Preparations are already underway for our annual Free Market Road Show (FMRS), entitled “Is the new standard worth striving for?”, taking place from 18 March to 11 April in the United States and 10 April to 12 May in Europe and. On 22 and 23 January an eager group of free market defenders flew into snowy Vienna to plot – ahem, plan – their tour of over 30 different European and Israeli cities. It’s seldom appreciated the effort and logistics that go into planning a series of so many events, with all of the difficulties of travel schedules, venues, and the innumerable other obligations attending the various organizations. Needless to say, this reason alone fills us with immense gratitude that our partners took the time to join us for the first FMRS Family Meeting since pre-covid days.
But our gratitude is only amplified by the generosity with which our extended family contributed their perspectives on the topics and practices that would help FMRS maintain its well-deserved sobriquet as “the largest libertarian event of its kind in the world.” The usual topics of interest – taxation, inflation, regulations – were accompanied by the future of work, the much-needed success stories of entrepreneurs who have made their way without government subsidies, start-ups, environmentalism and ESG, and above all, housing. Thessaloniki suffers from punitively high rent costs, discouraging young people from studying there (and consequently also cutting into pub profits). Germany contends with regulations concerning mobility. And in Israel, where industry accounts for only 3% of the country’s emissions, industry is nevertheless demonized. For all of the variations in regional context, the underlying concerns that we must all address together remain the same.
And because we share these overarching concerns, the face-to-face meeting was well adapted to sharing best practices, particularly in the area of media outreach. Filipa Osorio ,of the young and energetic Instituto +Liberdade (which will also be hosting the European Resource Bank this April in Porto), underscored the supreme importance of word of mouth and informal events to create a true sense of community as a way of attracting more attendees. Michael Jäger, of the Taxpayers Association of Europe, stressed that each organization must make a point of emphasizing its USPs, not to mention having a clear idea of the audience one intends to address. Their ”Schwarzbuch der Steuerverschwendung” (Black Book of Tax Waste), which shows the annual wastefulness of the German government, has garnered them attention. Richard Durana, of Slovakia’s leading economic think tank, Institute of Economic and Social Studies, attributed his institute’s stellar performance to a variety of factors, not least of which was that they are responsive to media and have been consistent in their messaging and standards over the nearly two decades of their existence.
A going concern was motivating the youth to become more engaged in the liberty movement. Its importance cannot be overrated: it is the youth who will pay for the sins – and debts – of their fathers. Social media obviously have a role to play. As does the encouragement of their professors. But perhaps most important is giving youth an idea of the relevance of the issues at hand along with the sense that their voice is heard and that they can make a difference. Learning doesn’t happen just in the classroom, but especially outside of the classroom, in the real world, meeting entrepreneurs and companies that they may one day work for or even be inspired by to start their own business. It’s the experience that counts.
And this is what the FMRS promises: a memorable experience. Just ask our partners who were treated to an evening view of beautiful Vienna from atop the city’s famous Riesenrad.
The AEC’s fundamental goal is to promote a free, responsible and prosperous society. Through education and improving public understanding of key economic questions, the AEC promotes the idea of a free market economy and the ideal of a free society.