Lorenzo Montanari, fighting for the rights to private property

Promoting the right of intellectual property is one of the core issues of the Americans for Tax Reform. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Matchman-News, Lorenzo Montanari, the person responsible of the international section of the agency, outlines the work already done. And the work that needs be done. We are really interested in your […]

Promoting the right of intellectual property is one of the core issues of the Americans for Tax Reform. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Matchman-News, Lorenzo Montanari, the person responsible of the international section of the agency, outlines the work already done. And the work that needs be done. We are really interested in your […]

Promoting the right of intellectual property is one of the core issues of the Americans for Tax Reform. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Matchman-News, Lorenzo Montanari, the person responsible of the international section of the agency, outlines the work already done. And the work that needs be done.

We are really interested in your ‘coalition work’ at Americas for Tax Reform, Tax reform and Taxpayers protection. Can you explain to us your initiative?

Since 2012, I have been in charge of the international department of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) I am also executive director of the Property Rights Alliance (PRA), an advocacy group/think tank, affiliate of ATR, in charge of the promotion of property rights, rule of law and intellectual property rights around the world throughout a network of more than 90 think tanks. These principles are the key pillars for governing democratically, and empowering every free economy in the world. With PRA we publish every year the International Property Rights Index with thanks to our important partnership with Dr. Hernando De Soto. The 2015 International Property Rights Index, now in its ninth edition, provides an innovative and international comparative analysis using political and economic data from 129 countries. The 2015 edition was officially launched in Kuala Lumpur last November 16th in partnership with the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS). The IPRI emphasizes the great economic differences between countries with strong property rights and those without. The 2015 IPRI emphasizes the necessity of property rights for creating a free market and driving economic growth, but we also recognize that property rights are first of all a matter of human rights. Property rights are directly related to the values and principles of individual liberty. The special case studies in this year’s edition demonstrate the importance of property rights for women and the poor in developing countries. This Index will provide an important source of information for policymakers and business communities who want to understand how the three core components of property rights systems (Legal and Political Environment, Physical Property Rights, and Intellectual Property Rights) are protected or affected in the world. Thanks to the PRA global network every year we organize/attend policy conferences, or write international coalition letters such as the International Guidelines on Intellectual Property Rights address to Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO supported by 85 think tanks representing more than 50 countries. Thanks to the PRA global networks we facilitated the founding of the Southeast Asia Network for Development (SEANET), the first ever free market regional think tank based in Southeast Asia with the main goal to promote IP, rule of law, transparency and free market policies, and the India Property Rights Alliance (IPRA) the first grasstops/grassroots network of think tanks and advocacy group with the main goal to restore the protection of property rights in the Constitution of India.

At your work, you have many possibilities to evaluate different researches and indexes. What do you think about our FNT FEI (freedom of Education Index)? Is it possible to link the better countries for promoting freedom of education and the better countries for promoting property rights?

Your Index is a great policy tool and very useful in better understanding the level of protection of freedom of education around the world. I consider it a very important tool that will definitely help policymakers craft better education policies.  Since we have never measured this correlation, it is difficult to state it. What we can definitely say is that countries with strong protection of property rights are also the countries with the higher level of GDP per capita. For example, according to our Index the top 20% of the countries show a GDP per capita that is 24 times bigger that the bottom 20% percent of the countries. Therefore, If we consider that the education system is better off in countries with an high GDP per capita than in developing countries, we can assume that there is direct correlation between the two variables. In fact, freedom is propelled with property rights and so freedom of education.

Being a professional person who studies civil society in USA, beyond any political preference, what do you think about the candidates ‘political programs’, according to their respect about freedom of education, free market and respect of property rights?

We do not support specific candidates, rather we support specific positions. Firstly, freedom of education is an extremely important topic because it allows parents to decide which type of education is best. Freedom of education is why I will support a candidate who supports, homeschooling or school-vouchers, which allow students to go to charter schools,  rather than a crumbling public school. Next, private property is also another important topic. I look forward to seeing which candidate most defends property rights, such as condemning eminent domain and protecting patents and so on. As proven by the IPRI, strong property rights protection and enforcement make for a more economically better society, and I believe the candidates should increase focus on property right. Lastly, America has witnessed low economic growth and employment because of anti-free market policies, and I hope that a candidate will make a vigorous effort to pass market friendly solutions. It is obvious that both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are vigorously opposed to these concepts. What I hope is that a truly liberty-minded candidate is elected.

Enlarging our approach at the international level and you being the International Secretary of ATR coalition, what do you think about the spread of ‘social liberties’? Are you observing a dangerous temptation by some States to increase their ‘statist’ and ‘oppressive’ control?

In the most recent rankings of trade freedom around the world, the Index of Economic Freedom by The Heritage Foundation, confirms that countries that welcome free trade are more prosperous than those in countries that do not. The data shows a strong correlation between trade freedom and several positive indicators, including low poverty, economic prosperity, and clean environments. The findings in the Human Freedom Index by Cato suggest that freedom plays a prominent role in human well-being. Lastly, in the finding of PRA’s in IPRI, countries with strong protection of property rights are also the countries with the higher level of GDP per capita. For example, according to our Index the top 20% of the countries show a GDP per capita that is 24 times bigger than the bottom 20% percent of the countries. Even with all this data and knowledge, countries have still taken steps toward statism and crony capitalism. From the Affordable Care Act or obstructive government policies on Uber, or plain packaging or high taxation, governments continue to intrude in private matters. For example, countries such as Australia have instituted a failed plain packaging program, while other countries such as Singapore are currently debating pursuing the issue. In the United States, governments are taking aim at the sharing economy such as Uber and Airbnb by increasing regulations and taxes. Furthermore, taxes are still relatively high in the United States which is why many companies go through inversions and leave the country for a country that is more tax friendly.

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