Home » News » Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Jason Clemens and Ted Tucker on the Realities of Socialism

Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Jason Clemens and Ted Tucker on the Realities of Socialism


In this week’s Liberty + Leadership Podcast, TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 is joined by Jason Clemens, executive vice president of The Fraser Institute, and Ted Tucker, executive director of TFAS high school programs, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE), to explore the realities of socialism. Roger, Jason and Ted discuss the findings of a recent Fraser Institute study that compares public perceptions of socialism and the differences between communism and socialism. They also talk about the responsibility to educate high school students on the ramifications of socialism and the important work both TFAS and Fraser are doing.

Jason Clemens is executive vice president of The Fraser Institute and the president of the Fraser Institute Foundation. Jason earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Windsor as well as a post-baccalaureate degree in economics from Simon Fraser University. Ted Tucker is the executive director of TFAS high school programs, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE). Ted earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis and a master’s degree from Kansas State University.

Episode Transcript

The transcript below is lightly edited for clarity.

Roger Ream [00:00:00] Hello and welcome. I’m Roger Ream and this is the Liberty and Leadership Podcast, a conversation with TFAS alumni, supporters, faculty and friends who are making a real impact in public policy, business, philanthropy, law and journalism. Today on Liberty and Leadership, I’m excited to be joined by two guests, Ted Tucker and Jason Clemens. Ted is a colleague of mine at TFAS and serves as our executive director for high school programs, which we operate through our division, the Foundation for Teaching Economics. Jason Clemens is the executive vice president at the Fraser Institute, a policy and educational organization based in Vancouver, Canada. Today, we’re going to learn about a fascinating new project developed by the Fraser Institute that includes a partnership role for TFAS. The program is “The Realities of Socialism” project. We’re going to hear from Ted and Jason about the findings of a recent study undertaken through this project that compares public perceptions of socialism and capitalism in four countries: the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia. Some of the findings may surprise you. Ted, Jason, thanks for joining me today. I’m looking forward to this conversation.

Jason Clemens [00:01:24] Thank you. My pleasure.

Ted Tucker [00:01:26] My pleasure, too, Roger. Thank you.

Roger Ream [00:01:28] Jason, let me start off with you. Before we talk more specifically about the Realities of Socialism project, can you give our listeners a little background about the work of the Fraser Institute? I’ve admired the work of the Institute for many, many years, including your superb Economic Freedom of the World Index and your newer Essential Scholars series, which has included some studies written by faculty and scholars associated with our programs. Give me an overview of the Fraser Institute.

Jason Clemens [00:01:59] Sure. We’re a public policy think tank, started in 1974 in Vancouver. We now have offices across the country, and we really have two main active divisions. One is Public Policy Research with a focus on empirical measurement, and the second is Active Education. So, like FTE, we do teacher workshops, we do outreach to high school and university students. We even have an economics program for journalists, all aimed at trying to better educate average citizens so that they themselves demand better policies. About 90% of our work is Canadian, but as you mentioned, we do have an international division which focuses on our Economic Freedom of the World and our Economic Freedom of North America projects, as well as our new work on gender equality and how it relates to economic freedom.

Roger Ream [00:02:53] How long have you been at the Institute?

Jason Clemens [00:02:55] Well, I started there in 1996 as an intern with a full set of hair and and less wrinkles.

Roger Ream [00:03:04] Well, that’s what hard work will do for you.

Jason Clemens [00:03:06] Thank you.

Roger Ream [00:03:08] Ted, before we go further, maybe you’d give us an overview of the Foundation for Teaching Economics programs, FTE programs, as we call them, and the work which you’ve been doing there for many years.

Jason Clemens [00:03:20] Yes. I’ve just realized it’s been 22 years since I’ve been with FTE.

Roger Ream [00:03:24] So, you still have a little hair?

