Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannkal Student Internship Blog

Bermond Scoggins – Auf Wiedersehen | Week 7

Bermond Scoggins, 27 February 2017

The rule is that eventually all good things must come to an end, and my time at the AEC is no exception.

It has been an illuminating experience; not only has my knowledge of the Austrian School and classical liberalism expanded, but I have seen those ideas translated into action through the sedulous work of the AEC’s ‘happy warriors’.

The AEC, in undertaking such large projects as the Free Market Road Show, perform a vital role by arguing for free markets and limited government in a political climate increasingly intolerant and unreceptive to those ideas.

Their efforts and character in the face of adversity remind me of a few lines from Wordsworth’s famous poem, ‘The Character of the Happy Warrior’, as they are those “Whose high endeavours are an inward light, That makes the path before him always bright”.

So long as they are around, alongside the international community of classical liberal and libertarian think tanks, freedom is still a few generations away from extinction. We rely on this community’s efforts to ensure we do not unwittingly walk down the road to serfdom and tread again the tracks of history’s past mistakes.

I will miss Vienna, with its art collections, its concert halls, and elegant Continental atmosphere. I felt it first as I roamed through the rooms of the Schloss Belvedere. The two Baroque palaces, devoted to presenting a complete survey of Vienna’s magnificent art history, simply have no Australian equivalent.

In addition to visiting the Schloss Belvedere, the last of my weekend excursions included trips to the Riesenrad at the Prater amusement park, and to the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK). As I am Orson Welles devotee, having seen the famous Riesenrad scene during The Third Man’s denouement made riding it all the more enjoyable. To my dismay, no old friends appeared.

It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Vienna and the AEC. I am grateful to two groups. The first include Ron Manners, Paul McCarthy, Kate Wagstaff, and the Mannkal team for making this all possible. The second comprises my gracious hosts at the AEC, and include Dr. Barbara Kolm, Britt Schier, and Federico Fernandez.

To conclude seven weeks of observation, I leave you with this:

Dr. Johnson told Boswell that “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. In light of all that has happened, I will tentatively say, in deference to the wisdom of Dr. Johnson, that the same could be said for Vienna.

Auf Wiedersehen.

On the Riesenrad - with St. Stephen's Cathedral, the city centre, in the background

In front of the Riesenrad

In front of the Oberes Belvedere - the large of the two palaces

Vena Xu – Last week at CIPS | Week 8

Vena Xu, 27 February 2017

Today is the last day of my internship and it is still hard to believe my 8-week internship has passed so quickly.

My last week has been consumed with writing project reports, finalising a few tasks, and helping to transition what projects I cannot finish to be continued by my colleagues after I leave. A lot of this transition has been focused around web design as I have passed the mantle on to the new communication officer. I only wish I could have stayed longer and been able to witness the release and growth of the Affordable Food for the Poor course.

I was asked to write an article about my internship at CIPS and what it consisted of. The article has now been published on CIPS official website and so my goal of publishing a piece on the CIPS website has been met.

Today I was lucky enough to partake in a tutorial for the Lightworks video editor on Thursday, which was given by the manager of communications and fundraising department, Anthea Haryoko. The knowledge I gained from the tutorial was very practical, and it will definitely help when editing my videos.

I sincerely hope more students in Western Australia learn about the fantastic opportunities at Mannkal and the amazing internship experiences it can provide. If you were to ask me if my internship was worth it? My answer is one hundred percent yes! I strongly recommend scholars choose CIPS for their internship because it’s a place where you can learn a new perspective on libertarian values outside of Australia, and I cannot speak highly enough of the magnificent friends I have made here.

Goodbye Jakarta, I hope to see you again.

Officially graduated from CIPS

Farewell party

Having Nasi Padang

Jackie Morgan – The Final Countdown | Week 7

Jackie Morgan, 27 February 2017

I concluded my Mannkal internship this week by attending the international students for liberty conference in Washington D.C. I was excited about this conference for many reasons, firstly because it had an amazing line up of speakers, and secondly to catch up the other Mannkal Scholars who joined me there!

