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The Power of the Poor

Jessica Wright


In answer to the question, ?what institutions can enable the world?s poor to realize their power and achieve prosperity?, my answer is tri-fold: first, a system of law and minimal government, second, a market system, and third, a robust civil society.

Black Swans and Security in the 21st Century

Jessica Wright- IUF


The statement ?all swans are white? is falsifiable because black swans exist, and thus the formulation: ?I see a white swan so all swans are white? is a logical fallacy. This ?black swan problem?, as it is called in philosophy, is illustrative of falsification as a solution to the problem of induction. Nassim Nicholas Taleb pushes this philosophical idea into empirical reality, and equates the black swan with a large-impact, hard to predict, and rare event that exceeds normal expectations. The Black Swan Theory is his conceptualization, one which emphasizes the importance of undirected and unpredicted events as core components of everyday life. From our common experience, life seems to be almost wholly comprised of more predictable and mundane events, but he argues to the contrary, that the shape of our lives and our society is determined more consequentially by the few extraordinary rather than the many mundane. Accordingly, when we rule out the extraordinary and focus on the ?normal? in our examination of what will happen and how we should act, we are ill-equipped to handle the rare but plausible outlier phenomenon.

To Drill or Not to Drill: That is the Question

IUF Research Associate: Jonathan Hessling


So I was reading a couple of articles on the legislation in the United States that was stopped before it began on the possible drilling of off-shore locations for an increase in the domestic oil production of the US. The bill was designed to allow lands, that were previously off limits, to be accessed for use in drilling to increase the domestic supply of oil in the US and help brunt some of the increase in costs on the amount per barrel. Many politicians saw this as a way to help the consumer absorb some of the cost that they were paying at the pump, while others saw this as a "big oil" or "anti-environmental" movement aimed at furthering the destruction of the planet.

70% of Germans are against bailing out Ireland

On the financial crisis in the EU


The Institute for Free Enterprise in Berlin, in collaboration with Open Europe published a new poll which shows that 70% of Germans are against using public money to bail out other countries that have got into financial difficulties.

Poll shows 77% of German voters want a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty

About the new EU Constitution


The Institute for Free Enterprise in collaboration with Open Europe published a new poll which shows that 77% of Germans want to be given a say on the Lisbon Treaty in a national referendum.  


Climate Change Reconsidered

The Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change


The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) released an 880-page book challenging the scientific basis of concerns that global warming is either man-made or would have harmful effects.  


Coauthored and edited by S. Fred Singer, Ph.D., and Craig Idso, Ph.D., this brand new report is a comprehensive rebuttal of the Working Group I contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report (2007) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  


Energy Policy with No Fuel Source? Yes we can!

Jonathan Hessling - IUF


Barack Obama is going to speak here in Berlin in a few hours trying to beef up his "foreign policy" experience and show to the people in America that he is the man that can put American back on the global pedestal that it has fallen from over the last few years. As an American citizen I have been waiting for Mr. Obama to solidify his policy issues and take a stand for something even if it does not satisfy the needs of everyone and I am still waiting...

NATO: The Price for Defense

Die Linke and NATO


In a world that is ever changing and in a time where providing for your nation is tantamount to the survival of your people and society, we need to have a better understanding of the governmental regimes that are at play in our world. From dictatorships to monarchies, democracies to socialist regimes, countries around the world are creating a future for themselves in which government has an important role and place in their society. Some societies feel that government should be the "be all and end all" of their world and provide for it, everything they need to live the best life possible. Others believe that the people should decide how they live their lives and that government should be there to provide stabilization and a governing force to protect their basic needs and tenants. Then there are those nations that fall somewhere in the middle....

Common Sense: Where Have You Gone?

Global Warming Commentary: By Jonathan Hessling, IUF


The world today is driven by empirical data, scientific findings, and quantifiable results that are supposed to lead us to a greater understanding of the world around us and point us in a direction that will greatly benefit us. However, somewhere along the way, scientific findings trumped pragmatic thinking and common sense ideology that ran the world for centuries...

Policy vs. Politics: The Unknown Battle in Government

What People Should Know About Their Government


Politics versus policy is a battle that rages continually and, as Americans are witnessing with their upcoming election, is something that is influencing their lives everyday. What most people do not understand is the complexity behind the two concepts of politics and policy. People see both words and associate a similar meaning making them almost completely interchangeable. But are these words as interchangeable as people believe them to be or is there a striking difference between them that is typically overlooked?

