TOLERANCE

March 17, 2017

The United States has entered a particularly divisive period in terms of political rhetoric, with widespread cases of belittling and sneering at ideological opponents, as well as groups who shout down or even attack those who have differing viewpoints. A recent article in the Atlantic, titled “A Leftist and a Conservative Join Forces to Defend Free Speech,” profiles the efforts of some Atlas Network partners to promote the classical liberal values of free speech, tolerance, respect, and rigorous intellectual discourse that many across the ideological spectrum seem to have abandoned.

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HONDURAS OVERHAULS TAX CODE, WORKS TOWARD FLAT TAX APPROVAL

March 15, 2017

There are more than 1,968,165 taxpayers in Honduras — and they have long been burdened by a tax regime that violates due process rights, uses excessive military force to carry out tax raids, and disproportionately penalizes entrepreneurs in the middle and working classes. Fundación Eléutera, an Atlas Network partner in Honduras, launched an ambitious tax reform campaign nearly a year ago, proposing a system that would protect individual and property rights, as well as restoring accountability for public officials. Since the campaign began, 15 of Fundación Eléutera’s 20 proposals have been woven into the new tax code, which was signed into law in December and went into effect in January. The organization is now working on its proposal for a flat tax, which has received preliminary approval from the Honduran Congress.

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UTAH LEGISLATURE REPEALS COSTLY AND UNNECESSARY VEHICLE INSPECTION REQUIREMENT

March 10, 2017

Many states require mandatory vehicle safety inspections, and that adds up to a hefty pricetag for drivers, but the Libertas Institute, an Atlas Network partner based in Utah, points out that there is no conclusive evidence that such inspections actually contribute to safer vehicles. After Libertas published a policy brief in December, titled “Vehicle Safety Inspections: Another Wasteful Government Program,” the Utah legislature introduced H.B. 265 to repeal the state’s vehicle safety inspection program, giving the legislation its final passage on March 9.

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INDONESIA'S BIGGEST CHALLENGES

March 7, 2017

In many ways, Indonesia is a Southeast Asian success story. This vast archipelago contains the world’s fourth-largest population, and transitioned to democracy only 20 years ago during the Asian financial crisis. At the time, 24 percent of Indonesians lived below the poverty line. Since then, 10 million Indonesians have escaped poverty, and the poverty rate has dropped to just over 10 percent. An increase in population from 200 to 260 million means that an additional 60 million Indonesians now have sufficient incomes to cover their basic living expenses. Even so, 28 million people remain in poverty, thanks to Indonesia’s protectionist food policy, a lack of educational competition, and an economic populism that stifles the manufacturing sector. The Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS), an Atlas Network partner based in Jakarta, works toward reform in each of these areas with its research-based advocacy.

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