Bill Wirtz

August 5, 2017

Safarisource: The Airbnb for Safaris cuts out the middle-man

As the sharing economy develops, the opportunities for cutting out the middle-man seem endless. After Lyft and Uber revolutionised personal transport, BlaBlaCar challenged public transportation and Airbnb overthrew our concept of monetising our own properties, Safarisource attempts to do the same thing with safaris. Launched at the INDABA tourism trade fair in South Africa on May 16, safarisource.com connects tourists with local African tour operators. The site was founded by PhD anthropologist Jessika Nilsson, who is originally from Sweden, yet who grew up in Tanzania before going back to Europe for her studies. For Nilsson, creating Safarisource had multiple reasons, one of which was the support for local communities, as she saw locals bearing the cost of living with wildlife but not reaping the fruit. In fact, […]
July 28, 2017

How ‘Unschooling’ Opens New Ways of Education to Children

Remember school? Long and painful hours of disheartening top-down teaching from a professor who knows very well that none of his students have any interest what so ever in the subject at hand. Public schooling leaves an undoubted mark on people, and with drop-out rates at a record high, we need to fundamentally rethink schooling as it is. First, let’s dive into how we got here. The (very summarised) history of public schooling For the longest time, be that the scholars of Ancient Greece, the ludus publicus primary schools in Ancient Rome or the widespread presence of Catholic schools all around the continent, education was reserved for the upper classes. Not only because lower classes were too poor to afford such an education for their children, but […]
July 22, 2017

Liberty Face Off: Should Libertarians Care About Animal Welfare?

In this Liberty Face Off, Daniel Issing and Ivan Bertović discuss Animal Rights: Should libertarians care about animal welfare? Classical Liberals are Ignorant About Animal Welfare, and for No Good Reasons By Daniel Issing In his Principles of Morals and Legislation, Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, famously argued that his philosophical predecessors had been unduly negligent in their treatment of non-human animals. Decrying them for their insensibility, he writes: “The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of skin is no reason…the question [whether something should be a subject of moral philosophy] is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can […]
July 20, 2017

“I worked for free”. No you didn’t.

A few weeks ago I committed the worst crimes of all by defending unpaid internships on social media: Stop saying "unpaid internship". It's not unpaid, you got an education. Zveřejnil(a) Bill Wirtz dne 5. duben 2017 “It’s dumb”, “‘it’s bullshit”, “it makes no sense”. Some of the reactions I got weren’t necessarily positive (I did not expect too many of them anyway, mind you), but they reflected the idea that you should be paid monetarily for your work. As we all know, providing an education is completely worthless, which is why also professors and teachers in higher education merely volunteer for their work. “And they got a slave”, adds one commentator. Not only is the comparison with slavery seriously sickening, out of proportion and shameful, it’s […]
June 27, 2017

Judges Don’t Use Uber

“Uber is a transportation company”, says senior advisor to the European Court of Justice Maciej Szpunar. If the ECJ were actually to adopt the same attitude as the Polish legal advisor, then Uber in Europe could soon be what its service UberPOP is today: history. The EU’s court is implementing the same crackdown on the US-based company that its member states, such as France and Germany, were already working on. There indeed are several points to be made as for the reasons of why Uber has seen this much political opposition on the old continent. There are accusations of collusion between the taxi lobby and politicians as well as the love of many legislators to over-regulate, tax and license. While these points are certainly valid, […]
June 19, 2017

The Boom of the Carpool Market: Free Marketeers Who Don’t Realise that they are

Here’s some good advice when it comes to taking trains in France: don’t. The more I delved into the horror show that is state-run rail, the more the delays, the broken wires, the incapacity to replace stolen copper cables or the regular strikes made me think that there had to be a viable alternative to inter-city travel. When I’d been told about carpooling websites for the first time, my childhood warning lamps blinked frantically at the thought of getting into a strangers’ car. And yet, a fourth of the price of a train ticket and the opportunity to be dropped off in front of my own doorstep made me reconsider, and I ultimately signed up for BlaBlaCar, which in my area (and more and more […]
June 13, 2017

