Since the 1800s, the average person’s standard of living in developing nations has increased by about 900%. In rich countries, the improvement is closer to 2900%. This is no mere statistic. The horizons for the average human were extended greatly by this economic miracle. Literacy grew, hunger fell, and all of a sudden more and more people could afford to find ways to enrich their lives beyond merely trying to survive.
But what caused this ‘hockey-stick’ spike in economic growth that greatly improved the human condition? Why did it take place only post-1800, not in Golden Age of England of the 16th century, nor in the Islamic Golden Age of the 8th to 14th centuries, nor in the Classical Greek age of Plato? The economist/philosopher Deirdre McCloskey has a simple explanation for this economic miracle that she terms the ‘The Great Enrichment’. The Great Enrichment was birthed by mainstream acceptance of the ideas of liberty and free markets. Where entrepreneurship and profit used to be scorned, there was a widespread change in attitudes that saw dignity in economic achievement. This change in ideas led to The Great Enrichment. In other words, ideas of liberty and economic freedom matters.
Everywhere we look, we find evidence that free markets have brought freedom and a more prosperous standard of living to countries that have embraced it than countries that do not. Compare present day South Korea to North Korea. Witness the radical reductions of destitute poverty with market liberalisation policies in post-1979 China and post-1991 India. This is a cause to celebrate capitalism, not condemn it.
The ideas of capitalism and libertarianism matters. It matters because it is the only historically-proven way that has enabled mankind’s greatest strides in artistic, scientific and economic progress. We in the privileged first-world owe it to the poor to let them enjoy the same standards of living as we do. Therefore, we should stand and strive for the very principles that has brought us to where we are. Both as appreciation for the miracle that it has provided, and for what it allows humanity to accomplish.
As a member of Students for Liberty, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved: you can write content for our blog, plan and execute events behind the scenes, or reach out to build our community.
Moreover, we encourage individuals to take the initiative and come forward with new ways to advance our movement. So, if you have great ideas and are itching to bring them into the real world, then take action.
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Furthermore, being involved means that you will be able to foster various skills and capabilities that will serve you well in your career.
Keen on learning how to network or communicate effectively? What about how to lead a team, or how best to express your thoughts and opinions through writing?
At Students for Liberty, we work to ensure that each member has the chance to build up their individual agency, to be the best version of themselves that they can be.
Finally, Students for Liberty opens the door to a global network of liberty-minded individuals. Be it at training workshops or full-scale conferences, there will be plenty of chances to rub shoulders with professors, policymakers, and prominent scholars that the average student will rarely have access to. In turn, many student leaders from around the world have taken such opportunities to make strident advancements in their lives and careers.
One such case is that of Maximilian Wirth, who was formerly a student leader in Germany at the University of Maastricht. During his time there, Maximilian hosted multiple conferences, bumped shoulders with policy experts, and developed his capability for dealing with laws and regulations.
Eventually, he would go on to work at the prominent Cato Institute in Washington, DC, before settling in his current role as policy advisor for Frank Schäffler, a member of German parliament who has a strong passion for liberty.
Or take the case of Liya Palagashvili, who was once a student leader in New York who has gone on to become Assistant Professor of Economics at SUNY-Purchase College and a research fellow at NYU Law. She notes that her time at Students for Liberty introduced her to a community of life-long friends, as well as key skills in communicating the ideas of liberty.
Notably, Liya also conducted monthly webinars during her stint, and in 2016, she was selected as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for Law & Policy due to her research in how regulatory frameworks affect the working environment for tech startups.