I think the speaker who struck a chord with me the most was a last minute addition to the line up, Miss World Canada, Anastasia Lin. Anastasia decided to use her position as Miss World Canada, as platform to bring attention to humanitarian issues she was passionate about.

As she was born and spent her first years in China, many of these issues originate from there. I think the most memorable issue she discussed was organ harvesting in China compared to the rest of the world. Anastasia said to get a liver transplant in the United States, the usual wait time is just under one year, and as soon as the recipient hears the news, they have the race to the hospital to ensure the organ is still viable.

In China, the wait time for the same procedure is approximately fifteen days, and the organ recipient is able to elect whether to have the surgery in the morning or the afternoon. This vast difference poses the question, where are the organs coming from? According to Anastasia the official explanation for this surplus of organs is death penalty offenders and organ donors.

However in China, for religious reasons, very few people elect to be organ donors, and over 50% of death penalty inmates have hepatitis, and therefore cannot be organ donors. As such she asks; where are the organs coming from?

Not only was the content of Anastasia’s speech very interesting, so was her delivery. She spoke with such passion, clarity and bravery (since the content of her activism is not winning her any friends in China) you couldn’t help to be inspired. I am very glad the organisers for Students for Liberty were able to get her to speak to us.

In our free time after the conference, we went sightseeing around D.C. Washington D.C. is such an amazing city, with so much to see in such a small amount of time we had to prioritise. We walked from the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court down past the Washington Monument and ending at the Lincoln memorial. While at the memorial we had the opportunity to hear a bit about Lincoln’s life, and he was a very extraordinary person!

Capitol Building

Supreme Court

Llewellyn Cross – London, UK | Week 8

Llew Cross, 27 February 2017

Well I definitely don’t think we could have squeezed any more into my last week at the CPS!

This week the CPS has released a new report into UK manufacturing. The report is extremely comprehensive. It is filled with recommendations which the UK government would be wise to take on. My personal favourites are the ideas of Free Ports, improvements in tariff and non-tariff barrier policy as well as the pursuing of free trade agreement with the EU modeled on CETA and a bilateral trade deal with the US.

The CPS had previously published a report by Rishi Sunak MP, which argues for the pursuing of free ports after Brexit. I was unaware what a free port was. Free ports are considered outside of the boundary of a country for customs purposes. This allows goods to enter, and after some value-adding, leave without being subject to tariffs and other economic burdens.

The lower input costs make manufacturing more viable, which will incentivise production and wealth creation. Rishi Sunak advised that these free ports could be implemented in areas that have high levels of socio-economic deprivation in order to boost growth in regional communities. James and Daniel prosecuted the case for free ports, free trade and many other initiatives in order to boost UK manufacturing.

The CPS hosted a book launch on Tuesday night. The writer was Rory Stewart, the Minister of State for International Development. His book documents the walk he did with his father along the English and Scottish border. The CPS was kind enough to give me a copy of the book which Rory signed.

Unfortunately it will be joining the book pile next to my bed that is about knee height! There is too much to read and not enough time. I’m looking forward to finding out about Rory’s insight regarding the UK.

The Marches by Rory Stewart, a gift from the CPS

With Rory Stewart MP, author of The Marches at his book launch hosted by the CPS

In a recent interview, Bill Gates said robots that replace humans should be subject to some kind of tax. Bill decided that because the robot has put someone out of business, it’s productive capacity should be taxed somehow to make up for the loss of revenue with the worker no longer having a job.

I wrote a post explaining to Bill that if we taxed every labour saving device for the number of jobs it removed, we would be stuck in poverty. Every invention does cause some short term friction. Improvements in technology allow us to move into more productive fields of employment, or for less individuals to produce more with improved technology.

Leaps forward in technology have historically improved our lives, not created mass unemployment. Bill is wrong to think this tax is a wise idea. In my post I take a little look at history to see what other efficiency gains would be absurd to tax. You can read my post here.

At the CPS, feeling sentimental

Connor, Hannah and I will be attending a lecture at the Adam Smith Institute delivered by Dr Andrew Bernstein today. Dr Bernstein is an Ayn Rand specialist and philosophy professor. His lecture will be on Black Innovators and Entrepreneurs Under Capitalism.

