Opening Reception: Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference, APEE

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Association of Private Enterprise Education
April 5, 2009 | Universidad Francisco Marroquín | Duración:..
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  • Good evening, everyone. It is really great to have you here at Universidad Francisco Marroquín. We are very proud to host this international convention of APEE. You probably heard me say it before, but I will say it again: I love this association, it does a wonderful job.
  • On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, I give you our warmest welcome, I hope you feel at home and I hope we have a very wonderful meeting. And now, I will leave you with our president, Jerry.
  • Thank you. Actually, it is a big honor to welcome you here to the Liberty Plaza at UFM. This is truly an outstanding school, in more difficult circumstances than the United States, and we have never accomplished anything like this.
  • Actually, I found out something that I thought was really cool. Do you know all these students running around? It is spring break here. They are not even getting paid.
  • A traditional thing to do, which is going to take a little longer than normal, this meeting, actually, has the highest number of papers on the program in the history of the Association, which is quite an accomplishment.
  • And, the credit for that goes to all the people on the Board, it goes to Giancarlo, it goes to all of you for coming under what, I know, are difficult circumstances for a lot of people. Now, one thing we always do, and is bigger this year, is to welcome all the international people over here.
  • It is my pleasure to introduce somebody who got a lot of cheers, Roberto Salinas León.
  • Thank you, Jerry, Mr. President. Dear friends, dear friends of the Francisco Marroquín University, it is a great pleasure to be here. I would like to welcome you to the Thirty-Fourth Annual Meeting of the Association of Private Enterprise Education.
  • The conference theme this year is "Institutions, Rule of Law and Prosperity," and its aim is to examine the relationship between the rule of law, institutions, and prosperity, with a special emphasis on the rule of property rights and the sound judicial systems in securing long-term economic growth.
  • This is, of course, a timeless discussion in our intellectual tradition, but it is especially relevant today, as we cope with one of the worst global economic downturns in our modern era, and with the unfortunate concomitant threat that has emerged against freedom, against markets, and open competition.
  • But, quite independently of this context, new fields of research and the condition for sustained growth have finally recognized the relevance of the rule of law, properly understood, in generating prosperity. In emerging economies across the globe, rights enforcement and contract compliance have gained the new place in the agenda of reform proposals.
  • The variety of global indexes, that we all know about, such as the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Report - we are doing business in the world -, certainly our own Economic Freedom of the World Report, highlight the key connection between the rule of law and economic institutions, with increasing levels of prosperity.
  • However, little work has been done in mainstream circles to adequately define such items and their importance in understanding open markets. In these APEE meetings, the majority of sessions explore these themes and related themes.
  • But, we have also several other sessions on parallel topics such as economic education, the relationship between markets and morals, as well as an emphasis in explaining the causes and the consequences of the global financial crisis. I am convinced that we have secured a program consistent with the standards of quality and intellectual innovation that have come to characterize APEE meetings.
  • In addition, we are very privileged to have several distinguished academics and powerful speakers, including the three who will be delivering our plenary sessions. We are especially proud that these meetings are being held in Guatemala, in this institution which is truly an intellectual home away from home, and a world class example of how the ideals of liberty can make a difference: Universidad Francisco Marroquín.
  • Indeed, as our ever present, Joe Keckeissen, reminded me last night - I do not see Joe around, he is not here.- Well, he did remind me last night, the letters of Francisco Marroquín University, UFM, can be rephrased in the English language, as University of Free Markets.
  • To this end and to the success of our conference this year, we owe a very special gratitude to all our friends here at Universidad Francisco Marroquín, and especially to APEE's past president, my dear friend and Dean of this great institution, Giancarlo Ibárgüen. A todos ustedes, queridos amigos, muchas gracias.
  • I hope you enjoy this Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education and that this proves to be a very rich and rewarding intellectual experience.
  • The Herman W. Lay Memorial Award does much more than recognize one of the founders of APEE. Herman Lay was an outstanding example of the entrepreneurial spirit. His path led from a single-snack-food truck to the chairman of the board of one of the world's largest firms: PepsiCo.
  • Herman was as generous as he was successful. His philanthropy extended to many causes, including the establishment of private enterprise and entrepreneurship programs. It is, as many of you know, a generous gift of his that made the formation of APEE possible.
  • And each year, APEE searches for individuals who, in their business and public lives, have emulated the pattern of success and philanthropy that Herman Lay lived. Recipients of the Herman W. Lay Memorial Award are selected because they are representative of the best that free enterprise system produces.
