Report: Free Market Road Show in Bucharest 2019
The first panel of the conference was held in English on the topics of economic freedom, market freedom, entrepreneurship and youth and was titled Reinventing Freedom 30 Years after the Wall.
The first speaker, Nima Sanandaji, had a presentation entitled “Where is Freedom in Europe?” He talked about the fact that a survey discovered that Romanian youth believe they still have the freedom to choose. He also argued that Bucharest has a higher concentration of “Brain Business Jobs” than Amsterdam, Vienna, Madrid and Berlin. Finally, Nima pointed out that Romania needs a reduction in corruption, free markets and investments in education.
The second speaker, Frederico Fernandez, began with a metaphor to open the subject of his presentation, namely: “everything that is solid, dies in the air”. By doing so he stated that young people no longer trust the media because it does not illustrate the true reality of things. The issue of investing in education and providing models for today’s young people to follow has become a problem (“Silicon Valley has stopped asking for diplomas (…) that’s an issue for education”).
The third speaker, John Chisholm, emphasized that the young are the solution for Romania. If there are no entrepreneurs, there is no innovation. He listed some solutions for Romania, such as: discovering the most inappropriate rules in Romania and eliminating them, using the Special Economic Zone, increasing the net number of entrepreneurs in the country or coming to the country, keeping the European Union focused on the four freedoms and using the World Bank Doing Index as a public management tool.
The last speaker, Gloria Alvarez, presented the differences between socialism and the free market and specified that socialism has been reinventing lately. That is why we should have five flags to clarify: ecology, sexuality, feminism, cultural appropriation, and political correctness.
The second panel took place in Romanian and the six speakers discussed about the same theme: Challenges and Opportunities to Free Market Ideas in Romania, each contributing by addressing this topic in different ways.
Vlad Topan choose to start his presentation by raising two questions: “What is freedom? Is it a goal or is it means?” He followed by explaining that “freedom also has a purpose […] but most of the times it is a middle point”, “economic freedom is the result of a value system” or “to fight for freedom means being less popular, less rich or less virtuous.”
Other speakers have decided to look at this topic from a political point of view, saying: “The political culture of a society can be terribly wrong”; or presenting the results of some questionnaires: “I asked the students what they think of the state. […] It is very interesting because their first words were corruption, […] this is how people define the state […] it is a correct idea.” The political approach was also present in the rest of the presentation where Radu Șimăndan mentioned that “in Western Europe people are still in a romantic period with politicians. We in Romania are almost unrelated to our politicians. [..] We need collective action. That means working with politicians. It’s better to do something than do nothing at all.”Other interesting concepts were: “we had the opportunity to open the economy and to show what might happen”, “the socialists do not talk about the nationalization of the means of production any more, or at least they do not emphasize it”, “this battle between socialism and capitalism will take place under different terms”, and “the new technology can be easily perverted and placed in favor of those things that we dislike.”