Growing the Freedom Movement with Atlas Network CEO Brad Lips

An unknown sage once quipped, “There may be two libertarians in the world who agree on absolutely everything, but I am not one of them.” This condition of free-thinking individualism applies to much – if not all – of the freedom movement. How then can a movement based on the ideas of liberty be nurtured in a world that is divided not only by language barriers and artificial borders, but ideological and cultural distinctions as well? Enter Atlas Network, which coordinates and promotes outstanding work from 470 think tanks across 90 countries. Brad Lips is CEO of Atlas Network, making him responsible for overseeing this vast web of individuals, major think tanks, and regional organizations – each with their own needs, aims, and solutions. Atlas Network strives to help its members achieve growth and impact in the marketplace for ideas, where there are no prices to guide decisions. Brad joins Bob to talk about how he applies a private-sector mindset to managing a network of independent nonprofits. Even the most ardent individualist will learn something from his approach to enlisting partners in the cause.

Marian Tupy on the Many Happy Faces of Human Progress

Too often, political arguments begin with one person insinuating that his or her opponent deliberately wants to bring about a certain negative outcome, be it pollution, child labor, or an overall lower standard of living. We rarely frame our debates around the values almost all of us have in common, such as a clean planet, and abundant opportunity for future generations. This is where HumanProgress.org, a data-driven initiative of the Cato Institute, excels. Marian L. Tupy is a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity and the editor of Human Progress, which compiles easy-to-read charts and graphs showing the many ways we are advancing, even in terms of “progressive” values. Bob’s last show struck a pessimistic note, with Don Boudreaux lamenting the relative decline of freedom in the United States. This episode brings you the flip side – the good news about the rest of the world’s increase in freedom and prosperity. Tupy joins Bob to discuss the reason why capitalism is winning the war on poverty, while still losing the war of ideas.

Sweatshops: Exploitation or Stepping Stone to Prosperity?

No one can deny the plight of Third World sweatshop workers, who endure long, uncomfortable shifts in exchange for meager pay by American standards. In response, some onlookers promote economic sanctions on countries with lax workplace regulations, while others stir up boycotts against multinational enterprises that utilize sweatshop labor. According to Professor Benjamin Powell, such activism may actually harm the very workers who need sweatshops the most. Bob is joined by Professor Powell, who is the Director of the Free Market Institute, a Senior Fellow with the Oakland-based Independent Institute, and the author of a new book, “Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy.” Don’t miss their conversation on the unintended consequences of anti-sweatshop activism, and the real recipe for escaping poverty.

In the last half hour, Bob turns his attention to other forms of so-called “economic exploitation” such as price gouging and the minimum wage.

How the Free Market Will Save the Planet

Environmentalism is the natural enemy of free market capitalism. The former seems to be the socially acceptable cover used by those who seek to capture and control the world’s economic engine, in order to “save the planet.” (I wonder how much time we have until the surface of the earth looks like the set of Mad Max?) Free market capitalists (note that not every capitalist favors free markets, thus the “free market” modifier is needed) know that voluntary, un-coerced cooperation among market participants is the only system to preserve individual freedom and the environment. How does this work? Bob’s guest, Austrian economist, Libertarian, prolific writer and speaker Walter Block explains all of it in his unique and accessible style. His book “Defending the Undefendable” is a must read. Block, Hayek, Mises and more…

Is America A Good Investment?

America is a rough place to invest. Understanding financial matters certainly helps, but how can an investor manage her financial affairs if one sentence by a governmental official can make every decision wrong? Look what happened this week. Bernanke opened his mouth and the equity markets tanked. Government is the wild card, as it seeks to subordinate the importance of an individual’s decisions. The individual disappears into the collective. And if you have any doubt about the government as swindler – look no further than social security. Retirement accounts? Obama wants to tax them into oblivion. To discuss all of this and more, Bob’s guest will be investment advisor Pat Vitucci, founder of Bay Area Financial Advisors. He will explain the political and financial landscape that keep his clients afloat. This episode will help you claw your way through the political minefield and into the 1%. Also, the Libertarian spin on food stamps and cell phones on planes is discussed. 90 intense minutes. Don’t miss it.

Educational Choices, Not School Choices

For the past several decades, a dominant educational issue has been the choice between public, private and charter schools. Parents have also had to evaluate and determine which school districts are the best. But that was the past. Today, they are offered all of those choices plus the option of home-school teaching assisted by computers. This does not mean teaching kids how to use a computer, but rather using a computer as the teacher. The choices are more vast than ever and they give parents the freedom to control how their kids are taught. Next step, bringing market discipline to a college education so students will be able to pay college tuition based on the market value of the knowledge purchased, not the artificially high prices created by the duel influences of government price supports. No one, and I mean no one, knows this better than Katherine Mangu-Ward, joins Bob in this episode. Katherine is a Yale graduate and a managing editor of Reason magazine (Bob’s favorite) who formerly worked as a reporter for the Weekly Standard and as a NY Times researcher. Bob also discusses the alphabet soup of totalitarianism – the IRS, NSA, and FISA courts. So much to cover, so little time. So very important. Don’t miss tomorrow’s show.

I Want My Cheetos!

James Madison considered food regulation “little short of madness.” When France tried to ban the eating of potatoes, Jefferson noted that such a ban allowed fallible leaders with their own prejudices to employ “coercion” over the French diet. Does this sound true to you, Mayor Bloomberg? The reach of governmental regulation extends right into our gullet, dictating what we are allowed to eat. Salt? Absolutely not. Sugar? No way. Raw milk? Don’t be silly. Jayson Lusk, professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University and author of “The Food Police,” will join Bob this Sunday with a menu of outrageous and scientifically unjustifiable laws and regulations which will enrage you… and help you plan your next meal. You’ll learn that your stomach is not your own. Don’t miss it.

Whose Transportation System Is It Anyway?

Think back. In the past week have you moved from one place to another? Traveled to work? To Another City? If so, did you travel by car, by plane, by light rail, by “heavy” rail, subway, or by bus? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you must catch this episode with Bob Poole, a founder of Reason Magazine and its Director of Transportation Policy. Whether we’re talking about private toll roads, privatization of airports, Amtrak or High Speed Rail, light rail systems in cities, or intercity buses (remember Greyhound?) your life (and your pocketbook) is affected by transportation policy. As you’ll hear in this podcast, whatever the transportation problem, government is the problem and free markets are the answer.