I’m very excited to see what insights Dr Bernstein will present. He is also an expert on the moral superiority of Capitalism compared to other systems, and I would concur. To quote Fred E. Foldvary,

“A free economy is part of a free society, one in which each person may live by his own values. A free society has a free market for the same reason it has free expression and the freedom to choose one’s lifestyle: because people have the right to be free from coercion in any area of life.

Not only are the opponents of free markets wrong, in their moral arguments; their proposed alternatives are inherently immoral since they are coercive.

The case for the free market exists on firm moral ground: the free market, free from coercion, is the only ethical market.”

With a Lion in Trafalgar Square

Memorial for victims of the Bali Bombing

With the end of my time in London fast approaching, it is hard to believe I have been here since the end of December! Time flies when you are having fun! It has been a whirlwind trying to see more sites in the city. I strolled up to Trafalgar Square and walked through St James Park after work this week.

The sun is finally staying out late enough to have a bit of daylight after work. This scholarship has been an amazing opportunity. Flying 15000 km from home in order to gain some real world experience in a think tank has been exciting, insightful and thought provoking. There are a myriad of ways we can improve as a nation and I hope as scholars we can have an impact.

There can’t be enough gratitude given to the extremely generous Ron Manners and the team and contributors at the Mannkal Foundation. This experience is unparalleled and I would recommend that any liberty minded individual get involved.

Thank you Ron for the life-changing experience! I look forward to remaining involved with Mannkal and the Liberty movement.

Llew

Herman Toh l Final Week@The CIS

Herman Toh, 27 February 2017

Having caught the influenza, I did not venture far from Sydney for the previous two weeks.  I finally managed to find some time to visit the Blue Mountains in the state of New South Wales.

The Blue Mountains – Three Sisters

The start and middle of the week saw me finishing off data modelling on renters, public and private. I read an interim report written by Michael Potter on rental affordability across different categories such as age and income.

Doing so afforded me a sense of accomplishment that I had contributed to the work done here the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS).

I am writing a last response in IDEAS@TheCentre about the recent media reports that the Federal government is looking to cut down the concession for capital gains tax and why that would be such a bad idea. Due to the scheduling, it will be published next week.

It has been a rewarding internship here at the CIS. What a wonderful experience for me to have exchanged ideas with everyone here. I shall miss the people here but I understand that there is a time and place for everything. I will be resuming my studies at university for the coming year and I am look forward to sharing my time in Sydney with my fellow students.

Especially the $11 meal deal at a local cafe which includes a burger with fries and a choice of carbonated soft drink.

I would like to thank Greg Lindsay, the Founder and Executive Director of the CIS and Jenny Lindsay, the General Manager and Student Program Coordinator for welcoming me to the CIS.

Thanks also go to Michael Potter, Research Fellow for the Economics Program for mentoring me during my time here and Karla Pincott, communications director for helping me with my responses in Ideas@TheCentre.

Informing Greg Lindsay of the wonderful time here at the CIS

Photo opportunity with F.A. Hayek, one of our intellectual leaders in the movement for liberty. He could hardly say no.

Finally, I would like to thank Ron Manners and the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation for spreading us out like seeds in the fertile soil of liberty and to be watered by free market economics.

Thank you to all for reading my blog and signing off from the CIS in Sydney.

Georgina Due – Dinner, DC, Discussions and Departure | Week 8

Georgina Due, 27 February 2017

A Mannkal Scholarship is a promise that for the next several weeks you will be incapable of feeling boredom. This week has certainly been no exception, packed with activities every waking hour.

Volunteering with SFL friends at MLI Dinner

It all started with a delightful evening spent volunteering at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute Confederation Dinner. While a place at the function normally retails for $150, as volunteers we freely enjoyed the in-depth discussions about how far Canada has come in its 150 years since confederation.

This included the challenges and opportunities the nation will face in the future, and an enthusiastic John A. Macdonald impersonator who acted quite appalled when he was unable to check-in under the first Prime Minister’s name.

International Students for Liberty Conference 2017!

The following morning we had a brisk 4.30am wake-up so that we could begin our ten hour road trip down to Washington DC for the International Students for Liberty Conference. While not on our official Mannkal itinerary, some friends we made from the local campus Students for Liberty group were especially keen to have us tag along.

