Athens: “You let me innovate and I will make you all rich”

The Free Market Road Show continued its tour of the cradle of the Western world visiting Athens. In these complex times for Greece the FMRS understands that our message for sound economy and liberalization is needed more than ever. Our local Athenian partner was the Liberty Forum of Greece – an institution that promotes freedom and has translated many important books of the liberal tradition to the Greek language.

The first panel was about entrepreneurship and its enemies.

Mr. Peter Jungen posed a very significant challenge: It is not the government picking winners, but the losers picking governments.

Deirdre McCloskey pick up on this point and said: “I know that now children are ashamed to say that their parents are in business. This is a very big problem.” To this business-phobia McCloskey opposed what she calls the “bourgeois deal”: you let me innovate and I will make you all rich.

Finally, Ben Powell from the Free Market Institute reminded that “people should go to the streets when government spends more, not less.”

The second panel was about economic growth.

John Charalambakis, a Greek-American economist, reflected on the concept of radicalism and its consequences. “In 1979 Business Week Magazine published that Wall St. was dead.” Indeed, the seventies were a lost decade for investment in the stock markets. However, by 1982 things had changed. Why? “The US had a new president who brought radical ideas,” explained Charalambakis. He recognized that Greece needs a sort of radicalism, but just not the kind Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis are offering.  “We do need radicals, but not the radicals we have now. We need radicals for free markets,” openly stated Mr. Charalambakis.

Finally, John Fund also dealt with radicalism. “I am the radical: but from a radicalism that works. But there is another radicalism which is reactionary.”