No one in this room is against opening up of societies, against elimination of all kinds of barriers and obstacles to the free, unconstrained exchange of ideas, of people, of goods and services, of money. Some of us, especially from Central and Eastern Europe, know from our personal experience what it means to live in closed, inward-looking, almost autarchic societies where any form of contact with the outside world was prohibited (or at least made very difficult). We know what it means to live in the world of barriers, obstacles, borders, prohibitions and – eventually – of permissions to be allowed to do something or to go somewhere.
Current European unification process is, however, not only or not predominantly about opening-up, but at the same time, about introducing massive regulation and protection, about imposing uniform rules, laws and policies, about weakening standard democratic processes which were evolutionary developed, about increasing bureaucratisation of life, etcetera.
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Dr. Pedro Schwartz - economist, political scientist, company consultant and opinion leader, has a long career behind him as a defender of individual freedom, political democracy and economic free competition.
He had always combined his university activities with those in the political and managerial world. Born to a family of diplomats, he was very active as a law student in the defence of freedom, for which reason Franco's regime blocked his entry into the Diplomatic career although he had passed the corresponding examinations.
He went to London and studied political science at the London School of Economics until he obtained his doctorate with a thesis on the great liberal thinker John Stuart Mill: his most noteworthy professors included Lionel Robbins and Karl Popper, whose philosophy he contributed to introduce in Spain.
On returning to Madrid, and after passing the competitive examination required, he entered the Research Department of the Bank of Spain. He also started to teach the History of Economic Doctrines at the Complutensian University of Madrid, where he would remain for a quarter of a century. After being confined by the Government in the village of Lezuza, Albacete, he obtained the corresponding chair in 1969. Another stay in London allowed him to obtain a Master in Economic at, once again, the London School.
With the arrival of democracy, and with the help of Joaquín Garrigues, he created the Institute of Market Economy. He was a deputy for the Liberal Union during the legislature of 1982-86 and contributed to form the Popular Coalition, from which the Partido Popular later emerged.
On returning to academic life, he combined this with his activity in the Stock Market, and as a consultant in the area of economics and commercial distribution, the presidency of research centres such as Telefónica’s FUNDESCO, or the presidency of such foundations as the DMR Foundation.
Dr. Pedro Schwartz is Chairman of the "Consejo Económico y Social "of the Madrid Autonomous Community. He also is Professor Extraordinary in the Department of Economics of the University San Pablo CEU in Madrid, where he teaches the History of Economic Thought, and directs the Centre for Political Economy and Regulation. He also directs the political economy studies in the Faculty of Political Science of that University. He is secretary of the Think Tank Civismo and member of its Foundation Pro Libertate.
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