Ghost Cities and Excessive Infrastructure in China

Shenyang, China, July 7-14, 2019

China suffers from excess of infrastructure: ghost cities, empty highways, useless metros, trains, and airports. We discussed ways to allow private companies to invest, own, and manage different types of infrastructure projects.

Institutional Factors behind Electricity Blackouts

Antigua, Guatemala, January 18, 2019

Electricity blackouts can create a serious impediment to growth. We stressed the importance of changing the institutional factors preventing competition and aligning the incentives of decision makers with the interest of the public.

Electricity Blackouts: The case of Guatemala

Guatemala City, Guatemala, January 16-17, 2019

We met the current and the former vice minister of energy and the president of the electricity regulation authority. We discussed how the country shifted from 18 hours of daily outages to zero hours and from buying electricity from Enron’s power ships, to becoming the number 1 exporter of electricity in Central America.

Electricity Blackouts: The case of Lebanon

New York City, USA November 6-7, 2018 

We explain about blackouts that happen every day in Lebanon, without fail. We discussed our approach to working with policy makers in order to solve the electricity crisis. 

Privatization of the Telecom Sector

Marrakech, Morocco May 2, 2018

Some developing countries are not achieving their full technological potential, due to the slow and expensive internet services. We showed how freeing the market from unnecessary boundaries would benefit businesses and individuals.

Infrastructure Reform and Civil Unrest

Rabat, Morocco, Dec 8 – 9, 2017

Rent seeking behavior and bad infrastructure are sometimes the cost of maintaining civil peace. We stressed on the importance of working with policy makers in order to achieve tangible market friendly results.

Electricity Reform and Sectarian Tensions

New York, USA, November 7 – 8, 2017

We laid out a general framework for analyzing the Lebanese sectarian-political system and discussed market-oriented solutions for the daily 12-hour power outages.

Alternative to Government Investments

Shenyang, China, July 14, 2017

We showed how investments driven by government bureaucracy go hand-in-hand with monopolies and excesses. We then compare it to the services provided in a competitive market with voluntary payment and choice.

Electricity Reform and Institutional Barriers

Xiamen, China, May 14, 2017

Government monopoly on electricity is sometimes used as a vehicle to generate rent, limit competition, and provide access to jobs and contracts. We show the possibility of striking a Coasian contract to allow more access to the electricity market.

Quotas on Milk in Rwanda

Bujumbura, Burundi, June 6, 2019

Rwandese women cross the borders every day to sell their milk in Congo. On their way back to their homes, the customs will force these poor women to get rid of their remaining unsold milk. They are obliged to throw it in the river, instead of taking it back to their families.

Tariffs on Food in the Great Lakes of Africa 

Bujumbura, Burundi, June 5, 2019

We highlighted the importance of free trade in reducing poverty. Today, trade restrictions and tariffs prevent the poorest living in the Great Lakes area from obtaining cheaper and better food.

Trade War between the USA and China

Shenyang, China July 21-26, 2018

We showed how the balance of payment is always balanced, as trade deficit leads to a financial surplus. To illustrate, China uses US dollars obtained through trade to invest in American bonds, which explains the low interest rates in the United States.

Limits of Trade Protectionism

Tunis, Tunisia November 23 – 26, 2017

We highlighted tariff and non-tariff barriers, argued for the importance of free trade, and suggested novel ideas for reforms.

Bitcoin VS Libra

Beijing, China, July 12, 2019

We showed how Bitcoin is struggling to become a generally accepted means of payment for small daily transactions despite the development or the Lightning Network. Facebook’s Libra on the other hand, is a privately issued banknote that will be widely accepted by a large number of corporations.

Blockchain and finance

Singapore, August 10-11, 2018

We discussed the future of blockchain and finance. We presented alternative ways for the denationalization of money. The focus was on the ability of cryptocurrencies to replace fiat money.

The Safe Heaven of Bitcoin

Beijing, China, July 29, 2018

We presented empirical evidence showing that Bitcoin behaves like commodities. We investigated the intrinsic value of the cryptocurrency and focused on its ability to transfer money out of troubled currencies.

A fresh Solution for Water Pollution in Lebanon

Beirut, Lebanon, September 25, 2018

Polluted water in Lebanon derives from the lack of a sewer system, thus allowing waste to seep into the groundwater, rivers, and lakes. We suggested dividing the sector three distinct parts: production, transport, and distribution, and allowing competition on every part.

Private Solutions for Externalities

Beijing, China, July 13, 2017

We suggested private solutions to correct externalities as opposed to government intervention. Government intervention will inevitably open the door for additional distortion.

Effective Environmental Solutions

Gummersbach, Germany, October 15-27, 2017

We brainstormed on the visibility, consistency, efficacy and success of environmental solutions. Environmental degradation is an important issue that should be addressed through: (1) clear and transparent system of property rights, (2) aliment of incentives, and (3) bottom-up initiatives by citizens and corporations.

The Economy of Lebanon

Lebanon’s Transition to Prosperity

Rabat, Morocco, December 7-8, 2018

We described the Lebanese experience during the 1940s and how the founding fathers of the modern Lebanon were able to ensure a transition, only by liberating the society and limiting government intervention in the economy.

Lebanon’s Current Challenges

Krakow, Poland, August 12-15, 2018

We presented the major economic challenges facing Lebanon, including high debt, excessive public spending, and bad infrastructure, which are related to an institutionalized system of rent extraction.

Lebanon’s Transition to Civil War

Guatemala City, Guatemala, January 14, 2019

We showed how the widespread of socialist ideologies in Lebanon the 60s led to bad policies, civil war, and an inflated government size which is today at the heart of the economic slowdown of the country.

Leaders Academy

Athens, Greece, May 9-10, 2019

We presented the institute’s Leaders Academy and highlighted the program’s ability to introducing market-oriented ideas to the staff of political parties.

Role of traditional media

Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 1, 2019

We highlighted the importance of traditional media in promoting market-oriented policy reforms despite the emerging role of social media. Discussions centered on making Sri Lanka the new Singapore, as it has all the needed talents and characteristics.

The experience of others

Khemisset, Morocco, December 3-7, 2018

We pointed out that the most suitable way to improve the Arab world is by implementing successfully tested market solutions and customizing them to fit each country’s society.

Coalition Building

Sousse, Tunisia, November 17 – 19, 2017

Building alliances and ensuring their sustainability help amplify the impact, reach a wider audience and obtain better results. On the other hand, coalitions may face political, legal, financial, organizational, and strategic challenges.