Jason Clemens [00:03:25] I kept my hair. So far, so good. So, the mission of the foundation is to promote excellence in economic education and to promote an understanding of how economic freedom has led to human flourishing across the world, across the globe. We do this in working with two different groups. We run professional development programs, educational programs for high school and middle school teachers, and then we also run pre-college programs for high school students. Our teacher programs range, either virtual or in-person, from an hour and a half workshop to weeklong residential programs. The hallmark of what FTE does is active learning. You know, the idea that students should learn economics by doing economics. Also, a unique feature of our teacher programs is that for some of them, we bring in high school students. We have a very strong experiential learning component where we model for the teachers the best practices in economic instruction with students. We know from experience that teachers are more likely to go back to the classroom and use our materials when they see it working with students live. And then for our high school students, we run pre-college programs during the summer, all around the country on different college campuses. The goal of those programs is that one of our former board members, Milton Friedman, told our former president that future leaders need to understand economics. And so, we use these week-long programs to take potential leaders and teach them the economic way of thinking with the idea that as they move throughout life until leadership positions, they’re going to be better decision makers.

Roger Ream [00:05:25] We’re going to get into this “Realities of Socialism” project now and the recent study, which will invite a question later in the discussion, I think, is given the tremendous work done through FTE and the Fraser Institute to promote economic literacy, why is there so much illiteracy out there? And this survey points to some of that. So, let’s dig in there. Jason, could you give us an overview of the “Realities of Socialism” project, which I know is more than just this study that we’re going to talk about, is just the first step in this major project you’re undertaking?

Jason Clemens [00:06:01] So, the genesis for the project was basically what you just alluded to, which is we’re seeing a larger and larger, now a substantial share of young people who are not only open to the idea of socialism, but actively saying it’s a better system than capitalism. And so, for those of us old enough to remember when socialism was a real alternative to capitalism on a global scale, it was puzzling about how on earth could we, 30 years later, be having the same argument? And so, we talked about a project to look at a couple of countries that made a real transition from totalitarian socialism to market democracies so that we can understand what the before looks like and what the after looks like. We haven’t released those studies yet, but I can tell you it’s stark in terms of just the dismal grinding life that these people lived under socialism and now the kind of prosperity that they’re enjoying. We then expanded the project because what we realized quickly is, and we’ll certainly talk about the polling data, a lot of young people and a lot of elected leaders, when they say socialism don’t mean socialism. What they think they mean is Scandinavian democratic “socialism.” So, we’re profiling two countries in Scandinavia to try to better explain that what a lot of political leaders are trying to sell is not the Scandinavian model. It’s something else. And then finally, we want to look at a country that has a lot of economic freedom but delivers social programs in a very different way than most Western countries, namely Singapore. It was a five-country project. What we learned quickly is we needed something to be a foundation for the entire discussion. And that’s what led us to the survey project or the polling project that we’re going to talk about today, which is really an update to many other studies and polling that’s been done over the last decade or so that, again, consistently shows that young people who, I think it’s important to recognize, never lived through socialism, but a lot of young people are not only open to socialism but are picking it as the ideal economic system.

Roger Ream [00:08:30] Well, let’s dive into that study and begin with asking you, Jason, why do you think there’s such strong support for socialism among young people, particularly more so than among the older generation? You’ve touched on it just now in your answer about the fact that they don’t have the reality of socialism as directly as our generation did.

Jason Clemens [00:08:57] Yeah, I think it’s a great insight. I think there’s a couple explanations. One is clearly age. Basically 18-to 34-year-olds are markedly more predisposed to socialism and supportive of socialism than older cohorts, which lived in a world that had the Berlin Wall, had the Soviet bloc countries. So, part of it is just the real-world experience of having lived through that alternative. I think the second part of the conversation, which is a really important one is: what do we mean by capitalism when we’re talking about an alternative? Professor Steve Globerman and I are quite confident that young people are confusing the status quo today with capitalism, as if having 45% of GDP spent by government, probably another 10% – 15% regulated by government, as if that is a capitalist system as opposed to a mixed system. So, I think part of the explanation is a dissatisfaction with the status quo. I think particularly in countries like Canada, the United States, when we have continued corporate bailouts, and really, I think in many ways we’re living in a corporate world, so I think we want to be careful about status quo versus capitalism. And I think the third thing, which is much more pertinent in the United States, is you’ve got a lot of prominent leaders who are selling young people a vision that is not workable, and they’re selling them on something called socialism that not only has never existed but cannot mathematically exist because the data is clear, no one wants to pay for it. So, I’d say it’s a combination depending on the country we’re talking about of really those three factors.

