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Welcome to the 2018 Mont Pelerin Society General Meeting!
Competition, Discovery, and the Pursuit of Happiness
We are very pleased that you will be joining us. This event taps into the symbolism, history and location of the Canary Islands, Columbus's last port-of-call in the known world of Europe and a free port for centuries thereafter. The Canary Islands provide an evocative setting to address modern issues, such as competition, separatist movements, cryptocurrencies, overlapping jurisdictions, and the free movement of people, goods, and capital. Our aim is to contribute to making classical liberal philosophy relevant to contemporary concerns. We encourage all comers—speakers, participants, and guests—to think beyond what we already know, and to engage in an adventure of discovery.
While fewer and fewer tyrannies remain standing, many societies with outward expressions of liberty suffer from a “regulated, mild and peaceful servitude” that hampers, suppresses, undermines, smothers and dazes people, restricting a person´s ability to take advantage of opportunities and thrive in life. We see great threats to competition often coming from the freest states, as they try to limit the movement of people, trade, and capital. It is not socialist central planners but majoritarian democracies that approve suffocating taxes and paralyzing regulations before the undaunted gaze of an apathetic population. Likewise, the proliferation of "wars" (poverty, drugs, discrimination, terrorism, greed, financial crises, etc.) have become an excuse for the government to spy on its citizens, regulate their activities, build more bureaucracies, and shepherd us for our own good.
At the same time, entrepreneurial applications of new technologies are opening novel, often disruptive opportunities around the globe for competition, freedom from government coercion, and a higher quality of life: personalization of health delivery, longer lifespan, digital currencies, custom-made education, enhanced reality, and shared economies. As people have more choices, they are increasingly concerned with ethical dilemmas and how to live a life of meaning. This offers us an opportunity to move beyond our known world and widen our exploration of liberty, to attract new generations of liberal scholars, and address Hayek's challenge of framing a comprehensive philosophy of freedom.
Gabriel Calzada Álvarez
Chair of the Organizing Committee
Quantum Leap to Liberty
Finance in a Brave
Hayek & Mises: Are we still all “a bunch of socialists” 70 years later?
New Frontiers of
they here to stay?
Political Authority and Civil Disobedience
Hayek Essay Contest
The Future and
freedom: Do androids
dream of electric sheep?
Meet the Author
REGISTRATION & WELCOME COCKTAIL
Closing Dinner and Presidential Address
Short talks to showcase new and exciting ideas that we don’t usually grapple with in the classical liberal world
Hayek Essay Contest Session
Get to know the upcoming generation of liberal scholars, as the winners of the Hayek Essay Contest present their papers.
Meet the author
An opportunity for participants to exchange ideas with authors of influential books to deepen points of view on both sides.
Wind down with good conversation and a touch of class at the end of the day, before winding up for more good conversation and lots of fun in the evening.
A chance to dig deep into landmark papers and to debate challenging ideas they leave on our table.
A facilitated session in which academics get together with their peers to break through an intellectual bottleneck, perhaps on an aspect of writing a paper or dissertation, on applying new perspectives to clarify an idea, or digging deep into questions with elusive answers.
Peter J. Boettke is University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University and Director of the F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center. He received his PhD in economics from George Mason University in 1989. Before joining the faculty at George Mason University in 1998, Boettke taught at New York University. Boettke was a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution for War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University during the 1992-1993 academic years and the F. A. Hayek Fellow in 2004 and 2006 at the London School of Economics. He currently serves as the President of the Mont Pelerin Society and was the President of the Southern Economics Association from 2015-2017.
The author of numerous books and articles, he has a particular interest in the ways that institutional arrangements shape entrepreneurial behavior in transitioning, weak, and failed states. His publications include Why Perestroika Failed: The Politics and Economics of Socialist Transformation, Calculation and Coordination: Essays on Socialism and Transitional Political Economy, Challenging Institutional Analysis and Development: The Bloomington School, Robust Political Economy for the 21st Century, and Living Economics: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
Bruce Caldwell is a Research Professor of Economics and the Director of the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University. He is the author of Beyond Positivism: Economic Methodology in the 20th Century (1982), and of Hayek’s Challenge: An Intellectual Biography of F. A. Hayek (2004). Since 2002 he has served as the General Editor of The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek. A past president of the History of Economics Society and the Southern Economic Association, Caldwell has held research fellowships at New York University, Cambridge University, and the London School of Economics. He is currently working on a full biography of Hayek.