The conference was a spectacular affair, with everything from video messages from Rand Paul to libertarian rap performances. Choosing between the numerous breakout session talks was especially difficult when topics like freedom of speech on campus, whether libertarians should support a Universal Basic Income, and live skype streams with a renowned refugee writer affected by Trump’s recent travel bans were all being held concurrently.

Mannkal Interns at Capitol Building in DC

Admiring Justice Outside The Supreme Court of The United States of America

Mannkal Interns Outside The Supreme Court

After another ten hours’ worth of political banter, snacking and sleeping, we arrived back in Ottawa just in time for a bit of shut eye before we needed to arise again for the enrichment program Mannkal had planned for us this week. This program brought all the Canadian scholars together for three days of jam-packed activities intended to improve our understanding of Australia-Canada relations.

We spent an entire day chatting with Mannkal board director, and incredibly knowledgeable individual, Andrew Pickford. He challenged us with thought provoking interrogations about why we thought certain policies were good or bad, explained how the geopolitical landscape of Canada had evolved over time, and how classical liberal ideas had transformed with it.

The following days were consumed with a visit to the High Commission of Australia, dining with an MP at parliamentary restaurant, an intimate meeting with a former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and many more stimulating experiences.

One activity I would single out as especially rewarding was watching Andrew present to a group of economists and analysts from the Finance Department about China’s Grand Energy Strategy, where I felt we witnessed the process moving ideas from think-tanks into broader circulation in a practical manner.

Canadian Interns visiting The High Commission of Australia in Ottawa

Canadian Interns meeting with MP Tom Kmiec

My last day in Ottawa was no chilled affair, I attended both Atlas Network Training and Manning Centre Training, focused around how to look your best and tackle difficult questions in TV, radio and print interviews as well as how best to promote the personal brand of a politician.

Needless to say – I am exhausted. However, tomorrow morning I will be flying back to sunny Perth with a plethora of new knowledge, skills and life long friends, more than I could have ever imagined gaining from my time here in Canada.

I can unashamedly say that Mannkal are in the business of changing lives, and I would sincerely like to thank Ron Manners, the Mannkal team and the Institute for Liberal Studies for deciding to change mine.

Julian Hasleby – Oh Canada | Week 12

Julian Hasleby, 27 February 2017

On Sunday Mannkal interns from across Canada came together in the nation’s capital of Ottawa to participate in the Ottawa Enrichment Program and the Manning Centre Conference.

The scholars met with Mannkal Director Andrew Pickford to discuss our experiences at the various think tanks where we were based and to consider the challenges faced of implementing policy in both countries.

The discussion on policy implementation and how Australia and Canada could further cooperate in the future continued at the Australian High Commission with a senior policy officer and the Deputy High-Commissioner.

Australian Government departments communicate regularly with their Canadian counterparts, and we heard that the role of the High Commission is reduced as diplomats would usually facilitate these types of interactions in other countries.

We were lucky enough to have lunch with Tom Kmiec (Member of Parliament for Calgary Shepard) who had an extremely impressive knowledge of defence policy not only in Canada but also Australia. We were told that Canada surprisingly has attempted to model and implement some Australian policies including the deregulation of our agricultural industry (which still has a long way to progress) and the 457 skilled immigration policy.

This included sending teams of experts to our country to study the programs.

The Canadian Department of Finance hosted a roundtable discussion on Tuesday afternoon where the guest speaker was Andrew Pickford. The topic of discussion was “China’s Grand Strategy and Energy: Markets, Infrastructure and Global Ambitions” which provided a lively debate.

Apart from government employees, there were experts from think tanks in Canada and the United States and financial analysts. Andrew’s knowledge was very impressive as was the ease in which he was able to apply detailed energy policy and economic concepts to the Western Australian and Canadian contexts.

Attending question period at the Canadian Parliament has been a highlight of the time spent in Ottawa for myself and the other interns. Because of bilingualism sitting in the public gallery required the use of a small speaker which provided translations of parliamentarians who chose to speak in French.