Ted Tucker [00:10:48] I would just add, Roger, that I think the ways students or young people consume media now really adds to that sort of, not a hostility, but just sort of turning against capitalism. I mean, you think about mainstream media and a lot of cases are running stories that are sort of hostile towards capitalism, free markets, free enterprise. And I think you see that also in entertainment. You know, movies. Who’s the bad guy usually? It’s the businessman, even though we all know that they’re the individuals that really create the wealth in the United States.

Roger Ream [00:11:29] Have you surveyed yet, or are you going to, on what it is that students are thinking when they say socialism?

Jason Clemens [00:11:36] Yeah, one of the important parts of our poll, unlike most of the other polls we’ve seen over the last decade, is we asked three different definitions of socialism. So, one is the traditional one: the government owns the means of production, they own companies and industries. The second is the government delivers much more services and programs. And the third is the government provides a guaranteed annual income. What is clear, regardless of the age group, is that when people say socialism, they mean the last two. They mean socialism as a much more expansive government sector, providing more programs and services and/or guaranteeing an annual income to their citizens. Even for those young people who are supportive of socialism, it’s still a minority who define socialism in its historic or traditional context, which that, in and of itself, I think is a problem. When you’ve got 40% of people 18 to 24 saying, “Yes, the government should own companies and own industries so that they direct them.” But again, the dominant definition is the alternative, which is government providing more services and/or a guaranteed annual income.

Roger Ream [00:12:51] With the term capitalism, of course, it certainly has a bad reputation. I’ve seen some surveys where people can compare socialism to free enterprise. Free enterprise scores much better than when it’s compared to capitalism. But one thing I thought of is, as you were speaking earlier, was that those areas, at least in the United States, where young people complain the most and people in general complain the most, are those areas where government has the biggest role, like health care and health insurance, education, whether it’s K-12 or or even in higher ed. Government plays a major role and yet in industries they’ve kept their hands off, at least for many years, like technology, high tech, Silicon Valley. Those places developed so rapidly with very little government attention. It’s where we enjoy all these great products that young people particularly love and spend all their time on. So those are the definitions, and it’s so hard to change definitions once they’re entrenched in our population. I recall economist Russ Roberts once suggesting as an offhanded remark in a speech to our students that maybe we should reverse the two words because the system we call capitalism is a system that’s social, it’s where we freely exchange with one another, and we cooperate voluntarily. Maybe that should be called socialism, whereas capitalism is this top-down government-controlled system and capital. The Latin origin is the head controls everything. So, definitions certainly play a role, and you’re finding that in this report you’ve done. Do you think that policymakers will find some benefits in the results of this study you’re doing? Are there implications that would guide what policymakers might want to do or how they speak to their constituents? Anything in that regard in terms of a takeaway?