CSCCC Commentary

The Real Climate Disaster


Delegates from some 160 nations are in Bangkok to discuss a post-2012 climate treaty ? but any plans to force ?poor polluters? like India and China to cut back on emissions will increase poverty and deaths, according to the 45-member Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change.The EU has threatened to impose taxes on imports from countries that have not agreed to mandatory emissions cuts and Yvo de Boer, the UN official running the talks, has evoked the spectre of ?food miles? at the meeting.?This is just another protectionist racket that will do little to reduce carbon emissions. What it will do is push food prices even higher, make poor countries even poorer and undermine their capacity to import cleaner and better technologies from the West,? said Coalition member Nonoy Oplas of the Filipino think-tank Minimal Government Thinkers.Bullying poor countries to stop industrial development or to use only ?renewable? technologies misses the point:?Right now, what kills millions of poor people is poverty, not climate change: dirty water, malaria, malnutrition, air pollution in cities, indoor smoke from wood and dung - and these hideous afflictions can only be solved by economic growth,? Oplas continued.?Only with more entrepreneurship and less government intervention ? not massive climate aid projects - will the world?s poorest people be able to protect themselves from both the ills of today, and the threats of tomorrow.?

Civil Society Report Rejects "Kyoto 2"

The Civil Society Coalition on Climate Change


From 3-16 December, government officials will be in Bali, Indonesia, for climate talks. They are set to discuss the establishment of a new treaty, dubbed "Kyoto 2", which would require all countries to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.  


A new Report produced by a coalition of over 41 prominent civil society organisations (csccc) from 33 countries says that governments should reject calls for a post-Kyoto treaty ("Kyoto 2") with binding limits on carbon emissions. The report says a better strategy would be to focus on removing barriers to adaptation, such as subsidies, taxes and regulations that hinder technological innovation and economic growth.  


Death of A Manufacturer - IUF Commentary

Roland Gast, IUF


In the middle of August, Zhang Shuhong - manufacturer of dolls, hanged himself. He belonged to a division of a factory in Foshan, South China that manufactured toys for Mattel. In the middle of August Mattel recalled 18 million toys because of a defect with a small magnet piece that could become detached and hazardous if swallowed. Furthermore, on the day that Zhang Shuhong committed suicide, Mattel distributed 436,000 toy cars with lead-infected colors to businesses.

Propserity For All

Roland Gast, IUF


Indonesian nannies in Malaysia are not often treated well, such as in Sri Lanka and Lebanon where their wages are never secure and often drastically fluctuate. Cases like this prompt people to begin demanding that developing countries abide by basic human rights standards for their workers. Human rights are understood as those basic rights and freedoms to which every individual is entitled. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines them as such: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood".

Therapy Failure - IUF Comment 01/2007

Sascha Tamm, IUF


The international financial markets do not work! Therefore, they have to be regulated, more transparency has to be ordered by the law, short-term liquidity has to be provided in order to rescue banks in danger of going bust - especially if they are public companies. One could have foreseen what is happening after the last weeks´ downward trend at the world's stock exchanges. But why is a downward trend a sign of market failure (whatever that may be)? Why not the upward trend ahead of it, which lasted some years, after all?

Free Trade is Always Good - IUF Comment 31/2006

Sascha Tamm, IUF


In an effort not to jeopardize membership talks with the EU, Turkey offered a compromise with regard to the dispute over whether it should allow Cypriot ships and airplanes access to Turkish ports and airports. At the same time, however, Turkey is demanding direct trade between the EU and the occupied southern territory of Cyprus.

Between Euphoria and Panic - IUF Comment 30/2006

Sascha Tamm, IUF


Whenever large numbers, great fears and high hopes are concerned, good judgment is often lost. This also happens to people, who we otherwise would like to ascribe some common sense. A recent example of this is the association with China - a country with a lot of people and, as of late, very fett economic growth.

Discovering Injustice . . . -IUF Comment 29/2006

Sascha Tamm, IUF


is a profitable business in the social welfare state, as the philosopher Wolfgang Kersting stated. Now the Minister-President from North Rhine-Westphalia has discovered a new injustice: The elder unemployed would have paid into the unemployment insurance system much longer and consequently would have drawn benefits for a longer period of time. Of course, this argument contains a deliberate error in reasoning.

We will miss him - Milton Friedman



Milton Friedman, the grand gentleman of libertarianism, passed away a short while ago. Dr. Friedman was born July 31, 1912 and was 94 years of age. Dr. Friedman was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in economic sciences in 1976. But he was most widely known as a great popularizer of classical liberal ideas through his television series and book Free to Choose, which he co-authored with wife Rose, who survives him.

