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On Economic Freedom, Free Markets, Limited Governments and Libertarianism

Being the text of my speech at the Opportunity Summit of the Young Africans for Opportunities, UNILAG,  Nigeria.

It is with great delight that I welcome you all to the maiden summit of the Young Africans for Opportunities in Nigeria and I will lead a discussion on libertarianism and its contents including and not limited to economic freedom, free markets, limited government amongst others.

I have been a student of libertarianism since 2013 when I first became a member of African Liberty Students Organization managed and run by Adedayo Thomas, my engagements span different states and west African countries including Ghana where I was exposed to deep understanding of what libertarianism is about and what it means to us as Africans.

I like you to first understand that Individuals are important to libertarianism and it is believed that individuals make choices and are responsible for their actions and the concept of individualism according to David Boaz emphasises that individuals have rights and responsibilities and it is to their dignity or peril that they express this rights. Most of you are accustomed to the fundamental human rights, the right to live, the right to vote and be voted for and all those many rights that I cannot exhaust here, as an individual, you do not owe anyone an apology for expressing your rights while bearing to heart that you are responsible for the outcome of your actions.

As a libertarian, it is important to understand the importance of spontaneous order. We can take a cue from the social order of the ants, they do not need a central authority or a controlling force to file into a single line, we must learn from them in building a peace and a prosperous society. Today, what we see is that we have a rather complex society and like David, “the great insight of libertarian social analysis is that order in society arises spontaneously, out of the actions of thousands or millions of individuals who coordinate their actions with those of others in order to achieve their purposes.”

Libertarians advocates for a society with rule of laws that protects the freedom of individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways”. Individuals are free to express their rights without infringing of the rights of others and that is the essence of this discussion although we are not saying people can do whatever they like without answering to the consequences of the actions. Can we examine what happens when someone comes in and gives a false fire outbreak alarm, did he do well? (Discussion points at the conference).

We frown at absolute powers because absolute power as said by Lord Acton corrupts absolutely, it is important for government to create outlets to maintain law and order in the society but should limit their roles in free markets i.e. regulating what happens in the open market, the interplay of the forces of demand and supply can do this job and the regulating factor being price.

In the society today, value creation is necessary for economic emancipation although this doesn’t appeal to the apologist of Karl Max who believe in social welfarism and advocate for government to deploy the taxes they get to giving people things rather than encourage them to engage in productive activities that can reward them.

Take for example, Nigeria does Npower, a social welfare scheme that is not sustainable and depends on the hard earned taxes of Nigerians who work hard and because the emoluments are pegged at 30, 000 naira per head, it doesn’t encourage hard work, regardless of the amount of work put into the service, everyone gets the same amount of money and this is unfortunate. Some people don’t even get to work but they get paid and that is how terrible socialism is. Capitalism says work hard and get more rewarded. How do you think people will advance in the academia if the professor gives everyone equal marks regardless of how much each of them burn the midnight candle, it will devastate the students and would not encourage productivity.

To bring this to a close, let me note that as young people, wealth creation should be your priority here and this will require that you create value and sell your valuable products or services in exchange for money or other forms of profits that you seek.

Thank you having me.

Femi Royal

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