Europe Blog

June 21, 2017

Linda Kavuka to Speak at Great Lakes Trade Summit

Students For Liberty Leader Linda Kavuka will be speaking at the Great Lakes Trade Summit, on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kampala. She sits on the Executive Board of African Students for Liberty, Kenya. The summit is held from July 13th-15th 2017 and will explore the opportunities to enrich the region through freer trade as a means of poverty alleviation, conflict resolution and social justice. At a time when open markets and free trade are being challenged the world over, this summit creates an opportunity for those who believe in freedom to organise and fight back, advancing those ideas that have delivered so much prosperity to so many around the world. Linda will offer a unique perspective from the next generation of leaders, speaking alongside […]
June 9, 2017

Europe:
May 2017 Update

  European Students For Liberty MAY 2017 UPDATE RC Season Announced Bringing together thousands of students from all over the world, featuring dozens of international speakers and offering an absolutely unique experience, European Students For Liberty Regional Conference Season belongs among the highlights of the year for liberty-minded people in Europe. This year, our leaders are bringing this opportunity to 18 European cities from Reykjavík to Tel Aviv! See all the dates and locations here. ESFL Conference in Batumi Our largest event in May was a massive success. With over 150 attendees, Batumi Conference was the 4th ESFL Conference in Georgia. First 3 took place in Tbilisi and were marked as the largest student gatherings in the region. Discussed topics included current issues, such as the role of the government […]
June 8, 2017

How Political Competition Made Europe Rich

In the quest to explain economic development, institutional competition has been almost systematically ignored by many economists and historians alike who have fallen under the spell of the interpretation of nineteenth-century German historicists. The members of the German historical school, and especially Schmoller and Bücher, saw the state as the institution that was responsible for the creation of both the market and modern capitalism. Modern institutionalists, although they differ from historicists in many ways, have accepted this narrative, arguing that political centralization is a prerequisite to economic development. One book showing this tendency to accept the historicist narrative can be found, for instance, in Acemoglu and Robinson’s Why Nations Fail (2012). Distinguishing between extractive and inclusive institutions, Acemoglu argues that centralization is a necessary step […]
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 […]
June 3, 2017

Capitalism Is About Working Less to Earn More

In 1800, you had to work, on average, one hour to obtain ten minutes of artificial light. Today, this same hour allows you to buy 300 days of light. In 1900, one kilowatt-hour of electricity cost one hour of work. This costs five minutes of our time now. Buying one cheeseburger in McDonald’s required 30 minutes of hard labor in 1950. This same sandwich now costs about three minutes of your life. According to British intellectual Matt Ridley, this evolution is the ultimate illustration of wealth in modern societies. In his book The Rational Optimist published in 2010, he evaluates our prosperity by outlining the goods and services we can purchase for the same amount of work. Thus, the main objective of economic development is to […]
May 30, 2017

James Bond vs. Marvel&DC: Possible significations of pop-culture

Pop culture is commonly represented as devoid of genuine philosophical or political commitment. Its commercial aspect is often emphasized: material which is accessible to a large audience and which does not require deep reflection. On the contrary, I think that by stereotyping its characters, it often reflects political representations or thoughts. What amazes me is the great variety of messages which are conveyed. I want to highlight in this short article two different political school which presently exist in the pop culture, through two genres: that of the novels of Ian Fleming (the famous James Bond) and the comics of Marvel and DC. In Fleming’s novels, justice is safeguarded by the main hero, who is a faithful servant of the state and the queen. He […]
May 30, 2017

When Expatriation Is the Only Option

Usually, individuals look for ways to be freer. Among individuals already aware of the mounting problems of ever-repressive tax, police, and social policies of Western governments, the focus is on practical fixes more than philosophical questions. Though many may turn to political campaigns and actively seeking to change the system, an increasing number are choosing to put their money where their mouth is and just exit. Leave. Expatriate. Some may choose expatriation because of temporary work, retirement, or better tax regimes, but it offers specific refuge for those who can no longer take the status quo of their native lands. As the cost of travel plummets and technology offers countless new ways to connect and work on-the-go, fleeing one’s native country once it has become […]
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 23, 2017

Bitcoin in Georgia: A Success Story

On April 28, Georgian Students for Liberty organized its fifth panel discussion for the Defend Your Wallet Campaign. We decided to dedicate this panel to the topic of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are of big interest among Georgians. We invited young and successful people whose work is associated with cryptocurrencies to introduce the audience to the issue. Our first speaker was Sopo Chkoidze, head of the commercial department at eMoney, who focused on the current trends of bitcoin usage in Georgia and the services that they offer to their clients. The second speaker, Givi Chikovani joined the panel discussion through a skype call from Chicago. He’s currently the CEO of the Innovation and Development Foundation in North America and has vast knowledge about bitcoin […]
May 22, 2017

How the Free Market Overcomes Religious Coercion in Israel

State-religion relations are a tough issue in Israel. Israelis come from very different religious backgrounds; from totally secular atheists to hardline ultra-orthodox and everything in between; and that’s only the Jews. This creates a lot of tension about the 70 year old compromise called “The Status Quo”. But in recent weeks, without any political action, something happened. Something big. “There is no public transportation on the Sabbath, the Jewish holy day of Saturday, in 95% percent of Israel” says Roy Schwartz Tichon, founder of “Noa Tanua” (Hebrew for Galilei’s “Yet it moves”). “That’s though 72% of the Israeli population supports public transportation on Saturday, polls says. But even if only one person wanted a ride and one wanted to offer it. How can the rest […]
May 17, 2017

European Development Associate

Students For Liberty is currently seeking a passionate and professional individual to lead our efforts in development, assisting raising funds on local and regional level and helping us build our long list of sponsors and partners in Europe. We are making a strategic investment in this field to help build up our development department and ensure even more resources for student leaders and groups European Students For Liberty are supporting. Responsibilities Oversight of development activities of local leaders, managing and leading development for major ESFL programs and activities Building up the long list of SFL’s partners and supporters Training student leaders to do local development Build up SFL’s brand, partnerships, and donor base around Europe Qualifications A background in the following is strongly preferred, but […]