It was interesting to see that Canadian politicians were even worse than Australian MPs at completely failing to answer any questions they were asked and was surprising to see that after answering four opposition questions, Justin Trudeau played on his phone for the remaining portion of question period.

The Atlas Network provided exceptional media training which also had practical advice for everyday debates and how small changes can improve your image in the press, but also in the workplace. Following the Atlas training, the Manning Centre hosted a variety of different speakers who were experts in running political campaigns not only in Canada but also the United States and Australia.

I found the continuing importance of mail surprising, when combined with online targeting and emails the development of how election campaigns are run has changed rapidly in the last few years.

I’m most looking forward to the Canadian Conservative Party Leadership debate hosted at the Conference on Saturday. Fourteen different candidates will discuss various topics from reducing the deficit to the carbon tax to vie for new party members who are crucial in the vote which will take place later this year in the build up to the 2019 federal election.

The candidate I find most interesting is Kevin O’Leary who many people will know as ‘Mr Wonderful’ from the American television series Shark Tank. O’Leary is labelled as Donald Trump light, although he’s currently leading in polling prepared by national newspapers, so it will be interesting to see if Canada will be captivated by the sweeping change that saw Trump elected south of the border.

As the interns rapidly approach their last week of our internships, there is a mix of emotions as we say goodbye to colleagues, new friends and a country that has been our home for the past three months. I’m sincerely thankful to Ron Manners and Mannkal for the opportunity to gain skills that will benefit my final studies, future career and the independence, resilience and confidence I’ve gained as a person during this experience.

We’ve had our beliefs challenged and have been able to challenge others. I thoroughly look forward to being able to put our new skills to use on our return to Australia, especially as our generation seeks to reduce government debt, red tape and interference in our personal lives.

James Case – Crossing the border | Week 11

James Case, 27 February 2017

This has by far been one of the most exciting, inspiring and interesting weeks of my life. My internship with the CTF at an end, I made my way to Washington D.C to attend the students for liberty conference.

Firstly, I must say Washington is one of the most beautiful cities I have had the pleasure to visit. I don’t doubt I will return to further discover the historic buildings, museums and monuments scattered across the proud American Capital.
The students for liberty conference was a whirlwind of world class speakers and engaged libertarian students.

The three day conference covered a broad range of issues including Trumps’ foreign policies, freedom of speech on college campuses and  how the liberating movement can progress. Two talks particularly stood out to me.

Mr. Forbes, the chairman of Forbes media, gave an opening address about his personal struggles to enter the political sphere and the dangers of playing politics over economics.

Dr. Jonathan Haidt, a professor at New York University, addressed the issues of restricting free speech on college campuses and how policing ‘feelings’ can lead to students not having a well rounded and thought provoking education.

On my return to Ottawa I began an enrichment program with Andrew Pickford, a Mannkal director. Andrew conducted numerous events with the Canadian scholars including a meeting with the Australian High Commission staff, lunch with an MP and trade talks at the Department of finance regarding Chinas energy security.

The program has been an incredible experience and I have learnt more than I could have ever imagined.

Last but not least, I was able to attend the CTF Teddy awards today. The CTF hold an annual Press Conference at parliament to showcase the worst and most ridiculous Government expenditure for the year. All of the examples were laughable but also horribly concerning for the taxpayer.

One of my favourites was from a Public Servant who spent over $500 of taxpayer money at two different ‘adult dance clubs.’ There was a large media presence at the event and it was a huge success.

Overall this week has been simply incredible.

The U.S Supreme Court

Dr. Haidt at ISFL conference

CTF annual Press Conference

Hannah Pham – London | Week 7

Hannah Pham, 27 February 2017

Time flies fast when you’re having fun! This week was probably my busiest week at the IEA. I have just finished my big project a couple of days ago and I am currently working on shorter articles for the IEA student think blog. I must admit the experience was hard work but very rewarding.

I ended up changing my topic of research on the weekend of week two and decided to move away from typical Brexit macroeconomic topics to something that receives less public attention but is becoming a very prominent problem in developed countries. I chose to explore the relationship between mental disorders and unemployment. One in five people from the age of 15-64 suffers from a clinical mental disorder.