Thor Halvorssen founded the New York-based Human Rights Foundation. Halvorssen is founder and CEO of the Oslo Freedom Forum, an annual global gathering described by The Economist as a “spectacular human-rights festival… on its way to becoming a human-rights equivalent of the Davos Economic Forum”. Halvorssen founded the Moving Picture Institute in 2005 and has produced several films that focus on freedom such as the Kurt Vonnegut short story “Harrison Bergeron” and award-winning documentaries about the Chinese, Soviet, Hungarian, and Estonian revolutions. He is most recently working on the development of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, a liberty-themed sci-fi cult classic written by Robert Heinlein.
Prior to his work at HRF and MPI, Halvorssen was the first Executive Director and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) from its founding in 1999 until 2004. Thor has lectured at universities across the world on matters of liberty and his opinions and views have appeared in numerous venues including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and many others. He is a lifetime member of the National Association of Scholars and the Federalist Society. He is a Visiting Professor at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín.
Daniel Hannan is a writer, columnist and politician. In 2017, he set up the Institute for Free Trade, which seeks to use Brexit to revitalize the global trading system. He has served as a Conservative Member of the European Parliament since 1999. In 2015, he founded the organization that became Vote Leave, the successful campaign to end Britain’s membership of the EU. He is the author of eleven books including New York Times Bestseller The New Road to Serfdom and Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World.
Michael Huemer received his BA from UC Berkeley in 1992 and his PhD from Rutgers University in 1998. He is presently professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the author of more than 60 academic articles in ethics, epistemology, political philosophy, and metaphysics, as well as five amazing books that everyone should buy: Skepticism and the Veil of Perception (2001), Ethical Intuitionism (2005), The Problem of Political Authority (2013), Approaching Infinity (2016), and Paradox Lost (forthcoming).
Barbara Oakley, PhD, PE is a Professor of Engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; the Ramón y Cajal Distinguished Scholar of Global Digital Learning at McMaster University; and Coursera’s inaugural “Innovation Instructor.” Her work focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior. Dr. Oakley’s research has been described as “revolutionary” in the Wall Street Journal—she has published in outlets as varied as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the American Society of Engineering Education’s Chester F. Carlson Award for technical innovation in engineering education.
Dr. Oakley has adventured widely through her lifetime. She rose from the ranks of Private to Captain in the U.S. Army, during which time she was recognized as a Distinguished Military Scholar. She also worked as a communications expert at the South Pole Station in Antarctica and has served as a Russian translator on board Soviet trawlers on the Bering Sea. Dr. Oakley is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
Virginia Postrel is an author and columnist known for her ability to weave together cultural, economic, and technological themes to reveal new and striking patterns. Her books include The Future and Its Enemies (Free Press, 1998), The Substance of Style (HarperCollins, 2003), and The Power of Glamour (Simon & Schuster, 2013). She is a regular columnist for Bloomberg View, the opinion section of Bloomberg, where she writes on a wide variety of topics, including technology, retailing, and public policy.
She also writes a bimonthly column for Reason magazine on history and material culture. She is currently writing a book, The Fabric of Civilization, exploring the connections between textiles, technology, and trade, from pre-history to the near future. It will be published by Basic Books in the U.S. and Hachette in the U.K. She has been a columnist for The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes. From 1989 to 2000, she was editor-in-chief of Reason. Her website is at vpostrel.com.
Ruth Richardson is a political reformer and former minister of finance in New Zealand. After winning a seat in Parliament in 1981 as a member of the National Party, she soon developed a reputation as a strong advocate of free markets, free trade, and privatization. As finance minister, she built on the successful efforts of her predecessor, Sir Roger Douglas, and instituted reforms that reined in public expenditure, deregulated the labor market, and reformed social entitlements.
Despite strong opposition from special interest groups and fellow legislators, Ruth secured cross-party support for an independent central bank, the application of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to public accounts, and structural reform of the public sector. Since leaving government in 1994, Ruth has served as director of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, is chair or director of several dozen companies, has served on the boards of international think tanks, and has been a consultant to governments around the world.
Carlos Rodríguez Braun is Professor Emeritus of History of Economic Thought at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. He has published articles in learned journals of Europe and America, and twenty books. He has worked on Adam Smith, and has translated into Spanish The Wealth of Nations, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and the Essays on Philosophical Subjects. Dr. Rodríguez Braun is also a well-known figure in Spanish journalism: he has participated in radio and TV programs for many years and has published thousands of articles in the press.
