The Free Market Road Show, in association with Instituto Mises Barcelona, visited the capital of Catalonia last April 27th. The FMRS is an international seminars and lectures tour which promotes the message of open economy, sound money, and individual liberty across Europe, the Caucasus and Israel. This year we are organizing the biggest edition ever, with thirty five cities to be visited during six weeks.
Barbara Kolm, Director of the Free Market Road Show, gave an acid presentation regarding the state of affairs in her native country, Austria. According to her, Austria has lost vitality and does not crave for excellency anymore. Instead, a fictitious feeling of self-satisfaction comes from the fact that the country is (slightly above the) average. Kolm deplored this situation and called Austrians to look for competitiveness once more. “Austria needs to be willing to compete with the best again”, said Dr. Kolm.
In turn, José Luis Cordeiro went against populism and socialism. The Venezuelan intellectual explained the causal relationship between economic freedom and prosperity. On the contrary, he remarked that “there has never been a populist / socialist society that has ever been successful”. As an example of this, he said that “even the hard working East Germans failed under the socialist regime”.
But in Barcelona all eyes were on Leszek Balcerowicz. He was the architect of the transition of Poland from communism to freedom with his famous “Balcerowicz Plan” during the nineties.
Prof. Balcerowicz focused his keynote speech on the attacks on capitalism and how to defend. One of the most common attacks on capitalism is that the gains of one are the losses of another. To this fallacy, Balcerowicz replied: “The zero-sum game has nothing to do with economics. It has to do with the agenda of creating hate”.
He also asked the audience: “Can we really believe that free markets are to blame for the Greek crisis?” And he continued by remarking that we need real capitalist solutions and to avoid, at all costs, non-market phenomenon such as the so-called “too big to fail”.
The Polish reformer closed his speech saying that we should never be ashamed for defending free markets. These are the only ones capable of bringing growth and wellbeing to the society. What is more, he called upon us to become “better freedom fighters”. Our cause clearly demands it.