The FRMS Barcelona took place on April 5th, 2022, at Pompeu Fabra University in conjunction with The Ostrom Institute of Catalonia. Scott B. Nelson of the Austrian Economics Center delivered the event’s welcoming words.
Following Nelson’s remarks, Dan Mitchell of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity delivered a keynote speech. Mitchell stated, “one of the good things about the Western world is we’ve got reasonably good rule of law”. Without a reliable rule of law, a free market society with low taxes, low spending, and low regulation would prove difficult to achieve. Currently, there exists a tax and transfer welfare state, problematic due to an aging population and declining birthrates in the Western world. In the future, the workforce will not be large enough to support the healthcare and pensions of retirees. High-income taxes and the VAT are causing difficulties for Europeans, especially members of the lower and middle class. Considering these conditions, entitlement reform ought to be pursued.
Following Mitchell’s keynote was a panel discussion about boosting market innovation towards the green transition. Speakers included Santi Aliaga of Zyrcular Foods, Roger Medina of The Ostrom Institute, Pau Vila Garcia of the Ostrom Institute. Júlia Samsó of Pareja and Associats, and Luis Gómez Fernández of Francisco Marroquín University. Samsó made the assertion that specific rules with a clear timeline and milestone are needed for the market to react to the green transition. Regulation should create competition and promote positive green incentives including subsidies and tax breaks.
The impact of regulations needs to be fairly evaluated throughout their existence. Regarding governments providing legal certainty, Samsó stated, “perception is important to the message and the benefits need to be clearly defined and communicated”. Medina then spoke of renewables, and how continuing to introduce them will lower marginal cost and increase profitability. The infrastructure for nuclear energy is difficult to set up and expensive, but Small Medium Reactors are a viable option. Gómez then spoke of Germany’s failure to have a contingency plan to its reliance on Russian oil. It is important for governments to consider that people worry more about practical matters such as heating their home than about environmentalism.
Following a break, FMRS Barcelona concluded with a final panel discussing smart regulation in healthcare after the pandemic. Speakers included Marc Realp of the Catalan Competition Authority, Judit Vall of the University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra University, Frederic Llordachs of Doctomatic, Martí Jiménez-Mausbach of The Ostrom Institute, and Guillem València of The Ostrom Institute. Ultimately, 21st century healthcare regulations are needed that are better for consumers. The higher availability of COVID-19 tests means that they are inexpensive, but some countries have woefully restricted them to pharmacies. On a positive note, developing a vaccine in one year is an impressive feat, and reflects great strides made in vaccine production. Overall, a rolling regulatory culture for healthcare restrictions ought to be pursued.