We are really happy to inform you that our Polish colleagues from PAFERE [Polish-American Foundation for Economics Research and Education] are about to publish two new books on liberty. We had a quick look at them before the premiere, and all we can do is to recommend them to any Polish reader.
First book was edited by Jan Kuban, Miroslaw Matyja and Janusz Sanocki and focuses on a relation between citizen and a state in a Polish democratic system. Authors not only try to explain the intricacies of the Polish political system, but most importantly draw conclusions based on freedom-friendly message. One of the most important, and interesting, parts of the book relates to the responsibilities of various people that have a power of changes in the political system. This not only relates to politicians-voters dichotomy, but also to people usually omitted from the discussion yet having only a slightly lesser impact on society, like teachers, priests, intellectuals, and lawyers.
The other book published by PAFERE is Tomasz Ulatowski’s ‘Wickedness’. This is a brilliant piece that explains the inflation game. Polish author focuses on a transparent review of the history of the idea and its implementation in practice. What’s interesting isn’t pure case study but the way that Ulatowski explains common misconceptions related to inflation.
We can only recommend Polish readers to follow PAFERE site to find out when books will be available. We have been told all books on their site
( http://pafere.org ) are for free!
„People sometimes ask me if we stand with political left or right? The answer is easy: we are apolitical, we promote ideas – not certain political agendas. But most of all, we stand for individual liberty and individual rights. That differentiate us from most political players in the era of identity politics and collectivist’ approach to the legislative process. We believe that not a nanny state but every citizen should be responsible for life decisions regardless of position held in society. Today collectivism and group-thinking are trendy again: both left and right want to push high scale redistribution for their favorites (various special interest groups) and generously finance ideological agendas they prefer for society. There is too much We vs. They which sometimes looks like warming up for the final solution. That collectivist agenda almost always generates bad emotions like hate which escalates with the temperature of political dispute. Brutal war of political tribes can be stopped only if they loose their dangerous toys. That requires government’s roll back to its basic functions thus allowing human action to flourish, without taking sides. This is our prospect of free society, this is what we aim for in our activities. Thank you for being with us another year!”
Jacek Spendel, CEO
This was probably the biggest and for sure the most international liberty-oriented event in Poland. Over 120 people from 24 countries met in Krakow to discuss freedom. Liberty International World Conference has just ended and we would like to give you taste of it.
LIWC2018 was Liberty International’s event which was proudly hosted by Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation. It all started with Welcome Dinner on August 12th. It was launched with short speech of our CEO – Jacek Spendel – and Liberty International’s President – Ken Schoolland. This evening prepared us for what was ahead of us – three days full of lectures, panel discussions and networking.
Second day started with great keynote speech by Lawrence Reed (http://fee.org). “Excuse me, Professor” was not only it’s topic but also the name of his book in which he challenged the myths of progressivism. Reed’s follower was Pedro Mutzig who talked about the perspectives for freedom in Brazil. This day was also full of Polish accents. Two panels where filled with liberty-oriented politicians, activists, scientists and entrepreneurs from Poland – among others: Jakub Kulesza (Kukiz’15), Grzegorz Piątkowski (Commissioner for Alumni Rights), Krzysztof Haładus (ex Deputy Mayor of the Sosnowiec city), Jan Wojciech Kubań (CEO of PAFERE). Additionally, Karol Zdybel (Center of Capitalism) gave a speech on changing landscape of ideas.
August 14th started with David Schmidtz’s Reinventing Social Science. This speech had a special meaning for us since we have just published Polish translation of “A brief history of liberty” written by Schmidtz himself. We highly recommend you to read it because it’s great summary for anyone interested in these ideas. That day we listened also to Terry Easton’s “How to become a Millionaire in 4 days”. Easton gave a great advice for people who are lazy – just move out to Zimbabwe. 😉 Later we had a first woman at our event – Susan Easton. Her speech was inspiring and touched the topic of feminism and women as a freedom fighters. We also pass along her recommendation to read the book “Liberty for Women” by Wendy McElroy.
Last day of the conference was very international. That day we had speakers from 7 countries: USA, Japan, Poland, China, Lebanon, Denmark and Switzerland. It was really hard to choose the best one but for sure the most moving was Li Schoolland’s speech about her childhood in China. If you have never heard about communism in China you should definitely learn from Li (Li Schoolland’s Testimony).