  • By calling attention to their lives and to their actions, APEE hopes to stimulate other individuals to be equally supportive of free enterprise and entrepreneurship. This evening, it is our great honor to present the 2009 Herman W. Lay Memorial Award to Jeff Davis Sandefer.
  • A former chairman of the board of the Acton Institute, Jeff is cofounder of the highly acclaimed Acton School of Business, which lately has received the highest rankings from a wide variety of formal reviews of MBA programs that exist throughout the United States.
  • I personally had a chance to listen to a presentation of his on Saturday afternoon at this campus, and what struck us to follow his work and admire his leadership was Jeff's emphasis on business as a trial and error process, and the need for unleashing the forces of entrepreneurship, and then, the value of hard work and innovation over the speculative quick fix one-minute millionaire programs that have otherwise influenced other MBA programs throughout the world.
  • This is one of the principles of the Acton MBA program, a program that is revolutionizing higher education throughout the United States, and I would say throughout the world.
  • Jeff Sandefer formerly managed Sandefer Capital, an energy investment fund worth half a billion US dollars. Like Herman W. Lay, Jeff too started early in these business ventures, barely at the age of 16. He, now, dedicates his life to teaching and to sowing the seeds for future generations of entrepreneurs.
  • Indeed, for these and other reasons, he has been named by Business Weekas one of the top entrepreneurship professors in the United States. Jeff Davis Sandefer will surely remind us tonight that there is more to life than money and awards.
  • These do not define success, in his view. As the inscription on the tombstone of his great grandfather, the great late Jefferson Davis Sandefer, says: "A good name is rather to be had than great riches." A good name, indeed, which would make Jeff's great grandfather very proud.
  • It is our very great honor, this evening, to recognize Jeff Davis Sandefer with the 2009 Herman W. Lay Memorial Award, for his ideas, for his actions, for his dedication, his good name, but above all, for his outstanding contributions to the ideals of free enterprise and entrepreneurship.
  • There is no greater honor than to be honored by your peers, the peers you respect, teachers, and there is no greater honor for me than to receive an award in front of my hero, Giancarlo. So, I have to say, I am humbled and I will do everything I can to live up to this. Thank you.
  • The Adam Smith Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Association of Private Enterprise Education. It is given to recognize an individual who has made a sustained and lasting contribution to the perpetuation of the ideals of a free market economy, as first laid out by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations.
  • The recipient of this award must be an individual who has acquired a reputation as an eloquent scholar and recognized advocate of the free enterprise system and the system of entrepreneurship which underlies it.
  • In searching for a recipient, APEE looks for someone who through the writings, speaking and professional life, has focused attention upon the fundamental principles that are the bulwark of our organization. Our recipient this evening for the 2009 version of APEE's Adam Smith Award is Dr. José Piñera.
  • José Piñera is president of the International Center for Pension Reform, and distinguished senior fellow of The Cato Institute. He boasts a long list of accomplishments, both in his home country, Chile, as well as throughout the world.
  • Of course, he is best known for having engineered and implemented into federal law Chile's remarkable system of private individual retirement accounts, a reform which has served as a model to emulate in several different countries throughout Latin America, including my own home country, Mexico, as well as other countries throughout the globe.
  • And, as perhaps most of you know, Dr. Piñera is recognized precisely for this accomplishment and for exporting the idea of individual accounts in all the world. But, in thinking of Dr. Piñera, José, Pepe, for this award, there is much more to consider, and to mention.
  • José is a gifted and powerful communicator, who believes in the need for rigor in developing an idea, but also equally believes in the need to communicate such ideas in both a forceful and convincing, and accessible manner. His is not a lofty practice isolated from the trappings of real life, sequestered in a model with no application, with no attempt to make a difference.
  • José will, I hope, share with us how this ability for economic communication was instrumental, not only in his efforts to push the historic privatization of pension accounts but also in his extremely creative and fundamental role in making market-based mining reform and flexible labor reform realities in Chile, in the heyday of the great structural reform period in that country.
  • In effect, he will also share with us tomorrow, in his plenary session, in no small part, this is one of the reasons why Chile is today ranked No. 6 in the latest version of the Economic Freedom of the World Report. The United States, by the way, is ranked No. 8.
  • In this sense, José Piñera is a true multidisciplinarian who is always keen to combine principles with the details of context and practice. As he will surely convey to us this evening, and or tomorrow, in his plenary session, one of his fundamental teachings is to maintain a radical position in our focus, but always to remain prudent and observant of detail in the process of executing reform.
  • Yet, another crucial premise is that in developing and implementing structural reforms, we must never lose sight that the main benefit of such market-oriented changes is that they represent a way to empower individuals with liberty, freedom of choice, and property ownership rights. These guiding methodologies are certainly faithful and well within the lore of Smithian tradition.