Jason Clemens [00:14:54] Well, certainly I think there’s some important insights, regardless of which side of the aisle, so to speak, that you’re on. I think the first one is there’s just clearly an unworkable, unsolvable problem for those advocating socialism, because the data is very clear that people do not want to pay higher taxes, which is the Scandinavian model. Regardless of the country, so all four countries that we surveyed, the data was very clear. They just do not want to pay higher taxes. And so, when you do the math, you can take all the income of the top 10% and you just don’t have enough. Forget the incentive effects. You just don’t have enough income there to finance the kind of expansion of government that socialists are advocating for. And so, I think from a policy perspective, that’s got to start being part of the discussion about this. As economist Harold Demsetz would have said: “this is a nirvana fallacy,” that we’re talking about something that’s never existed and mathematically can’t. And so, what’s the practical alternative that someone like Senator Bernie Sanders is really proposing? I also hope that the research that we’re doing, clarifying the Scandinavian model in Sweden and Denmark, will really help that conversation in terms of, okay, if you as a young American want the Danish or the Swedish system, are you willing to support a 25% national sales tax? The data is very clear, they don’t. They want someone else to pay for it. Now, I think one of the interesting insights for those on the sort of market side of the debate is the danger – which I think is clearly coming out in most Western countries now – the danger when average citizens bear a very low tax burden relative to the services they consume. And so, I think for a long, long time, conservatives or free market advocates have said any tax cut, any time, even if it’s heavily concentrated at the low end of the income spectrum, the problem, though, which I think we’re in the middle of now, is we’ve got a substantial amount of people who pay very little tax and get services at very little to no cost. And so you have this dynamic which several economists at George Mason have talked about, where people will demand services if they’re free, even if they’re crummy, because they’re not seeing the price of that through any type of tax. So, I do think that’s an important insight about the longer-term risks of continuing to concentrate the tax burden on the top 20% or even top 10% of income earners, because I do think it leads to this dynamic where you’re getting a larger and larger portion of the population who just has no stake in the game when it comes to the tax burden.

Roger Ream [00:17:48] Is that dynamic true in Canada as well?

Jason Clemens [00:17:52] Absolutely. So, in Canada, the top 20% is the only group, and it’s the same data in the United States and the U.K. I haven’t looked at Australia, but the top 20% is the only group that pays a higher burden in the total tax relative to their income. So, in Canada, the top 20% earn about 45% of total income, but they pay about 53% of the total tax burden. And so that means the other 80% are paying less in the tax burden than they’re earning in income. And this is the foundation for what I would call “let’s rob Peter to give to me because I’m not paying the price,” and in Canada, there’s an interesting dynamic because our national sales tax is visible. So, whenever you make a purchase, you see that tax. It’s the most hated tax in the country, and it’s only 5%. When I say to relatives who say, “We should have a Swedish or Danish system, look at all the free stuff you get,” I say, “Okay, well, so you want our national sales tax to be 25%?” And there’s this look of horror of:  “no, no, no, no.” It’s that rich person hiding in the forest who doesn’t pay his fair share and the data does not bear that out.

Roger Ream [00:19:15] So then, Jason, you can begin a lesson after that comment that there is no such thing as a free lunch, which is something we’ve been saying all along, someone must pay. And if you take all the money from the wealthiest, it will fund government for a few hours or a few days. Well, Ted, what or how, rather, does FTE plan to incorporate some of this valuable work into its coursework, into the work you’re doing at FTE?

Ted Tucker [00:19:45] Well, ideally, we want to take this research and the writing of the Fraser scholars and translate it into classroom usable materials. We’re going to look at things like how we make sure that we’re addressing all the 50 state standards and economic education. How do we translate these concepts so that they meet the national voluntary standards in economic education? And then use the data to build out some lessons. We want to make sure that we know they’re going to be engaging for students, but we also know that they’ll be easy, and teachers will use them. I think it adds a real powerful element to our messaging about the importance of economic freedom, and we hope to get the message across to teachers, for example, about crony capitalism. You want to know why there’s hostility towards capitalism in the United States, it’s because of, as Jason mentioned earlier, these various bailouts that happen. And so that creates a level of skepticism by younger or less wealthy voters.

Roger Ream [00:21:00] Last year in Washington, D.C., where I am, a museum was opened. It’s small, but it’s powerful: the Museum of Communism, created by the Victims of Communism Foundation. And in fact, I had the chairman of that museum on as a guest recently, Elizabeth Spaulding, who’s a TFAS alumna. We took our students who are here for the spring semester to the museum just a week ago, and they toured it and it drove home the point that the generation today who are in college, that experience with socialism, like you said, Jason, it’s nonexistent. I mean, it’s probably barely a few pages and maybe one class in their history course where they learn about the profound events of my life that took place. So, I’m fascinated, and we won’t go into detail with it today because you aren’t at the phase yet, but can you touch on which countries you’re looking at in terms of that experience under more totalitarian government and what you’re hoping to tease out in the study?

