Laar Means Liberty

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Former Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar—a guest at Reason's August 23-26 event in Amsterdam—has been awarded the Friedman Prize for Liberty. Here's the word from the Cato Institute.

WASHINGTON—The Cato Institute today announced that the recipient of the 2006 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty is Mart Laar, the former prime minister of Estonia and main architect of his country's remarkable economic transformation into one of the world's freest and most dynamic economies.

The prize and its accompanying $500,000 cash award will be presented to Laar on May 18 at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. Named after Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, the prize is awarded every other year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advancing human freedom. The Friedman Prize went to the late British economist Peter Bauer in 2002 and to the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto in 2004.

Upon hearing that he had been chosen as the third recipient of the prize, Laar said: "I am very happy and proud to receive such an important prize. The Milton Friedman Prize is especially important to me as I am such an admirer of Milton Freidman's works and I am proud that we succeeded to prove in Estonia that Milton Friedman's ideas really work. This is not a prize for me but to all my fellow Estonians, who have made the Estonian miracle possible."

If you're interested in meeting Laar—or Trey Parker and Matt Stone, or Andrew Sullivan—go here for info on Reason's August event.

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  1. 6,379,371 Kroons (or EEK’s, in shorthand)! He’s loaded now!

  2. No doubt the Amsterdam thing will be enjoyable, particularly the whiplash from tracking Sullivan’s deeply held allegiances as they ricochet like a superball around the spectrum.

  3. Sigh… Reason put it in Amsterdam for the legal pot and legal prostitution!* There, I said it.

    *Not that there is anything wrong with weed or hookers.

  4. Estonia is a perfect example of a place where free market reforms and something like a flatter tax can be good policy to get the country on a fast path to recovery from the disaster that was Soviet occupation.

    It would be a huge mistake to take that as evidence that these policies would be the best policies once the economy had rebounded.
    The policies might, or they might not, but the differences between an emerging state long held under soviet domination, to a stable growing economy are significant.

    Good for Estonia though.

  5. This must be the loony who instituted the “flat tax” they have over there. I guess these sorts of little social experiments can work out in these small countries where the demographics are as flat as the taxes. So, CATO found themselves a relatively (we’ll see soon enough) successful flat tax example. Good for them.

    JMJ

  6. JMJ,

    “Nine nations in Central and East Europe adopted the flat tax since the fall of the Soviet Union.”

  7. Hey, I looked at the graphic on the page for the August event.

    Kyle, Stan and Cartman are there, but where’s Kenny?

    I know his family is poor, but couldn’t you guys subsidize him?

    Wait, you guys didn’t….

    You BASTARDS!

  8. MP, yeah, but they are all very small countries with very narrow demographics. In theory, a flat tax is a good idea – it’s “fair,” sort of. What it doesn’t take into account is that the damage wealth does to those without wealth. Progressive taxation (and I think you can do that without deductions) helps to alleviate class stratification – something the founders understood well. The way we’re heading now, we’ll have an aristocracy as big as France’s in the 18th century – and you know what happened after that!

    JMJ

  9. Has it ever been seen or studied whether those countries saw a benefit from instituting a flat tax per se, or moreso because they instituted a simple, easy to follow tax?

  10. but they are all very small countries with very narrow demographics

    If Russia is small, then what is big?

    http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed032403.cfm

  11. The way we’re heading now, we’ll have an aristocracy as big as France’s in the 18th century – and you know what happened after that!

    The Jacobin club (currently known as the neoconservatives).

    🙂

  12. little social experiments

    Nearly 250 million people live in flat tax nations.

  13. Progressive taxation (and I think you can do that without deductions) helps to alleviate class stratification – something the founders understood well.

    Which is why they instituted a progressive tax.

    Oh wait…

    – Josh

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