One of the scholarship holders, Mara Pepine, described the conference with these words: I’m 18 and my adventure with libertarian ideas has started a little over one year now. So you can imagine how incredible it is to suddenly find myself in the same room, at the same table as giants of liberty such as Ken and Li Zhao Schoolland, Mary Ruwart, Scott Hodge or Lawrence Reed. I don’t know how many people have the chance not only to meet but also to engage with their heroes.
Not a conference hall, but a modest lunchroom in a distant village in Southern Poland was a venue of the latest meeting of liberty leaders from all around the world. People from all continents joined together during the Liberty English Camp, organized by the Language of Liberty Institute (LLI) and its local partner, the Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation (F&EF).
It took over 2 hours of mundane commute with several transfers to reach the 1,000-people village of Ponikiew – where the camp took place – from Cracow. The travel might have been especially challenging for those from abroad, since drivers don’t speak English, card payments are not accepted and GSM connection is acting up frequently. Ponikiew, located far from main routes and even further from the nearest supermarket, has probably not seen so many foreigners since five years ago – when one of the previous editions of Liberty Camp was organized there!
When Jacek Spendel – the CEO of F&EF and organizer of the camp – is asked what on Earth made him invite people from all around the world to such place, he answers confidently: – We simply wanted to offer people something different than another conference. Formal events like conferences are important indeed, but I, as well as many of my friends, strongly felt that there is also a demand for more casual ventures.
And Liberty English Camps, organized internationally since over a decade by LLI and its partners, are satisfying this demand. Despite difficult logistics, over 40 people from places such as Japan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Australia, USA or Luxembourg came to Ponikiew to discuss liberty, listen to lectures, and network – all in the informal setting of barbeques, beach volleyball and charming hills of the Polonia Minor region in Poland.
The recruitment efforts might have been much harder if not the support of Mr. Lawrence Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education, who has funded a special scholarship for Ukrainian citizens to attend to the camp. He also happened to be the keynote speaker at the event, explaining the importance of character in work, personal life and liberty-related activities.
The location of the camp, however unorthodox, was not chosen at random. The nearest large city – Cracow – was the place the annual conference of Liberty International – an established umbrella organisation which – over the scope of nearly 50 years – has funded, supported and inspired thousands of smaller liberty-oriented NGOs and individuals. The conference was also organized by the F&EF, and it was its biggest event up to date. Almost half of the Liberty English Camp attendees joined true VIPs of the liberty movement – such as Ken Schooland, Lawrence Reed, Mary Ruwart, Jim Lark and many more – in celebrating the impact that Liberty International had on the ever-growing society of freedom advocates.
Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation, together with Language of Liberty Institute and PAFERE, are proud to invite all liberty lovers from all around the world to the next edition of Liberty English Camp! This year, it will take place from 9 to 12 August in a small village near Cracow – Ponikiew. Our keynote speaker will be Lawrence Reed, the president of the Foundation for Economic Education!
Liberty English Camps are a unique phenonenon – nowhere else in the world you can meet the giants of the liberty movement in such circumstances: we replaced sterile university halls with cosy rooms of local recreation centres, and instead of a hotel lobby, you can do networking on the bank of a river or while hiking on a mountain! Every year, our events are organized in small, picturesque towns or villages – located far enough from large cities to enable participants to avoid the city clamor, but at the same time close enough to make transportation there convenient and cheap.
A lot of interesting speakers will appear in Ponikiew, and the list is constantly expanding! Details and registration can be found here: http://fundacjawip.org/liberty-english-camp-2018/
In 2017 we organized five large projects that attracted over 1000 attendees from 15 different countries. If you would like to learn more about our activity – make sure to explore Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation’s Annual Report for 2017. It summarizes our activities, achievements, publications, finances, and recommendations.
Learn more about the Report under this link: Annual Report 2017
Without a doubt, Ludwig von Mises was one of the most important economists in history. Unfortunately, he is commonly known and appreciated only in a narrow circle of experts and enthusiasts – ordinary people don’t know him or his extraordinary achievements. We are going to change this by telling Mises’s story in the form of a movie.
We believe that our movie will be a breakthrough in communicating about Liberty. The main character was a real hero – and he deserves to be shown as such. A fearless intellectual, scientist, teacher and in some sense a social inventor, Mises showed that human action is an important area of study, and that we all need to work to secure the blessings of liberty. But at the same time he was a conscript, refugee, husband, friend. A normal everyday person, somebody like our professor or a neighbor. We want to show that interesting combination, and to stress that in every freedom fighter lies a spark of genius. We hope our movie showing the great character of Ludwig von Mises will inspire others to find and fan their own sparks to spread freedom.