Jason Clemens [00:22:08] Sure, of course. So, Poland and Estonia are the two countries that we’re looking at in terms of countries that were totalitarian, socialist countries that transition to market democracies. Poland, that will be released in May. So, it’s right around the corner. Estonia will be after that and then the two Scandinavian countries. I am certainly happy to share with you some of the results we’ve seen, or that I’ve been able to see from the Poland study. You look at the data and then you really have to take a step back. As an example, in the 1980s, Polish people waited 15 to 30 years for housing. To me, that data point should be the end of the discussion. We shouldn’t then have to talk about that Polish people for basic goods had to work anywhere between four and 17 hours more than West Germans during the 1980s. Those kinds of data, we hope, really start to explain how grindingly poor the average person was in Poland. But perhaps I think the most powerful insight – it’ll be interesting to see once we release it – is that the elites within the Communist Party did not live that kind of life. The idea that socialism in its real-world form eliminated inequality is just not true. They didn’t pay taxes, they used special grocery stores only for party members, they had access to resorts that were only for party members. So the reality is they didn’t live the same kind of life as the average Pole. Now, it seems to me what’s important is that they didn’t get that special treatment because they delivered a good or service that average Polish people benefited from. They got that special treatment because they were elites in a corrupt political system. And so, our expectation is that there are some really important and powerful examples of what real socialism actually looked like in those two countries, and then thankfully, as they made the transition to markets and democracy, the life of the average Pole and Estonian increased almost immeasurably. Some of the charts look like we made them up because it looks like a hockey stick where it’s just grinding poverty or stagnating life expectancy, and then you see them starting to catch up with the other industrialized countries when they make this transition. I do think there are some important insights that as tenets are easy for people to understand. Like that stat about waiting 15 years at a minimum for housing- that’s not what we enjoy in Australia or Canada, the United States or the UK or most Western countries, because to varying extents we have functioning markets.

Roger Ream [00:25:18] You bring to mind Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” I forgot if it was Napoleon or someone else who said: “you know, we’re all equal, but some are more equal than others,” and that’s the reality of socialism. Ted, do you have any sense that you can share in terms of either teachers or students coming to FTE programs in terms of their knowledge about socialism, their support in some cases for socialism perhaps? I recall a story a few years ago at a program we did in Nashville, Tennessee. I think that one of our colleagues, Ken Leonard, shared with me of a teacher toward the end of the week asking a question, saying: “I’m really understanding what you’re teaching me and that free markets are superior to socialism, but what I can’t understand is why things in Cuba are so much better than the U.S.” Ken said, “Now I have to walk him through what things are really like in Cuba.” There’s this impression often that their health care is superior to ours and people are more equal, and these are impressions that are propaganda coming out of the place that aren’t part of the reality. But what have you found in FTE?

Ted Tucker [00:26:38] I think in general with students, they’re still young. You know, we’re dealing with high school kids. I think we still have an opportunity to really educate them. Now, these are minors being taken care of by their parents. AThey tend to be thinking more in terms of what’s fair, so I think it’s harder for them to really grasp what, even though with socialism we talk about it being fair, it’s not, or I should say, really, in socialism, they’re all fair, it’s all equal, right? But everyone’s equally poor. We are trying to get them to really understand what the free market can do, what free enterprise can do. But they’re more impressionable, and I think there’s really an opportunity to reach those students. When they start understanding opportunity cost, comparative advantage, incentives, all those key economic concepts, I think we really make a difference. I think with teachers it’s definitely mixed. You get a mixed audience. You have some teachers who are very friendly towards socialism, but again, going to the case of what Jason said, socialism, where the government’s providing a lot of benefits, but they don’t necessarily have to pay for them. I think that in some ways it’s just the nature of a lot of teachers. They don’t have as strong of an entrepreneurial instinct. Maybe that’s why they’re teachers, it’s a little safer of a job, but I think there’s also other teachers that are very much pro market, pro-economic freedom.