Patrik Schumacher is principal of Zaha Hadid Architects. He is registered with the Architect’s Registration Board and a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Patrik studied architecture at the University of Stuttgart and at the Southbank University in London. He completed his architectural diploma and received his degree from Stuttgart University in 1990 and also studied philosophy at both Bonn and London Universities. In 1999 he received his doctoral degree Dr. Phil. from the Institute for Cultural Sciences at the University of Klagenfurt.
Since 1992, Patrik has been teaching at architectural schools in Britain, continental Europe and the USA. In 1996 Patrik founded the Design Research Laboratory at the Architectural Association where he continues to teach as co-director. He is lecturing worldwide and recently held the John Portman Chair in Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. In 2008 Patrik coined the phrase Parametricism. In 2010 and 2012 he published the two volumes The Autopoiesis of Architecture and recently Parametricism 2.0 – setting architecture’s agenda for the 21st Century with a new emphasis on its societal relevance.
Matt Ridley is the author of The Origins of Virtue, The Rational Optimist and The Evolution of Everything, among others. Ridley’s books have sold over a million copies, been translated into 31 languages and won several awards. His TED talk When Ideas Have Sex has been viewed more than two million times. He holds a BA and DPhil degrees from Oxford University. As Viscount Ridley, he was elected to the House of Lords in February 2013. He served on the Science and Technology select committee 2014-2017.
He was founding chairman of the International Centre for Life in Newcastle and its current honorary president. He was non-executive chairman of Northern Rock plc and Northern 2 VCT plc. He founded the “Mind and Matter” column in the Wall Street Journal and has been a weekly columnist for The Telegraph and The Times. He won the Hayek Prize in 2011, the Julian Simon award in 2012 and the Free Enterprise Award from the Institute of Economic Affairs in 2014. He has honorary doctorates from Buckingham University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and University Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala.
Lawrence H. White is Professor of Economics at George Mason University (USA). He began writing about private competitive monetary systems three decades before Bitcoin. His books include Free Banking in Britain (1984), The Theory of Monetary Institutions (1999), and The Clash of Economic Ideas (2012). His research has appeared in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Literature, and other leading professional journals. He blogs at Alt-M.org and does podcasts at Econ Journal Watch Audio.
Peter G. Klein is W. W. Caruth Chair and Professor of Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation at Baylor University (USA). He is also Professor of Strategy and Management at the Norwegian School of Economics (Norway), Research Affiliate of GRANEM (France), and Carl Menger Research Fellow at the Mises Institute (USA). He is author or editor of five books and author of over 100 articles, chapters, and reviews. Klein’s research focuses on the links between entrepreneurship, organization, and institutions with application to innovation, corporate strategy, science policy, and economic development. His 2012 book Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment (with Nicolai Foss, Cambridge University Press) won the 2014 Foundation for Economic Education Best Book Prize and his 2010 book The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur (Mises Institute) has been translated into Chinese and Portuguese. He received his PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has taught at several US and European universities and was a Senior Economist for the Council of Economic Advisers.
Just off the coast of Morocco, 775 miles (1,250 km) southwest of Europe, the Canary Islands are located on the outermost border of Spain.
Because of its unique geographic position, the history of Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands is interwoven with the history of Africa, Europe and the Americas.
The Canary Islands were conquered by the Kingdom of Castile in 1495 after almost a century of fierce resistance by the natives, believed to be descendants of Berber tribes who colonized the islands around 500 B.C.
After Christopher Columbus launched his first voyage from the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria became the port-of-call for Spanish ships to refit and board provisions before sailing to the Americas. Crops brought back from the “New World” were first grown in the Canary Islands before their introduction to Europe. For example, products such as sugar cane drove the island’s economy for many years.
Canary Islanders actively participated in the settlement and development of the Spanish Americas, especially the Antilles and Venezuela. Eventually, they emigrated further north and settled in what is currently known as the state of Louisiana (USA) during the 18th century.
Today, the Canary Islands continue to drive economic activity in tourism. The archipelago, with seven main islands (and many more little ones), is one of Europe’s top vacation destinations as well as attracting tourists from around the world.
On the island of Gran Canaria, you will find it all: year-round mild weather, gorgeous views, sunny beaches, lush forests, hiking trails, sailing adventures, and endless opportunities to shop.