Gisli Hauksson, chairman of the RNH board, and Skafti Hardarson, chairman of the Icelandic Taxpayers’ Association, attended the annual New York Freedom Dinner of the Atlas Foundation 14 November 2013. Atlas Foundation is an international network of research institutes exploring spontaneous or freely evolved solutions to social problems rather than commands from above; their research focuses on the alternative of pricing to that of taxing and planning. Sir Antony Fisher, a relentless fighter for peace, free trade and low taxes, established the Atlas network which includes the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Adam Smith Institute in London and the Cato Institute in Washington DC, all of which are in cooperation with RNH. Before the dinner, a special Liberty Forum was held for two days on how to organise and run institutes and grassroots organisations in defence of taxpayers and consumers. Historian Leonard Liggio who turned eighty this year, was honoured at the Forum; he attended the famous Ludwig von Mises seminar at New York University more than fifty years ago. Another Mises disciple, Professor Israel Kirzner, gave a talk at the Forum; his main research topic has been the contribution of entrepreneurs to the creative powers of capitalism. At the Liberty Forum, the Antony Fisher International Award was presented, $25,000, to Professor Ning Wang for a book which he co-authored with Professor Ronald Coase, the Nobel Laureate in Economics, on How China Became Capitalist. The main message there is that the economic development of China can be attributed to individual entrepreneurship rather than government guidance.
The keynote address at the Freedom Dinner was given by Swedish historian and writer Johan Norberg, who argued that increased economic freedom in recent years — or “capitalism” as it is often called — had produced astonishing improvements in living standards and in general human well-being around the world. Here is the introduction of Norberg by Dr. Tom Palmer — a friend of Iceland and a frequent visitor — and then his address:
Brad Lips, the chief executive officer of Atlas Foundation, presented the John Templeton Prize, $100,000, for the greatest contribution to the cause of liberty in the last year. The winner was the British Taxpayers’ Alliance on whose behalf Matthew Sinclair, the director of the TA, received the prize. Here is the prize presentation and Sinclair’s acceptance speech: