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Our partners from the IEA are currently hiring for two roles in the Programmes Department.

They also offer several internship positions throughout the year; you can find out more about them here.

Jobs

Programmes Assistant and EPICENTER Outreach Officer

The IEA seeks to recruit a highly motivated individual to work full time on one of our major projects, EPICENTER. This role would suit someone with a keen interest in European policy who is looking for an exciting new challenge. The successful candidate will be given the opportunity to develop and build on the initial successes of this exciting network.

The position will be based at the IEA offices in Westminster, London although it will involve regular travel to Brussels and elsewhere in Europe. The role will involve working directly with the IEA’s Director of Programmes and the EPICENTER Director. There is significant scope for career progression if the candidate does well in the role.

This is an excellent opportunity for an entrepreneurial, detail-oriented and fiercely deadline-driven individual to gain experience working at a one of Westminster’s leading think tanks. We are looking for someone who is very reliable, with a can-do attitude who gets things done.

This role would suit a highly organised, friendly and personable individual who is an excellent communicator and enjoys regularly meeting new people and working in an exciting and challenging environment. European language skills would also be helpful but are not a requirement.

EPICENTER Research Fellow

The IEA seeks to recruit a highly motivated individual to work full time on one of our major projects, EPICENTER. This role would suit someone with a keen interest in European policy who is looking for an exciting new challenge. The successful candidate will be given the opportunity to develop and build on the initial successes of this exciting network.

The position will be based at the IEA offices in Westminster, London, although it may involve occasional travel to Brussels and elsewhere in Europe. The role will involve working directly with the EPICENTER Head of Research and its Director. This is an excellent opportunity for a conscientious researcher to gain experience working at one of Westminster’s leading think tanks. We are looking for someone who is reliable, analytical and prolific.

This role would suit a highly organised individual who is an excellent writer and has a background in economics. Candidates with European language skills – particularly German, French and/ or Polish – will be preferred.

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Please visit this page for more information on requirements and how to apply!

Have you ever dreamed of spending a fair amount of time in a beautiful scenery, surrounded by smart liberty-loving people, developing your skills at work that you simply like? Well, then we might have something for you. Project Arizona is a brand new endeavour of our friend and former ESFL Local Coordinator, Jacek Spendel from Poland.

Project Arizona is designed for young people (age 20-30) who aim to strengthen their career perspectives, educate themselves in the American freedom tradition, and broaden their professional networks. Organizers from the Language of Liberty Institute (LLI) underline that their goal is to inspire participants with successful examples of implemented libertarian solutions. The state of Arizona is currently going through very interesting changes that are freedom oriented in their nature. This is happening at the crossroads of the third sector, the judicial branch and local government. Project Arizona is an excellent opportunity to explore it.

The core of Project Arizona is constituted by four elements:

1. Education: A week-long Academic Seminar on Free Markets and American Political History at the Arizona State University. The seminar will be co-sponsored by LLI partners: ASU Center for Political Thought and Leadership and ASU Center for the Study of Economic Liberty.

2. Internships : Project Arizona’s bank of paid internship providers is quite rich and includes think-tanks, law firms, the office of AZ Supreme Court Judge Clint Bolick, and tech companies. An internship will last four months.

3. Networking opportunities: Exclusive weekly meetings will be an opportunity to get to know high-profile people: businessmen, think-tank leaders and politicians.

4. Charity: Participants will be encouraged to dedicate some time to local charities, for instance by helping orphans or preparing food for the poor – since libertarians are not as cold-hearted as others like to portray them.

Project Arizona is not a project for the masses. Quite contrary, it will accommodate only 10 people who will live in one house in Phoenix. The first edition of the project will start in February and end in June 2017. There is a participation fee which will be reduced by scholarships granted to individuals. Scholarship receivers will be chosen based on merit and needs. European Students for Liberty is the partnering organization for Project Arizona and students associated with ESFL will be prioritized. Recruitment has already started on the project’s website www.projectarizona.us and will last until October.

In an attempt to better share our current activities with our network, SFL is beginning an SFL Around the World blog post series.  At the beginning of each month, each region will post an update to their regional blog page to share their current activities.  Please stay tuned for more updates next month!

July was another exciting month which ESFLers have mostly spent by making a lot of preparations, training, and improving skills as well as promoting and organising events throughout Europe. After weeks of preparations, all registrations for the new season of regional conferences were launched. Moreover, ESFL announced the date for its biggest event of the year, the ESFLC 2017, which will take place on March 17th-19th 2017. The following update highlights some of the most successful events organised by ESFL leaders.

Leadership Forum Lviv

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Twenty highly motivated students participated in the Leadership Forum in Lviv for two days of training, discussion and networking. Pictured here is Katarzyna Cyrbus, the Regional Director for Eastern Europe, discussing the strategic development of the region with ESFL leaders from Ukraine, Belarus and Poland. Yauheni Preiherman, an economist at Liberal Clap of Belarus, the biggest liberal organisation of Belarus, was a speaker at the Leadership Forum. Through our contact with this organisation, we now have two student leaders from Belarus!

Online Marketing Training

In order to provide additional training in marketing, branding and design, we organised a five-week long Advanced Marketing Training for our leaders. The attendees got the chance to acquire new knowledge, skills and practice in both online and offline marketing, social media, advertising, branding and visual identity and also events promotion. In addition to that, the online course will be followed with a gathering of the most successful participants.

‘Poverty: who to blame’ lecture by prof Bryan Caplan 

DSC02172-768x512Professor Bryan Caplan, associate professor of economics at George Mason University and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, gave a lecture to Students For Liberty Heidelberg. The lecture was titled “Poverty: Who to blame”, a complex question indeed, and was followed by lively discussion with the dozens of students in the audience, concerning questions on the relationship between happiness and prosperity.

Lithuania Summer Festival

From 22-24 July, the traditional Summer Festival of Lithuania took place near the Rubikiai Lake. The event aims to attract liberty minded people from all over the country, and create a bond between them. Besides ESFL, the organisations involved in the event included Lithuanian Free Market Institute, Latvijas attīstībai Jaunatnes nodaļa and Tallinna linna noortevolikogu. During this years edition, more than 150 young people gathered to share their ideas and activities, to network and meet new people, and to have a great time and spread liberty.

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Dr. Hubertus Porschen is the Chairman of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs in Germany DIE JUNGEN UNTERNEHMER.

Once again governments of the Eurozone-states didn’t live up to the agreements they previously reached with the EU-Commission on how to cut their deficits in 2015. In a violation of group solidarity they broke a promise which they reached with the citizens of the Eurozone. In 2015, Spain’s deficit amounted up to 5.1 percent, Portugal’s deficit came to 4.4 percent. It was 2007 when Spain last managed to get below the agreed limit of 3.0 per cent. Portugal never did since the start of the Euro in 1999.

The EU-Commission is supposed to be the guardian of the treaties. How did it react after receiving the biggest possible proof of distrust trough the event of Brexit? The Commission decided (driven by powerful ministers or not) to leave Portugal and Spain off the hook again. This is a scandal!

According to the Maastricht criteria the national budget deficit should not exceed 3 percent of its GDP. The rules of the EU entitle the Commission to sanction those countries not obeying the criteria. After having flexibilised the underlying Growth and Stability Pact during the Euro-Crises the EU Commission has even more leeway in decision-making. We now have the proof that the Commission softened the rules once again.

In result Spain and Portugal get another deadline once again. Even worse: Towards France the Commission turns a blind eye altogether – ‘because it is France’. Between 1999 and 2014 the EU-Commission witnessed 109 unauthorised breaches of the EU’s rules, among them the deficits of Germany and France.

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Portugal’s Minister of Higher Education recently made some negative comments about Praxe, a set of initiation rituals at Portuguese unis, that made me feel a mix of anger and disgust.

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Costumed older students perform rituals on a freshman. Source: Flickr

It is difficult to explain exactly what Praxe is if you are not from Portugal. It’s a set of costumes, rituals, codes of conduct, community work, dinners, songs, activities and hierarchies. For example, a suit and cape for older students to wear, a book on how students should behave during Praxe activities, hierarchies on who organizes what, etc. Each university has it’s own traditions, with different clothes, books, games, and so on.

The tradition of Praxe can be traced back to the 14th century, when monks used to perform rituals to initiate new entrants to the monastery. Praxe usually involves a weekly meeting where the older students wear their costumes and the younger students do as their seniors say, within the bounds of reason. The older students aim to break the ice between the freshmen by making them play together in a childish manner, almost like in kindergarten. Younger students are treated as children and if they make mistakes they are commanded to perform a physical activity, such as push-ups or jumping jacks. Usually, they play the sort of games you’d find in a kindergarten or on a scouts field trip. Never, ever with drinks even nearby.  This is all with supervision from other elected students to assure everything stays in line with the code of conduct. Participating in Praxe is completely voluntary.

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The French parliament recently adopted an amendment to an “Equality & Citizenship” bill that will introduce a civic service obligation for thousands of young people between ages 18 to 25. In a time when young people demand more freedom and restrictions on them have been lifted all throughout Europe, this measure proves France’s insufferable obsession with control.

The amendment that has been introduced and approved by the French National Assembly makes a major change to the efforts of president François Hollande to make civic service more widespread to teach ‘the values of the Republic’ by simply making it compulsory for everyone. The proposed plan would force young people from the age of 18 to attend a so called ‘republican class’ that lasts for three months, after finishing secondary school. The purpose of this class will be to teach the fundamental values of the French state.

In a second step, the classic civil service will be made mandatory as well, for a period of six months that can be divided into two three month periods. That means that young people up until the age of 25 will have to get engaged with either an NGO or a government institution (municipalities, regional administrations, ministries etc.) The government has announced that it favours this amendment.

This decision will now be submitted to the Senate before it will return to parliament, but it has a clear chance of passing both houses. France will then become the first country in Europe to introduce a mandatory civil service (if we exclude mandatory military service or civil service as a substitute for military service).

It is a sign of desperation at least. With the trust in government at a record low, the country being paralised by the still ongoing strikes and the repeated threat of terrorism, the political class tries to make sure that the next generation is being made obedient to authority beyond classic state education. What masquerades itself as a measure to teach respect for the rule of law is nothing but another drain on the creativity and freedom of choice of young people:

9 months of their time, instead of spending it on their dreams, careers, hobbies or leisure, is to be devoted to government. Instead of being the entrepreneurs of their life, young people will get taught that becoming a civil servant is a virtue that will benefit their neighbours.

All this in a country where the army of civil servants is soon to be 6 million and where more than half of your income goes to government. What could possibly go wrong?

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The EU-induced overregulation claim has little evidence for it, why do many libertarians want to believe it?

As some commentators aptly noted, given that Brexit poses a serious risk to the maintenance of free trade between the UK and its largest trading partner and the free movement for a large number of people between the two, without any guaranteed major gains on these issues elsewhere, the default libertarian position should be ‘Remain’. Why, then, do many if not most, libertarians appear to favour ‘Leave’?

These libertarians largely seem to believe that the EU causes a lot more government intervention in the domains beyond foreign trade and immigration than would  have been present without the EU. Unfortunately, the only evidence that they provide involves anecdata on singular bizarre regulations (like the one on the curvature of bananas) whose significance in the big picture is pretty dubious.

It is of course difficult to prove anything about counterfactual scenarios in social contexts, because we are not in a position to arrange true controlled experiments. However, recognizing a key feature of the EU legislation provides us with the best (if still flawed) possibility to theorize about a situation where there had never been a EU.

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Not far from the Old Town, in a suburb in the north of Prague, lies a black, three store house that doesn’t seem to stand out from the rest of the buildings in the neighbourhood. Unless you enter it.

As you step in, you can congratulate yourself— you’ve just entered the world’s first bitcoin-only cafe— Bitcoin Coffee. The Paralelni Polis project was founded by a Czech contemporary art group Ztohoven and members of Slovak and Czech hackerspaces. They were inspired by Czech dissident Vaclav Benda, a leading persona of the movement for greater political freedom in the 1970s, and Timothy C. May, one of the founding members of Cypherpunks and the author of The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto.

Before your sight has a chance to explore the spacious room in front of you, your attention might get caught by a weird looking kiosk at your right hand side. A closer look reveals you that this big machine is nothing less than a true Bitcoin ATM.

Soon enough you’ll find out there is no space for any Fiat currencies — established as money under the force of law — in this house. If you want to taste the extraordinarily delicious coffee served here, you will have to press the button on a small black box next to the ATM so it can print out a paper wallet containing a unique Bitcoin address with both your public and private key. Of course, you can also use mobile wallets on your smartphone.

As you are saying “goodbye” to your money while inserting paper notes in the ATM, your paper wallet will immediately receive the inserted amount in bitcoins, and you are ready to go — with digital gold in your pocket!

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Photo by Patrik Repka

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After the Brexit vote in the UK there is a lot of speculation concerning the next countries to leave the European Union. France is being repeatedly named in those lists. There are several reasons why that will never happen:

The European Union embodies the French political dreamland

Unlike the United Kingdom, France has no close relation to classical liberalism, individual liberty or limited government: all France’s trust is put in the government, whether it be related to dealing with the housing situation, unemployment or lifestyle choices. The French are constantly woven in a net of comforting (yet economically devastating) socialism, so a political union that tries to regulate them even more doesn’t find too much opposition in the country.

Adding to this love of redistribution, France loves centralisation. If politicians could coordinate the construction of tunnels in the Alps from Paris, they most likely would. However, running regions, districts and unified municipalities that are effectively powerless, is still essential to offer well-paid careers to members of the political class. So what more could they want than an enormous political body with numerous institutions in which’s maze of unaccountability you will get lost easily?

While British politicians are fairly unpopular in Brussels, French MEPs make up the core of the political groups and their messages, especially those who have pushed political integration and centralisation. It is a roundup to their political career, their last honour or their last chance to be considered real statesmen.

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The outcome of the new elections in Spain (elections that are the direct consequence of the inability of the four main parties to form a government after the December 2015 elections) has come as a surprise to virtually everyone. A black swan made its appearance while the votes were still being counted. The Popular Party won the election with 33% of the votes and 137 seats (out of 350), 14 more than in the December elections (although 49 fewer than those obtained in 2011). Despite being cornered by numerous cases of corruption, the conservatives did not only surpass their own expectations, but they also beat most polls, which forecasted the same seats and percentage in votes that they had achieved in the previous elections.

However, the most significant surprise of the election night was, no doubt, the fiasco of Unidos Podemos, the coalition of Podemos, the radical party disguised as social democrat and led by Pablo Iglesias (former advisor to the Venezuelan government), and Izquierda Unida, the former Communist Party. By standing together for the elections, the coalition expected to take advantage of the electoral law, which favors the concentration of votes, and thereby to increase the number of seats in Congress. Yet the coalition lost more than one million votes, which roughly coincides with the number of people that abstained from going to the ballots in comparison with the December election.

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