The Netherlands Institute for Praxeology organized a Free Market Road Show fir the first time and we are very happy to be part of FMRS Family.
We decided to structure the program with a series of keynotes. Robert Valentine opened the event with an introduction.
Barbara Kolm summarized the most pressing issues of the past-pandemic and past-lockdown period. All political discourse had evolved around one single topic: save people from infection. But other things matter too, which have been excluded from public discourse. People forgot about the trade offs, which enabled politicians to use lockdowns as only solution. That means a facilitation of power in central planning. In the real world we always experience trade offs, everything comes at a cost, the loss of other options that cannot be chosen anymore. Politicians chose for us. And these choices – lock people in, massive subsidies for businesses regardless of need, increasing debt and rising inflation. Supply chains were broken, productivity hindered and this reduced economic growth.
Daniel Kaddik spoke on the current global situation. With one crisis coming after the other, we are facing serious problems.
Georgiana Constantin-Parke discussed the case of free speech and how it is legislated in the US and Romania, indeed there are some differences. The US and Romanian Constitutions have similar ways of looking at the heart of the issue but deal differently with some practical aspects. For instance, in Romania one cannot speak in a hateful way towards certain groups or defame the country in any way. But in the US one can even burn the national flag. Constantin-Parke stressed the importance of avoiding language restrictions and the importance of the difference between fact and opinion which is not well understood nowadays. “In the end, from a logical perspective”, argues Constantin-Parke “free speech is important because it recognizes the intrinsic value of human existence and its consequential need for freedom. And, from a Christian perspective, it is important because it is God -given.”
Richard Zundritsch gave a lecture on the historical development of Amsterdam as a hot spot for international trade.
When looking at the issues with inflation. Dan Mitchell did not find inflation to be directly caused by Putin. There is a correlation between the pandemic and inflation, but in the end, it is the fault of the central bank and its policy. By looking at the Fed and ECB balance sheet, Mitchell illustrated where the issues are actually rooted in. ”The problem is when we realized that we would emerge ok from the pandemic, the central bank still decided to create more money.” Ultimately this caused issues with inflation.
FMRS Amsterdam – Program
Freedom under pressure
Freedom has been under pressure in the Netherlands since it gave birth to the free market in 1602: the year the East India Company officially became the world’s first publicly traded company, when it released shares on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. The modern-day economy was born.
From that moment on the Netherlands became the largest economy in the world for almost a century and their influence was felt everywhere and the idea of this new economy traveled from England to the United States, establishing freer and more prosperous times. A small country like the Netherlands was a model for the world.
But the tide is turning, and voters and politicians forgot what made the Netherlands great. Like most western countries we battle with illiberal policies and parties gaining popularity. This has been exacerbated the last two years with the corona pandemic and recently the conflict between Russia, Ukraine and the west.
FMRS Amsterdam – Program
Robert Valentine, Netherlands Institute for Praxeology
2:00pm – 2:05pm
2:05pm – 2:35pm
Stop living for staying alive
Barbara Kolm, Austrian Central bank, Austrian Economics Center