Roger Ream [00:28:21] Ted, FTE added this program on government spending and budgets. I imagine that helps a teacher understand some of the themes Jason touched on in terms of the fact that there’s only so much money to spend in a government budget, and while they can create money out of thin air through inflation and borrowing, at some point decisions must be made and limits have to be put on what is available. I’ve seen teachers do that exercise and it turns on a light bulb in their head.

Ted Tucker [00:28:58] I think teachers are especially cognizant of that, or interested in that topic, right? And a lot of it’s because they’re getting closer to retirement, and when they start seeing, which you’ve just alluded to or Jason has earlier, about the borrowing and the spending and how much might be available to them, it definitely sends the message that maybe we do need to change things and think about cutting government spending, for example.

Roger Ream [00:29:24] And Jason, I guess deficit spending and the willingness of central banks to just go along with the policymakers and create money out of thin air is added to this fact you mentioned earlier that we don’t pay for the full cost of government. And if we had a requirement that the budget be balanced, then we’d feel more pain from government spending.

Jason Clemens [00:29:51] Yeah, I think it’s a really interesting point because I think there’s two things happening right now in most Western countries. One is average citizens are getting hit in the face pretty hard with the idea that we can simply print money through the central bank. I mean, the polling data is clear that inflation is the number one issue in most Western countries. It’s an interesting time because for 30 years roughly, we’ve been talking about the central banks needing to have an inflation target, and their only job is to look at the money supply and ensure a stable rate of inflation. The experiment with COVID and the monetizing of the borrowing has led us to the position we’re in now. I think average people are not interested in an answer that says the central bank’s going to finance more government spending as the modern monetary theory advocates would suggest. I think the second issue, or the second aspect of the argument, is a tougher one. Particularly as we’re seeing in most Western countries that a lower and lower share of households have children. Well, I mean, as Milton Friedman explained a long time ago, he was astounded at the degree to which parents went out of their way to make sure their kids had a better life, even though they wouldn’t be around for most of that life. My own view is when you have a smaller and smaller share of households with children, it does mean you’re more and more open to kicking the can down the road for the cost of current spending, which is debt. The other issue, which is related to that, and I think countries like Canada are going to pay a higher price than, say, a country like the United States, is our interest costs for government are increasing quite precipitously, which obviously then create a real wedge between what people pay in taxes versus what they get back. And as a small open economy, we’re more susceptible to those interest rate movements. And so that wedge where we’re spending more and more money on interest costs for past debt, I think really starts raising questions, when it’s not six months, but it’s a couple of years – and certainly, in Canada we went through a near debt crisis in the mid-1990s that led to incredibly important reforms. So, I think one of the interesting questions for the UK, Australia and Canada is are we now at the front end of that where the discipline of having to pay interest on your debt is going to impose fiscal discipline on those governments? I think the U.S. is in a slightly different position because whether China likes it or not, the U.S. is still the reserve currency for the world.

Roger Ream [00:32:37] Well, we’ll see for how much time. I mean, there’s certainly a move away from that, I think some trend in that direction, but you’re making an interesting point there that Canada may face this and Australia before the U.S. The Economic Freedom of the World index, which is probably something that more than anything else is to find the Fraser Institute publicly in terms of knowing what you guys do and the use of that. That seems to me just a tremendous educational tool that should be used in economics courses, in history and political science courses. Do you see it used in that way, quite often in schools in Canada or elsewhere in the world?

Jason Clemens [00:33:26] Absolutely. I mean, once people kind of wrap their head around what economic freedom means, it’s interesting to see some politicians who say they believe in freedom when it’s the antithesis of what they’re talking about. But once people get an idea of what we’re actually talking about, it is an incredibly powerful tool because as you both know, on issue after issue, in some of the innovative work that Professor Rosie Fike is doing on gender norms, gender equality and rights for women, on issue after issue, it’s just clear that as you get more economic freedom, you get more of all these other things that we value. And so, the argument for the socialists of wanting a much larger government sector, where by definition it means bureaucrats and politicians control the resources. You’re not getting all these other benefits, whether it’s life expectancy, openness to different races and different sexual orientations, whether it’s women’s rights or gender equality. I mean, all these other things we tend to value come hand-in-hand with greater economic freedom. So, I think it can be an incredibly powerful tool. Thankfully we’ve partnered with the FTE and TFAS on many projects along those lines, and certainly this project fits right into that.

