FREEDOM CARAVAN: THE MORALITY OF CAPITALISM

Day 1

Report: SP & MIT

Freedom Caravan: The Morality of Capitalism arrived in Pune with a fantastic episode at Sir Parshurambhau College on the 8 February 2012. The main attraction of the day was a talk by Swaminathan S Aiyar, Consulting Editor of The Economic Times and Research Fellow at the Cato Institute. There were over 150 students and faculty in attendance, and each received copies of the Indian edition of The Morality of Capitalism, a collection of essays by Tom G Palmer, and Social Change and Public Policy, published by the Centre for Civil Society.

The program started with a musical performance from the college band, Accidentally on Purpose, with tracks including Imagine by the Beatles, and Tracy Chapman’s Talkin’ ‘bout a revolution. This was followed by a theatre performance from students of the political science department, titled Freedom Caravan. The audience were then brought to their feet by a superb performance of A letter from Jonathan Gullible from the Delhi based theatre group, Mostly Harmless Ink.

The audience were treated to a passionate discourse by Swaminathan Aiyar on ‘The Morality of Capitalism’, and the benefits which freer markets could bring to the country. The talk was followed by a Q&A session where several key issues were raised.

Later in the day, Freedom Caravan visited Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) College for a talk by Swaminathan Aiyar. The event commenced with a short quiz from our partners Liberal Youth Forum, where the students were asked questions regarding current affairs, and correct answers were rewarded. The talk was well received by the audience, totalling over 150 students and faculty. After an extended Q&A session, the program was brought to a close by the student’s participating in the World’s Smallest Political Quiz. The session was made possible thanks to the Youth Mission Studio, which works under the aegis of UNESCO chair at World Peace Centre MIT, Pune.

To view photos of the day click here.

 
 
 

Day 2

Report: Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies

Freedom Caravan: The Morality of Capitalism visited Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies on 9 February 2012. The highlight of the day was a talk by Swaminathan S Aiyar, Consulting Editor of The Economic Times and Research Fellow at the Cato Institute. Over 500 students and faculty were in attendance, and the packed auditorium represented Freedom Caravan’s largest audience so far. Those present received copies of the Indian edition of The Morality of Capitalism, a collection of essays by Tom G Palmer and Social Change and Public Policy, published by the Centre for Civil Society.

The day commenced with a short quiz on political and social issues conducted by our partners Liberal Youth Forum. This was followed by a production of A letter from Jonathan Gullible by the Delhi based theatre group Mostly Harmless Ink. The Director of the institute, Dr Anupama Suresh delivered the welcome address and felicitated our speaker.

Mr Aiyar’s began his talk by questioning the morality of democracy itself and the prevalence of ‘Money, Muscle and Influence’ in Indian businesses and politics today. To this effect he quoted Winston Churchill, “Democracy is the worst of all systems except for all the others”. He emphasised on the availability of choice in a democratic society, which is lacking in other forms of government, and stated that it was the same defence which capitalists used. He elaborated with two excellent examples; the inefficiency of Soviet policies which created widespread unrest and poverty, compared to markets, which he compared to computers, which match supply and demand. He also used the case of Berlin; although East Berlin was egalitarian, there was mass migration to the west due to the opportunities present.

The talk concluded with his views on corruption. He stated that although the scale of corruption has increased post liberalisation in India, its prevalence has in fact decreased in comparison to what it was in the pre liberalisation era, considering the relative size of the economy, then and now. He pointed out that the areas that are most corrupted are those with the greatest government involvement (natural resources, real estate and contracting) and backed these using statistics based on in a report by the World Bank on the relative ease of doing business in different countries.

To view photos of the day click here.

 
 
 

Day 3

Report: Gokhale Institute of Politics & Economics

The final program of Freedom Caravan: The Morality of Capitalism took place on 10 February, 2012 at Gokhale Institute of Politics & Economics. Over 70 faculty and students were present, including Dr Rajas Parchure, Director of the Institute. All the attendees were presented with the Indian edition of The Morality of Capitalism, a collection of essays edited by Tom G Palmer, as well as Social Change and Public Policy, published by the Centre for Civil Society.

The first part of the programme was a talk by Parth J Shah, founder-president of the Centre for Civil Society, on ‘Capitalism: Morality, Efficiency and Inclusion’. Using relevant examples like the difficulties faced by rickshaw pullers and the poor quality of state education, he outlined the importance of reviewing key government policies and turning towards the market in providing more effective solutions. The talk was followed by a theatre performance of A letter from Jonathan Gullible from Mostly Harmless Ink.

The second address of the day was delivered by Andrew Humphries, Charles G Koch Fellow with the Institute of Humane Studies and faculty at the Reason Individualism and Freedom Institute Summer Programs who developed on the ideas presented by Tom Palmer during his earlier talks in Delhi. Using practical examples like the advent of mobile technology, and interesting statistics based on research carried out by the Fraser Institute in Canada, he conveyed to students the benefits brought on by freer markets. The day was rounded up by the audience participating in the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.

With the end of Freedom Caravan, Centre for Civil Society has successfully reached out to over 3,000 students in Delhi and Pune.

To view Parth's presentation on Capitalism: Morality, Efficiency and Inclusion click here. To view photos of the day click here.