  • The teachings of José Piñera and the example he sets for all of us in APEE, indeed, for all of us who champion the cause of liberty and open markets, is especially relevant in our current circumstance. As we face the threats of rising protectionism, the new assault on property rights, and the new fashion of creeping neostatism, in Latin America, but in the world at large as well.
  • To this end, we are fortunate to have individuals in the tradition of Adam Smith who have, with ideas, but also with consequences, set an example of hope in the defense of individual liberty, competition and the power of entrepreneurship.
  • It is my great honor, it is our great honor, in this setting, in this Plaza de la Libertad of the Universidad Francisco Marroquín, our intellectual home away from home, to present the 2009 Adam Smith Award of the Association of Private Enterprise Education to Dr. José Piñera.
  • Thank you very much, Roberto, for that generous introduction. I am very honored to receive this award and I am especially happy to receive it here in Universidad Francisco Marroquín. I remember that only 4 years ago, this University made me the honor of giving me an honorary doctorate, and it was given to me by a real hero of liberty, Manuel Ayau, who is the founder of this University.
  • Now, I would like to focus my remarks on acknowledging the enormous debt that my country, Chile, and me personally have for American private education.
  • The real inflection point in Chilean history, recent history, was in 1956, when a visionary American professor, the Dean of the School of Economics of Chicago University, Theodore Schulz, decided to sign an agreement with the Catholic University of Chile to transfer good free market ideas to my country.
  • You must remember that my country, as most of Latin America, was conquered by the Spaniards 500 years ago. They gave us very valuable things like our language, our culture, our God, but they also gave us a centralized tradition, an economic system based on state interventionism, that has kept Latin America poor and underdeveloped, maybe for 500 years.
  • So, this project, it was called the Chile Project, was an extraordinary event because it is a tribute to the fact that ideas have consequences, the project basically consisted of an exchange of Chilean students who went to study at Chicago after they graduated in Chile, Chicago professors who went to Chile to teach.
  • They endowed a wonderful library with the texts of liberty, etc. This project went on and on for many years, creating a critical mass of free market economies in Chile that not only had a common diagnosis of what was wrong with our country, why there was so much poverty and underdevelopment in countries that are endowed with so much natural resources, but also a common solution to those problems.
  • That is the key to change the world. I was fortunate enough to be one of the students of that University and that is why we are all called Chicago Boys.
  • But then, when I graduated in Chile and I had a scholarship to Chicago, I decided to go for my master's and my PhD in economics to Harvard University, because I realized that if I wanted to make a difference, to change my country, I needed to be more than an economist.
  • I wanted to have an education also in history, political science, disciplines that are crucial if you want to persuade, educate and communicate, so that you can bring about real change.
  • And then, in my years at Harvard, where I really did not have to study too much Economics, because I already had Chicago economics - and that is the best, - I used a lot of my time to attend classes on every possible subject, to read about America, and then I discovered the Founding Fathers.
  • We had, in our education in Chile, a very light idea of the Founding Fathers but it was at Harvard, really, that I discovered that the secret of the success of America is the fact that you have that generation that created the institutions that have made possible such a great country.
  • And, I was very impressed by the documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the US; incidentally, we at Cato have produced a bilingual edition of the Declaration of Independence, because we thought, with my colleagues, that there are 44 million Hispanics in America, and their children, some of them, do not speak English.
  • So, we said, what if we sell these and the fathers teach their children English with the language of liberty, with the words of Jefferson and Madison. So, this is a bilingual edition of the Declaration and the Constitution that I never had in my youth in Chile, but I give it around the world now.
  • Well, what impressed me the most about the Founding Fathers was first the fact that they had such a clear idea of what a limited government should be, about the rule of law, about the institutions. I always remember that key element in the Declaration, that people have of course their natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  • But, that governments are instituted among men to secure those rights and only for that. Once in Chile, I suggested to the Chilean Congress that they should put in front of their session the line that the role of government is to secure the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, so that every time they were considering a law they should look up and see whether that law was consistent with the proper role of government.
  • Of course, they did not accept, because probably they would have never approved any law, you see, 99 percent of their work is outside the boundaries of the proper role of government.
  • But, I was also very impressed by a second element, the fact that the Founding Fathers, even though they were all successful lawyers or inventors or whatever, decided to engage in an imperfect world, in the world of public policy, in order to make a difference.
