Atlas, Not Shrugging


The Washington Times reports on a recent series of grants and prizes awarded to free-market think tanks and activist and research groups pushing free-market ideas around the globe The money comes from the:

Atlas Economic Research Foundation, founded in 1981 to promote the work of fledgling global think tanks supporting private-property rights, limited government, the rule of law, and market economics.
Winners of the four major Templeton Freedom Prizes for Excellence in Promoting Liberty -- for market-oriented poverty programs; for ethics and values; for social entrepreneurship; and for student outreach -- received $10,000 awards, and second-place winners in each category received $5,000.
Among those honored this year: a pro-market think tank in Lithuania; an Ontario, Canada, institute promoting school-choice programs; a Mexican think tank that studies the economic costs of corruption; and a private research group in China that tracks deregulatory reforms adopted by the country's provincial governments.
Alejandro A. Chafuen, president and chief executive officer at Atlas, noted that "more people have been lifted out of poverty in the last two decades in China and India than at any time in human history."
"And it was the free market -- not any government program -- that was directly responsible," he said.
Atlas works with about 300 think tanks in 67 countries, providing financial and administrative support to many of the research groups in their struggling early years.

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  1. Skepticos,

    Well, to be blunt, you're wrong - having been to China a lot over the past decade or so I can confirm that there is a free trade in ideas there.

  2. China also includes Hong Kong now, so there could be some of that ol' HK market influence at play. Still, it is a rather statist comment to say "more people have been lifted out of poverty in the last two decades in China" rather than "more people have lifted themseleves out of poverty" so the skepticism is valid.

  3. A friend of mine who worked in Beijing for 6 months said that there's no lack of information (in all forms) in China, despite the Red's best efforts. Information, like the internet, routes around breaks/errors.

  4. Dont you know that the "market" IS a government program!

  5. Spoodge -

    That's odd - I though limited government was a market solution!

  6. Spoodge -

    That's odd - I though limited government was a market solution!

  7. Spoodge -

    That's odd - I though limited government was a market solution!

  8. Taiwan and South Korea were very repressive when their economies took off, probably at least as much so as China is today. In contrast, India had considerable intellectual freedom but statist economic policies and stayed poor.

  9. Totally free markets are what happen when government is limited to the function of protection against force and fraud. (Of course, markets may generate these services as well)

    Short of that; when markets are freer, individuals tend to be freer. Limiting government, so that market desires dominate, leads to greater prosperity as well.

  10. linsee,

    Actually, Taiwan and South Korea had already started along the way to political reform when their economies took off.

  11. Actually it was individuals and groups of individuals working in a free market created by individuals and groups of individuals that are responsible. I wish people would stop acting like markets are disembodied puppet masters.

  12. Here you see the face of Corporate Fascism. All hail Corporate Statism!

  13. I wish people would stop acting like markets are disembodied puppet masters.

    I try to make this point every time a private entity is criticized on this forum. Inevitably we get choruses of "Stop criticizing them and let the market decide." Well, the market is composed of individuals exchanging money, products, and information. Surely offering an opinion is part of that process.

  14. I thought a lot of those successful, publicly-traded Chinese businesses were started by the Red Army.

    And China's ban on independent trade unions and nonexistent legal protections for private-sector workers sure do help keep those entrpreneurs' labor costs down.

  15. The part about India I agree with, I have some exposure to exactly how that has worked, but the China part...hmmm...I have seen the Communists adapt to allow some business to proceed, but to call it free market? I haven't seen a lot of evidence that it really fits that description. More sort of a modified Maoism. How can a people without any freedom participate in a free market. Sorry, just can't get my head around that one.

  16. Actually, I really do have that question, does any one have any sources or references for this question?

    Can a free market really exist if the state aparatus only allows consumer products to be traded and keeps all trade of ideas off the market by threat of death or imprisonment.

    I know the possibility of an evolving system exists, however it seems that the Chinese are putting thier best minds to the task of limiting the freemarket to only consumables.

    My fear is that they will exceed, and subsequently ending any true benefit from the free market itself(not trying to degrade physical well being, just noting that to only be allowed freedom in your choice of cars seems to be the opposite of what is desired)

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