INESS 2015 Friedman Legacy Day for Freedom

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On July 30, 2015, INESS organized an event commemorating Milton Friedman. One of the special guests was Petr Barton of IREF, a Czech economist who spent a part of his professional carrier working at the University of Chicago and knew Milton Friedman in person.

The event was chaired by Juraj Karpis, INESS’ chief analyst, who introduced the keynote speaker, distinguished Czech economist Petr Barton, research fellow at Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal Issues (IREF Europe). Barton writes commentaries on recent development in European Union at http://en.irefeurope.org/. He studied economics at the Cambridge University and University of Chicago, where he met Friedman in person and absorbed his intellectual legacy. He taught at Anglo-American University and University of Economics in Prague. Besides the fiscal issues, he focuses on the economics of sins and their regulation in his research.

He commemorated Milton Friedman legacy with a lecture titled “Known and unknown face of Milton Friedman”. He explained why Friedman is admired by many and at the same time hated by others, and how superficially libertarians perceive his economics and economists his libertarianism.

The INESS 2015 Friedman Legacy Day took place in KC Dunaj, one of the most vivid cultural spots in the center of Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, on Thursday, July 30, at 5pm. After the lecture, the event followed with a pleasant open-air dinner (American style hamburgers were served) and lively informal discussions with a key note speaker.

Despite the mid-summer vacations, more than 100 people took part in the lecture: bank analysts, university professors, public sector experts, journalists, NGOs and think tank representatives, entrepreneurs, embassies representatives, students – all came to celebrate with us.

Milton Friedman is one of the most influential fighters for freedom and individual liberty, free markets and limited role of government. He’s also a Nobel Prize laureate for economics in 1976. He was very active in the field of political economics and wrote several books dedicated to the ideas of freedom and individual liberty (such as Capitalism and Freedom and Free to Choose, among others).

He was criticizing government planning and Keynesian approach to the policy creation. He was interested in many topics, e.g. licensing of medical doctors, compulsory military service, antitrust legislation, minimum wage, or prize control. His proposals on negative income tax or voucher scheme in education system are still being discussed and many of them even implemented in various countries. Moreover, in 1980s, American president Ronald Regan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher followed many of Friedman’s policy recommendations and he became a very respected and well-recognized individual.

The event was organized thanks to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

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