  • It was a very imperfect world, we know that the Declaration said that all men are born equal, but yet the compromise at that moment was to keep slavery; so, I can imagine how hard it must have been for Thomas Jefferson, who wrote a lot with enormous eloquence against slavery, but he had to accept that you cannot reach the optimum situation in one step.
  • And he knew, of course, that the power of those words, sooner or later, were going to result in the abolition of slavery; but at that time, he presided a country for two periods with slavery, of course. So, they knew that you have sometimes to engage in an imperfect world, and that the key element is to do it in a principled way, a principled engagement in an imperfect world, try to change the world.
  • And, we economists know when you are making a difference, in economics called the second derivative, that it is the trend, whether your actions are improving the trend toward liberty, toward democracy, toward rule of law.
  • But, you may begin in a situation where all those variables are not in an optimum level, as they are in most countries of the world, some people would say even including the US today.
  • So, I was very impressed by that, and when my country finally had a terrible crisis, the breakdown of its democracy, a civil war, hyperinflation, chaos, I was at Harvard, teaching Economics, at that time I had a teaching position, drinking cappuccinos with my students.
  • So, I was a very happy man, but I had to decide whether to stay there and to complain and maybe never to visit my country again because my country at that moment was going toward being a second Cuba, that was prevented of course, or to go back.
  • And, at that time, I said: "I have to go back and bring the Founding Fathers' ideas," because I realized that one of the greatest problems of Latin America was not only the legacy of the Spanish Bourbons and the 500-year tradition of state interventionism,
  • but, also the fact that the liberators in Latin America, the generals who were extremely brave and able to defeat the Spanish empire were unable to found republics based on the rule of law. So, we had, in Latin America, founding generals but not Founding Fathers.
  • The great heroes are Simón Bolívar, O'Higgins, San Martín. They all fought the Spaniards, but they replaced the rule of one elite with the rule of another elite, and they never really instituted a system of liberty and freedom in Latin America.
  • So, my dream was to bring back the Founding Fathers, to go back to Chile with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, in a way. Now, you can imagine how my colleagues at Harvard said: "that is crazy." And, yet I decided to go back.
  • And the rest is history, tomorrow I will explain exactly what we did in Chile, and why what we did in Chile is so important for Latin America. Latin America, at the end of the day, has to choose, either the road of Chile, ultimately the role of the Founding Fathers, or the role of the Cuban Revolution, of another experiment, but following Lenin, and Marx, and Mao, and so on.
  • And, Latin America is still on the edge with two different revolutions, two very different experiences and until we understand very well the nature of those experiences, and how to promote them and how to communicate them, we will not be able really to have a continent based on free markets and democracy.
  • So, I just wanted to tell you briefly my enormous debt to private education, to the Founding Fathers and to America. And, I am extremely happy of having taken the decision to go back, this was in 1975, and to have proven to my Harvard colleagues that nothing happens unless it is first a dream. So, thank you very much and ¡Viva la libertad!
  • Initial credits
  • Welcome by Giancarlo Ibárgüen S., president of Universidad Francisco Marroquín
  • Opening remarks by Gerald P. Dwyer, president of APEE
  • Final credits
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The Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) was held at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. At the opening reception, UFM President Giancarlo Ibargüen and APEE President Gerald P. Dwyer welcomed the participants. Roberto Salinas León, APEE vice president, explained the theme of this year's three-day conference. During the evening two APEE awards were also presented. The 2009 Herman W. Lay Memorial Award was presented to Jeff Sandefer. Sandefer is one of the founders of the renowned Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship program. The 2009 Adam Smith Award was presented to José Piñera, president of the International Center for Pension Reform and distinguished senior fellow of the CATO Institute.



Thirty-Annual Conference, APEE
Opening Reception

Association of Private Enterprise Education

Plaza de la Libertad
Universidad Francisco Marroquín
Guatemala, April 5, 2009

New Media - UFM production.  Guatemala, April 2009
Camera: Jorge Samayoa, Manuel Alvarez; digital editing: Rebeca Zuñiga; index and synopsis: Sebastian del Buey; content revisers: Daphne Ortiz, Jennifer Keller; production: Mario Pivaral / Carlos Petz

Imagen: cc.jpgThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 License
Este trabajo ha sido registrado con una licencia Creative Commons 3.0

About APEE

The Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) is an association of teachers and scholars from colleges and universities, public policy institutes, and industry with a common interest in studying and supporting the system of private enterprise. APEE hosts an annual conference for members to share their scholarly findings and offers a number of awards to recognize individuals who have contributed to the cause of private enterprise. Support for young scholars is often available to attend the annual conference. The association sponsors the Journal of Private Enterprise so scholars may share their research with the wider academic community. Through a generous gift from the John Templeton Foundation, APEE also hosts an essay contest for students and an on-line bookstore.

Last update: 04/16/2009

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