Telecommunication - IUF comment 28/2006



Public consultation on the review of EU regulatory framework for electronic communications network and services. Here the IUF comment:  


De-regulatory Commitment instead of Re-regulatory Interventionism in Telecommunications  


Empty Non-Refundable Bottles - IUF Comment 27/2006

Sascha Tamm, IUF


As reported recently by the FAZ, criminals are manipulating the German bottle deposit system on a massive scale in order to make money. They are producing bottles, falsifying the product codes and then returning the phony bottles to supermarkets throughout Germany. This, of course, is a prosecutable criminal offense.

Lord Ralph Harris of High Cross has died



Lord Ralph Harris of High Cross has died. The London Telegraph headline for him simply said "Freedom fighter". Harris, along with Sir Antony Fisher and Arthur Seldon, was one of the founders of the Institute for Economic Affairs in London. The Telegraph said: "He was the front man, the fixer, the journalist and academic who knew exactly how to plug away at a concept until, eventually, people sat up and listened.

The Bottom Level - On the Road to Global Precarity - IUF Comment 26/2006

Sascha Tamm, IUF


Poverty is a quite precarious topic, especially if the public accepts the numerous and blatant nonsensical and one-sided definitions and explanations of the causes of poverty that are given to them by German politicians. It all begins with the definition of the poverty line, which is the basis for the data that is currently being discussed.

Condescension - IUF comment 25/2006

Sascha Tamm, IUF


German EU Super-Commissioner Verheugen voiced his disgust at the conduct of several high-level EU officials. Verheugen told Spiegel Online that these EU officials would argue arrogantly and condescendingly that the bureaucratic apparatus of the Commission itself has taken on an uncontrollable life of its own. The Commission must not allow officials, who lack democratic legitimacy, to reduce its power.

A Plea for "Good" Bureaucracy - IUF comment 24/2006

Dr. Susanne Maria Schmidt, Executive Director, German Instiute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)


The call for debureaucratization is seen as an endeavor towards a new balance between the private and public sectors. According to the Gabler Dictionary of Economics, bureaucracy is a legal rational form of organization that is indicative of modern state administrations, corporations, firms, associations, political parties, churches, military organizations, etc.

Ruinous Consumer Protection - IUF comment 23/2006

Sascha Tamm, IUF


The Federal Economic Ministry wants to avoid "ruinous competition" in the food industry. As reported in the FAZ last week, the Ministry would like to see the sale of food below its purchase price prohibited. This would enact a project of the Coalition Agreement as well as a demand of the Conference of Consumer Protection Ministers. According to the Ministry, "price dumping, which occurs when the value of a product is unfairly priced," should no longer be permitted

What Do You Have to Say About That? - IUF comment 22/2006

Sascha Tamm, IUF


An interesting passage was discovered in a used mathematics textbook for fourth graders in Berlin (Das Zahlenbuch 4, Ernst Klett Publishing, p. 106). Under the caption, "Bread Provisions" are some figures regarding the cultivation of grain and next to it a pair of math exercises with the question: In 2004 a bread roll cost 40 cents. The farmer receives less than 2 cents for the portion of flour. What do you have to say about that?

With or Without Its Network? - IUF comment 21/2006

Sascha Tamm, IUF


Should die Bahn (the German Railway) be privatized with or without its network? This continuing argument specifically shows one thing: die Bahn, a state monopoly that has existed for over a century, is structured in such a way that makes it difficult for it to be privatized.

Pharmacists: Beware of Capitalist Locusts - IUF comment 20/2006

Sascha Tamm, IUF


The argument over the opening of a new DocMorris pharmacy in Saarbrücken is hardly a polemic one. The sides are clear. The privileged, which are a small group of pharmacy owners, should be defended against competition. However, the old arguments are so typical and have been thoughtlessly repeated by so many politicians, that a short analysis is necessary.

The strange, strange world of competition law - IUF comment 19/2006

IUF guest comment by Eustace Davie, Director, Free Market Foundation


According to economist, Dominick T. Armentano, author of Antitrust: the Case for Repeal, competition law has failed in its objectives and should be repealed. The Microsft case is a classic example of competition law working against the consumer. Compete, but don't win. Don't make your products so attractive to consumers that 90 per cent buy from you and not from your competitors, as Microsoft does.

Yes, I want current messages of the Institute for Free Enterprise:


William Graham Sumner (1883)

"Responsibility rises up by the side of liberty, correllative, commensurate, and inevitable."

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