“Too often ‘austerity’ means more taxes and a heavier burden on the private sector”
The Free Market Road Show, the event that will visit thirty cities across Europe, made its fourth stop in London.
The FMRS English visit consisted of three separate events organized in association with the Tax Payers Alliance and the Institute of Economic Affairs.
The breakfast session –chaired by Mark Littlewood– gathered MEP Syed Kamall, John Stevens, Matt Sinclair and Vicky Pryce who discussed about the levels of deregulation and decentralization present at the EU.
Dr Kamall opened the discussion criticizing the view that a single market necessarily leads to a single currency which in turn leads to single rules. “This ‘one size fits all policy’ simply does not work and could have terrible consequences”.
Mr. Stevens was perhaps the most provocative by saying that England’s Center-Right has not been able to articulate a coherent position regarding the common currency. “The Euro can be seen either as another centralizing step or as an extraordinary tool to disciple formerly monetary irresponsible governments”. According to Stevens, the Center-Right has not yet made up its mind about which of these visions suits the Euro best.
At noon the Tax Payers Alliance put together a lunch session that combined local and international speakers. Moderated by Jonathan Isaby, the speakers were MP Kwasi Kwarteng, Dillian Sharp –from “Business for Britain” –, Terry Anker and Mark Klugmann.
Mr. Kwarteng, himself a political figure, expressed that many of the difficulties the free market ideas face stems from the fact that classical liberal politicians have not lived up to the challenge of keeping a consistent position.
Finally in the evening the “Arthur Seldon Room” at the Institute of Economic Affairs was a perfect venue for the closing of the London stop of the FMRS.
The event started with Ralf Boeckle, from the Austrian Embassy in London, who presented a very confident view about the future of the European Union. He even considered that “the Eurozone is a gravitation center which will attract the countries that have not yet entered the common currency area”.
Steve Davies, Director of Education at IEA, eloquently expressed his concerns about the functioning of European democracy: “There is a gap between politicians and the people and this is what drives voters towards populism”.
Dan Mitchell, from Cato Institute, closed the event blaming national governments for the current crisis. “The European problem is not the European Union”, said Mitchel, “the problem is the bad policies that the local governments implement”.
The American economist stressed the lack of real austerity throughout Europe. “Too often ‘austerity’ means more taxes and a heavier burden on the private sector”.
He also presented a gloomy outlook regarding the heavy costs of European social schemes: “Entitlement programs work when you have population pyramid, not a population cylinder”.
Mitchell finally warned about the possibility that France or Belgium could trigger a new episode of the crisis because of their shaky economic situation.
The Austrian Economics Center (AEC), in cooperation with the local partners Tax Payers Alliance and Institute of Economic Affairs, and in association with international partners such as the Liberty Fund, Global Philanthropic Trust, European Students for Liberty, Ruefa and the F.A. v. Hayek Institut, proudly organized this event in London. This was the second stop of the 7th Annual Free Market Road Show® which tours from March 26th to May 12th. 30 cities, hundreds of speakers, thousands of attendees and one message: Freedom.