Individuals with a mental illness are likely to be unemployed with the current unemployment rate at 30%.  Forty percent of total disability benefits claims are on the ground of mental ill-health and surpassed musculoskeletal disorders. Mental disorders incur an annual cost of £105 billion to the UK economy and loss of total productivity accounts for £15.1 billion each year.

Although researchers and policymakers recognised this problematic trend, efficient programs and policies have not yet been developed in many OECD countries to address this issue adequately.

On Monday, the IEA held the final round of debates between most reputable universities in the UK. It was interesting to see the high level of expectations, knowledge, and skills development opportunities these university students are exposed to compared to my university at home.

The students were extremely well-prepared, well-spoken, strategic, and confident with their arguments. There were two very controversial debatable topics. The first debate was on whether the world economy is facing secular stagnation and the second was on the economic costs and benefits of Brexit.

Even though I am familiarised with these topics, I recognised there is more room for personal improvements after observing how well these students performed.

On Tuesday, we held a very exciting book launch- the Index of Economic Freedom 2017. During my undergraduate years, I have used data from the index various of times and now, I finally had the chance to meet the brilliant economists behind the project. Australia is placed fifth in the most “free” nations list.

Economic freedom is directly linked to prosperity, innovations, lower absolute poverty, and vibrant economic growth. Perhaps, the most surprising finding of all is that freer economies have better environment protection. Clean-energy use and energy efficiency over the past decades have occurred not as a result of government regulation, but rather as a result of advances in technology.

Anthony Kim and I

Index of Economic Freedom 2017 launch

My final event of the week was a lecture with Dr. Andrew Berstein at the Adam Smith Institute. The topic was on Black Innovators and Entrepreneurs Under Capitalism, which originally was an essay. Dr. Andrew Berstein is an Ayn Rand specialist and philosophy professor.

He suggested the only way to end racism in the future is through the adoption of capitalism and individualism into our society. The lecture brought in heated moral and economic debates as this area of humanity is extremely complex.

On the weekend, I went back to Covent Garden market to look at handmade goods. These markets in my opinions are the best tourist attractions because they are like art galleries but much more lively and interactive.

And that is all for this week. I would like to send a big thank you to the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation for this incredible, life-changing, and educational experience. I cannot wait to share my experiences when I am home.

Writing from London with love,

Hannah

Connor Lane – Last week in London | Week 8

Connor Lane, 27 February 2017

On Monday night, I went to a debate at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Oxford and Warwick Universities went head to head on the issue of secular stagnation, followed by UCL and LSE on the topic of Brexit.

Commendably, LSE were the opposition in the Brexit debate and still managed to win over the largely Eurosceptic judges. It was a brilliant discussion from both sides.

I can’t imagine how valuable debate programs must be to fostering the culture of critical thinking famous at the top UK universities. As far as I’m aware there isn’t a single intercollegiate debate tournament in WA.

Tomorrow will be my last day working at CapX – it is unbelievable how fast it has gone. I’ve enjoyed every minute of the last 8 weeks and can’t begin to explain how much I’ve learnt since I started working at CapX.

As a recent example, I’ve spent the past week researching and writing about education technology.

It’s one of the most cautiously regulated areas of society and so it isn’t really a surprise there has been little in the way of innovation where it is concerned.

This is unfortunate as EdTech firms have made leaps and bounds in both data driven teaching methods and computer based learning resources that have failed to be implemented.

I was elated a few days ago when I noticed that the Foundation for Economic Education republished my piece about voter education! They’ve always been one of my favourite publications so it was awesome seeing my name on the site.

Republished on FEE!

I’m really dreading tomorrow being my last day of work but the office is taking me out to lunch as a goodbye which is going to be great! I’m really going to miss the office and the staff, it’s been the experience of a lifetime.

I just got back from an event at the Adam Smith Institute, down the road from my work. The focus of the night was a speech by Andrew Bernstein – an author and advocate of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy.

He made the excellent point that racism is collectivism and the way to defeat it is to emphasize the view that people are individuals as opposed to the group they belong to. I think it was a message that unfortunately has not had a large enough platform.

Hanging out with Thatcher