Roger Ream [00:34:52] And one area you didn’t mention that’s so important to young people, too, is cleaner environments, which are so linked to that.

Ted Tucker [00:34:59] We just worked with Fraser on another project on the Fundamentals of Environmental Economics, and a key message coming out of that is: if you want environmental protection, you need to create wealth, you need to have a capitalistic free market system so you can have the wealth to protect your environment because it’s a good just like any other good.

Roger Ream [00:35:23] Well, that’s great. I think we’re running up on our time limit, but I think this has been a great discussion and a good taste of the work that’s part of this “Realities of Socialism” project that you’re doing, Jason. I hope we can do everything in our power at TFAS and FTE to take advantage of that work and get it out so that high school students, teachers, students in our college programs will benefit from it. I know we’ve used the Economic Freedom Index in our programs. Particularly internationally, students are always curious to see where the country they come from scores in that index. Sadly, the U.S. I know, has been falling in those indexes. I don’t know about Canada. Who is in the top? I know Hong Kong has been number one. Are they still number one?

Jason Clemens [00:36:17] Well, they were last year. There’s kind of a running bet in our shop as to when the data is going to show that they’re going to fall, and what’s interesting for us is that the country that’s going to be number one, we assume, Singapore is the fifth country in our series on realities of socialism. So, it’ll be a very interesting discussion amongst think tanks about the Singaporean model.

Roger Ream [00:36:43] Yeah, we held a program in Hong Kong for about ten years. Sadly, 2019 was our last year there. It was such a wonderful place in the past, a great example of free people really creating human flourishing and a success story on a rock off the coast of China that they could accomplish all that. I’m glad you both had the opportunity to mention Milton Friedman, who I know had played an important role in FTE and important role at the Fraser Institute, and I think with your index. So, thank you for joining me today. Keep up the great work. It’s so important that we fight economic illiteracy and raise new generations in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere who understand the importance and the ties between economic freedom and human flourishing. So, thanks for being my guests today.

Jason Clemens [00:37:39] My pleasure. Thank you.

Ted Tucker [00:37:40] My pleasure, Roger. Thank you.

Roger Ream [00:37:42] Thank you for listening to the Liberty and Leadership Podcast. Please don’t forget to subscribe, download, like or share the show on Apple, Spotify or YouTube or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you like this episode, I ask you to rate and review it. And if you have a comment or question for the show, please drop us an email at podcast@TFAS.org. The Liberty and Leadership Podcast is produced at kglobal Studios in Washington, D.C. I’m your host Roger Ream, and until next time, show courage in things large and small.

About the Podcast

TFAS has reached more than 46,000 students and professionals through academic programs, fellowships and seminars. Representing more than 140 countries, TFAS alumni are courageous leaders throughout the world forging careers in politics, government, public policy, business, philanthropy, law and the media.

Join TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 as he reconnects with these outstanding alumni to share experiences, swap career stories, and find out what makes their leadership journey unique. With prominent congressmen, judges and journalists among the mix, each episode is sure to excite your interest in what makes TFAS special.

If you have a comment or question for the show, please email podcast@TFAS.org.

View future episodes and subscribe at TFAS.org/podcast.


Recent Posts


Economics Beyond the Classroom with Rosolino Candela

This week, another exceptional guest joins us on the Liberty + Leadership Podcast: Dr. Rosolino Candela, senior fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Dr. Veronique de Rugy Speaks on Women and Economics at Annual Dobriansky Lecture

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) hosted the annual Lev Dobriansky Lecture on Political Economy on Tuesday, June 4. Dr. Veronique de Rugy, the George Gibbs Chair in Political Economy and Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University…

Woodhouse Public Policy Fellows Discover Post-War Conservative Thought

The newly revamped Woodhouse Public Policy Fellowship closed on a high note for the class of 2023-24 at TFAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C., this May.