The Mont Pelerin Society was founded in 1947 by free-market luminaries Friedrich Hayek, Karl Popper, Ludwig von Mises, George Stigler, and Milton Friedman, among others. Its 2012 General Meeting took place at the Prague Castle between last Sunday and today.
Czech president Václav Klaus gave the following speech:
We Are Not on the Winning Side, by V.K.
I already had a chance to say earlier this week how pleased I am and we all are to host the Mont Pelerin Society General Meeting here in Prague. I hope you have been enjoying your stay.
More then 20 years ago, two years after the fall of communism in this country and this part of the world, we had here the MPS Regional Meeting, in which some of you participated. At that time, we were in the crucial moments of our radical transition from communism to free society which was in many respects based on the ideas connected with the Mont Pelerin Society. This meeting gave us important moral support and helped us in our efforts to get rid of the past and to build a free society in a MPS sense.
Since then, we have succeeded in changing the country substantially in this direction. As you may see, the Czech Republic has made a visible step forward. Yet, it would be inappropriate to declare victory.
For someone like me, who after the fall of communism actively participated in preparing and organizing radical political and economic changes, the world we live in now is a disappointment. We live in a far more socialist and etatist society than we had then imagined. After the promising beginning, we are in number of respects returning back to the era we used to live in in the past and which we had considered gone once and for all. Let me stress that I do not have in mind this country only but Europe and the whole Western world.
Continue reading at klaus.cz
Incidentally, there were apparently other fun talks at the meeting. For example, President Klaus was overseeing a talk by Spanish economist de Soto who gave the crispest available defense of the euro: it was the euro that finally forced Spain to make some serious pro-market (and anti-inflation) reforms, a valid point that surely has some counter-points, too. The most important counter-point is that the eurozone acts in both directions: it "Germanizes" PIGS but it also "piggifies" Germany.