• Oxford Hayek Society

Linda Whetstone: How to Perpetuate Poverty - How Governments Prevent Enterprise

This summary was written by Lydia Ellis, President.

On Monday 15 February 2016, Linda Whetstone, Chairman of the Atlas Network and Network for a Free Society, addressed the Oxford Hayek Society in Harris Manchester College on the subject of 'How to Perpetuate Poverty: How Governments Prevent Enterprise'.

In her talk, Linda discussed the barriers most stopping the world’s poorest from attaining prosperity, including a lack of property rights, widespread corruption and violence in autocratic regimes, the threat of prison and abuse faced by those who openly discuss democracy, and the many obstacles to setting up businesses.

Linda also examined successful cases, such as Hong Kong and India. Once one of the world’s poorest places, with few natural resources, real poverty fell by half in Hong Kong in just ten years. In India, the introduction of property rights in some regions has spurred farmers to club together to invest in wells and tractors to share between fields they now own.

Every attendee took a copy of the Ideas for a Free Society CD, a free mini-library of 125 texts containing a selection of contributions by some of the primary scholars and thinkers that have developed ideas of free societies and their applications to public policy. The CD is distributed to 50 countries around the world to partners of Network for a Free Society, who then distribute copies to schools and universities.

Because of the limited access there is to such texts in many countries around the world, Network for a Free Society created this mini-library to make it easy to copy and share. While CDs are now fairly old-fashioned, they remain relatively cheap to send and this makes texts available in countries where internet connection may be too slow or expensive to be useful and available. As well as English, the CD is available in languages including French, Chinese, Kyrgyz, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Arabic and Farsi.

Linda Whetstone is the Chairman of the Atlas Network and Network for a Free Society. She is also a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and a board member of the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Istanbul Network for Liberty.

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