Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the Liberální Institut Annual Lecture. This idea of annual lectures started in the 1990s. The first two were held by Gary Becker and Milton Friedman. So far, we’ve had 24 annual lectures, this one is the 25th. The last two, Tom Palmer and David Friedman were held online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The last one held in person was Daniel Hannan, now Lord Hannan, in May 2019. So, after three years, we are excited to welcome so many of you to one of our longest-running traditions.
Ever since I was in college, incidentally the dean back then was the President of the Anglo-American University, Bryan Caplan was one of the economists we talked about a lot. His ideas are controversial but reading through his books or blog posts, by the end of the text, I find myself agreeing with prof. Caplan almost always. And when I thought I couldn’t possibly agree with him more, I found out that he, just like me, likes Gilmore Girls.
Bryan Caplan is the author of many interesting and revolutionary intellectual concepts. The Ideological Turing Test, Rational Irrationality, Idea Trap and many more. We could host an Annual Lecture based on any of these or on any of his books. He now has five books out – The Myth of the Rational Voter, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, The Case Against Education, Open Borders, and Labor Econ versus the World. And many more are coming. We talked about the books on our podcast, so when it becomes available on your platform, be sure to listen.
Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University, research fellow at the Mercatus Center, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and former contributor to the Freakonomics blog; and to EconLog. He is a self-described „economic libertarian“, and anarcho-capitalist. In my years in college, one of his works that was especially controversial for us in that time was his paper Why I Am Not an Austrian Economist.
But the topic of the lecture today is Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration. We published this book last summer, the official book launch was on September 1 but now we’ll hear from the author himself. Prof. Caplan was kind enough to write an introduction specifically for the Czech edition. And he will, of course, be happy to sign your copies after the lecture.
The topic of open borders and immigration became much more immediate and much more important for us here in the Czech Republic in the last month. We agreed on the date and topic of this talk long before Putin’s barbaric war in Ukraine. But because of it, the topic of the lecture and the lecture itself could not be more apt.
The format of the rest of the evening will be the following. We’ll begin with Prof. Caplan’s lecture, followed by an Q&A session and then we’ll invite you for an informal discussion with refreshments in the next room.
Without further ado, I give the floor to Bryan Caplan.