First FMRS visit to Seville

This edition of the Free Market Road Show definitely has a Spanish flavor. Last April 30th the Road Show made its third stop in the Iberian Peninsula. The chosen city was Seville, and it was the first time the FMRS visited it. Partnering with the Instituto Juan de Mariana Sevilla, the results of this first excursion could not have been better.

In front of an audience of 150+ individuals, Alvino-Mario Fantini spearheaded the event mentioning the dangers that threaten freedom of speech. “Political correctness ideology takes away our freedom”, eloquently said the Editor of The European Conservative.

Then it was the turn of Mark Klugmann. Who is Mr. Klugmann? Simply put, he is probably one of the most innovative people within the free market world. He is currently working for the establishment of LEAP Zones (or ZEDEs) in Honduras. These ZEDEs will be very special autonomous zones which go way beyond economic zones. Based upon the concept of “institutional leapfrogging”, Klugmann wants the ZEDEs to be “good jurisdictions” – a scarce good in the world. These jurisdictions will not copy good institutions but will make use of the existing ones. Thus, for instance, legal disputes will be settled by common law judges of the British Courts. Technological leapfrogging means that you can use and apply the latest technology easily. With institutional leapfrogging you make use of the oldest and most corroborated.

Klugmann centered his speech on the possibilities that LEAP zones can offer to Europe. The one and perhaps most important is that they could be a way to avoid fossilization. And by this we mean the excessive burden of regulation which is choking innovation in Europe.

This zone-based approach offers many advantages. One of those is, as Klugmann mentioned, that “it can be done at the speed of businesses, not at the speed of democracy”.

From the same panel Isabel Benjumea also took part, a businesswoman and leader of the Red Floridablanca, a network to promote Classical Liberalism.

Ms. Benjumea gave a very passionate speech defending what businessmen do. She criticized that in Spain it is “ok” to be an entrepreneur but it is “very bad” to be a businessman. Businessmen are the ones who pay taxes, she said, and she continued by saying that Spain will not have a bright future if the trend to demonizing ambition continues.

Finally, Benjumea mentioned the problem of tainted entrepreneurship referring to the huge number of national and supranational subsidies which are available. “If entrepreneurship depends of government handouts, it is not true entrepreneurship”.

The extraordinary event was closed by the Spanish economist María Blanco. She talked about educational reform. “The solution to our educational problem is institutional diversity”, said Blanco straightforwardly and continued, “you should be free to choose in education: that is the best way”.

She closed her remarks pointing to the fact that “businesses know that universities are not producing the graduates companies need”.