You can help by donating at WWW.MISESTHEMOVIE.COM
Citizens of the United States of America are known for their broad involvement in third sector – associations, foundations and all different kinds of activities on local level. Numbers alone tell much about scope of civic society: in the US there are 29.400 organizations per one million inhabitants while in Poland there are only 3.266 of them. That is why since 2012 Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation is educating new leaders who are ready to change Polish third sector. This year we decided to do something new and unknown in Poland – promote grassroots approach. By grassroots we understand bottom-up initiatives of ordinary people who’s aim is to push for positive change. Our Foundation’s flagship project, the Polish-American Leadership Academy begins cooperation with Americans for Prosperity (AFP), educational hub of grassroots leaders rooted in the ideas of freedom. That is why on September 11th we arrived in Washington, DC.
First contact with AFP we had during Project Arizona – international program of our Foundation – earlier this year. In Phoenix, entire group of Project Arizona’s students attended two levels of Grassroots Leadership Academy which is designed to activate people concerned about defending the American dream. In essence, we went to DC in order to get a training preparing us to implement GLA in Poland. Few days of training at AFP’s headquarters in Arlington was designed to teach and empower Polish instructors (Magdalena Spendel, Jacek Spendel, Marcin Chmielowski, Mateusz Błaszczyk, Tomasz Pułról) and thus make us ready to launch GLA in our country. What is important to stress, Poland will be the first country outside United States where Grassroots Leadership Academy is offered, and we are truly honored to have this opportunity. Polish variation of Grassroots Leadership Academy will become essential part of our first flagship project, the Polish-American Leadership Academy. Training time with extraordinary people such as Daryn Iwicki, Matthew Hurtt or Dave Johnson was complimented with additional activities such as public speech of our Vice President Marcin Chmielowski which was offered to few dozens of AFP workers. Marcin spoke on importance of freedom from Polish perspective and his speech caught attention of the audience as they raised many questions.
Our stay in the United States’ capital was dedicated primarily to the GLA instructors’ training, however we managed to conduct many meetings with people from the American freedom movement. Among the individuals we met there were: Luke Hilgemann (CEO, Americans for Prosperity), dr Peter Jaworski (Georgetown University, member of our Board of Advisers), Leah Kieff (Foundation Director, Generation Opportunity Foundation), Terry Allen (supporter of FEF and other libertarian organizations). We had also a pleasure to introduce ourselves and present our achievements to five important institutions on freedom map of DC and entire world: CATO Institute, ATLAS Economic Research Foundation, Competitive Enterprise Institute, The Fund for American Studies, and Students for Liberty. All of these meetings were really good and what is most important – productive. By the end of our busy and full of networking visit in US Capital we were invited by TFAS’ President Roger Ream to take part in piano concert of Solomon Eichner. The concert took place in the Embassy of Poland and its’ purpose was to raise funds for Paderewski-Rowny Scholarship Fund which is supporting extraordinary Polish student who will take part in the prestigious summer school in DC, organized by The Fund for American Studies. Event at the Polish Embassy was also a unique opportunity to get to know a special person, Honorable gen. Edward Rowny who is celebrating this year his 100th birthday. His extraordinary achievements for both United States and Poland demand high respect.
Camp was organized jointly by Language of Liberty Institute and Freedom and Entrepreneurship Foundation, with the support of the Polish American Foundation for Economic Research and Education (PAFERE), the Foundation for Economic Education and ATLAS Network. It was attended by 25 students from Poland, Belarus, Germany and Kurdistan.
Daniel Issing from European Students for Liberty (ESFL) was responsible for introducing the delegation from Kurdistan (students at the American University there, a local entrepreneur, and a representative from the Kurdish Chamber of Commerce). He attended the Camp and presented the vision and mission of ESFL.
The Camp was opened with a talk by Jaroslav Romanchuk from the Mises Economic Science Research Institute in Minsk, Belarus, via Skype video conferencing. Jaroslav was supposed to be present physically at the Camp but his passport had been lost during the process of applying for a Polish visa in Minsk. Unable to get a new passport in time for the Camp, he attended via Skype and gave us an update on the situation in Belarus.
A second talk via Skype was made by Slobodan Franeta from the Libertarian organisation called Lucha in Montenegro. Slobodan was unable to be with us due to a conflict in schedule but he told us about the situation in Montenegro, especially in the area of education, a topic of much discussion in his country at the moment. Is education a basic human right is the question that is currently a hot topic in Montenegro.