The Cost of the War on Drugs: the Example of France

France is among the most strict European countries in the repression against drugs. As a result, the question about the real cost of this repression of illegal substances arises is a particularly pertinent one. For all those who do not want to make the effort of listening to me on why the War on Drugs is an expensive failure which discriminatory and dangerous, here is the short answer: about €2 billion The only reliable figure I found in my research comes from an information report by the Public Policy Evaluation and Control Committee titled “Assessment of Combating the Use of Illicit Substances” from the 20th of November 2014. This report (which I strongly recommend you scroll through) describes the total failure of repressive legislation and, […]
June 9, 2017

Announcing the Speak Freely Launch Essay Competition

It is with great excitement that we are announcing the launch of this blog! SpeakFreely.today is an official brand of European Students for Liberty, which will feature news commentary, policy analysis and blogposts on economics or philosophy. We are dedicated to the promotion of our young writers you want to advance the concepts of liberty by making them mainstream. If you are a pro-liberty writer and want to contribute to this blog, or if you are an aspiring writer who doesn’t quite know how to go about the business of creating an article, we are here for you! You can send your submissions and ideas to [email protected] Our editing team will then assist you and help you become a class A writer for liberty! In […]
June 6, 2017

France is Literally Burning 100 Million Euros

Since January 2017, France requires all cigarette packs to be sold in plain packaging — they all come in the same green-ish colour, only a neutral font lets the consumer identify the different brands. The government’s anti-tobacco fanaticism costs the taxpayer a fortune. It sounded a bit like Paris had Stockholm Syndrome when the papers announced “the government is buying 100 million euros worth of cigarettes off of French tobacconists”. These coloured packs which were delivered to the tobacconists before the law and make a up a total amount of 15 million packs of cigarettes, or a 36-hour tobacco consumption of the entire country. With a total weight of 250 tons, an astounding number of old, coloured packs, complete with brand name, will be prohibited soon. The […]
May 28, 2017

Understanding Opportunity Costs might just Solve the Fight with your Neighbour

I first encountered the idea of opportunity costs when I read Frédéric Bastiat’s “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen”(1), an absolute must read for all students for economics or law. Bastiat brilliantly dismantles the idea of what he calls “The Broken Window Fallacy”(2): the idea that the destruction of a window benefits society because of the resources and work opportunities necessary to replace it. Using the concept of opportunity costs (although Bastiat didn’t call it that), the French economist explains that by investing the funds necessary to replace this window, the person replacing it cannot spend those funds on an alternative of equal value. Maybe he would have spent more money during his vacation, maybe he would have bought another shirt. […]
May 26, 2017

The Right to Die: Luxembourg is a Front-Runner

Europe is known to have a healthy relationship to suicide: all countries (apart from Cyprus) allow suicide today. While it may seem ridiculous to enact any legislation that punishes an act that takes your life, let it be known that those laws crack down on attempted suicides as well. These rules can bring people who are suicidal, including terminally ill people, into very discomforting situations with the legal system. The Right to Die reaches further than just the act of committing suicide: several countries now also allow assisted suicide and euthanasia under certain conditions. Assisted suicide (which is legal in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden and Switzerland) describes the act of making lethal means available to a patient so that he can bring about his own […]
May 16, 2017

The French Soda-Refill Ban: the Bitter Taste of Regulation

In January 2017, the French Parliament passed a bill that effectively banned free soda-refills in restaurants, in an attempt to tackle obesity. Where will its efforts lead us to? Rest assured, if living in France has confirmed one of my stereotypes, then it’s that you eat well. The République upholds culinary hedonism, and there are indeed health-related effects to this mindset: between 1997 and 2009, the obesity level has risen from 8.5 to 14.5 per cent. In 2016, Le Monde reports that the amount of obese people has risen to over 15.5 per cent, with 25.3 per cent of women and 41 per cent of men being generally overweight. In order to tackle this situation, consecutive governments have suggested and implemented large-scale government intervention. A Right or Left […]