Jan Kuban, President of PAFERE, gave a lecture on the successful transition of Poland from a communist state to a democracy from 1989 to 1992 and his own life before, during and after this period, starting a thriving computer business that is still going strong after nearly 30 years. In his speech Mr. Kuban highlited three main tasks of a true
libertarian in contemporary world:
1. Defeating socialism – system which leads to misery and poverty
2. Active support and popularization of subsidiarity as an idea that
guarantees freedom and economic development
3. Countering decadency by addressing critical challenges and doing needed and
Other lectures and presentations concerned Free Market Economics, Judiciary Reform in Poland (a controversial subject currently resulting in tension between Poland and the European Union), Wealth Protection, Agorism, Intellectual Entrepreneurship, and the Forgotten History of the Krakow School of Economics, a movie created by FEF to remember the influence of the Austrian School of Economics in Krakow during and after the Austrian-Hungarian Empire days.
The delegation from Kurdistan gave us both the history of Kurdistan and an update on the current status, barely 3 weeks away from the controversial Independence Referendum to be held on 25 September. Zana, a young entrepreneur from Suleimaniyah, the second largest city in Kurdistan, told us his personal story of starting a web-based business in a place “under siege” from Islamic State and in very difficult circumstances.
Two students from Belarus also gave us a brief update on the economic and political situation in Belarus, highlighting the high inflation rate (second only to Venezuela) an the state of fear that has gripped the country following the disproportionately violent crackdown by the Lukashenka government forces on peaceful protesters in March of this year. Demonstrating merely against unjust and painful taxation regulations (and not demanding the resignation of Lukashenka) was enough to unleash the fury of the State against the protesters and no protest has been held in Belarus since then. Only the IT sector is relatively free in Belarus, simply because the State has not figured out yet how to regulate this industry. Hopefully they never will!
On the final night, we held a debate regarding the question of the potential of agorism to destroy the state. The debate was convincingly won by the pro-agorist side, led by a student from Kurdistan. It was satisfying to note that two 16-year olds from the TDJ English Camp participated in this debate, an experience they will remember for a long time.
The possibility of having a Liberty English Camp in a free and independent Kurdistan excited everyone and we look forward to seeing the result of the referendum.
Following the decision earlier this year by the government in Belarus to allow visa-free entry for up to 5 days to visitors from over 120 countries also increased the possibility of holding a Liberty Camp in Belarus, another exciting prospect. All in all, a wonderful 2 weeks of promoting Liberty in Poland and beyond!
Only few days ago we finished our Liberty Camps in Poland and we are really happy about the results. Here is our report from the first Camp in Pokrzywna.
Our first camp was organized by the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of a Polish business conglomerate, TDJ Foundation, with the aim of introducing the children of the company’s employees to the idea of Free Market Economics, Entrepreneurship, the principles of classical Liberalism, and giving them opportunity to practice and improve their English language skills. Exactly 40 students participated in this “English Camp” over an 8-day period, climaxing in a final presentation by the students to the CEOs of both the TDJ conglomerate as well as the TDJ Foundation.
As the ideas of classical Liberalism were new to almost all the participants and as their level of English proficiency was still basic, we presented the topics in the form of introductory lectures, small discussion groups, videos, and movies (such as Call of the Entrepreneur). Two representatives of the Acton Institute came from Rome to present and discuss the “Poverty Cure” videos, and Marina Brierely from England presented on private education to children in poor countries, based on the life and book of James Tooley “A Beautiful Tree”. She also told the story of her own family, escaping Communist Russia during Stalin’s time to China, only to be confronted by Mao’s Communist China a few years later and having to emigrate eventually to Australia. Only the entrepreneurial skills and attitudes of her ancestors ensured that they survived these very difficult times in both Russia and China and enabled Marina to tell their story, which is also documented in a book she wrote to commemorate her family’s history.
Unsurprisingly, exposure to these new topics generated lots of discussion and interest among these young people, something very different from what they hear at their various schools and universities. We also did a presentation on the recent history of Estonia, showing the post-communist transformation of that country to a market economy, as well as a movie on the Swedish Welfare State Myth, demonstrating that the welfare in Sweden was made possible only by a previous market economy, and that redistribution depends on someone creating the “cake” first before it can be split into pieces and handed out to beneficiaries.
The students came away with the idea that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and that genuine wealth is the result of hard work and productivity, not something that is produced by the State.
Four of the students, whose English language skills improved sufficiently during the week were happy to join us for our second Liberty Camp, which started immediately after the first one finished, in a location about an hour’s drive away, in the town of Sobotka.