Free market ideas are now streaming through schools, newspapers, electronic media, and literary circles of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. This is due to the educational outreach projects of Small Business Hawaii and the International Society for Individual Liberty.
The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey
(JG) has just become available in a UK Commentary Edition for the 54 Commonwealth nations; in audio for the blind; in Kiswahili for Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda; in Urdu for Pakistan; in Somali for Somali community in Canada; and in Pidgin for Nigeria. JG will soon be available in Afrikaans, Farsi, Bengali, Nepali, Chinese, Swedish, and second editions in Macedonian and Norwegian.
Cape of Good Hope
In March, Christian Michel (London), Barun Mitra (New Delhi), and I were fortunate to be hosted by Janette Eldridge, co-author of the UK Commentary edition of JG, and her very supportive husband, Ray. Did I say “co-author”? No, she was really the author of these commentaries, background, references, and the architect of this whole project from her initial vision several years ago at the ISIL Conference in France. All of this was due to her genius, outstanding drive, and personal magnetism.
Arriving in Cape Town, we were first taken to the Cape of Good Hope to experience the ferocity of local bandits. A determined baboon stole an ice cream bar from my fist! I was warned, “Don’t resist or you could lose a whole lot more!”
In the evening we convened at a Xhosa restaurant on Cape Town’s waterfront to meet Ria Crafford, translator of the Afrikaans edition of JG, Barry and Betty Kayton, publishers of the UK Commentary Edition, and Theresa and Neil Emerick, a consultant with the Fraser Institute of Canada.
The next day Janette arranged for us to speak about globalization, free trade, and economic development at two universities: 80 students at Peninsula Technikon and 20 students at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town, hosted by Elspeth Donovan, the MBA Director.
Tape Aids for the Blind
We then traveled to Durban, where Janette introduced JG to the administrators of Tape Aids for the Blind, http://www.tapeaids.co.za. We were informed during our visit that JG was already being recorded for distribution.
While other organisations around the world read books onto audio tapes for the blind, this is the only organisation that receives no government subsidy except free postage. These tapes primarily go to people in regions of southern African, but tapes are sent as far away as New Zealand, Israel, Ireland, and the U.S. The tapes are for anyone with impaired vision, dyslexia, or to those who are unable to hold or turn pages of a book. Those interested may contact librarian Alaine Cave at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This is an untapped outlet for free market material,” says Janette. “As there is a shortage of readers, anyone wanting their material submitted might have a better chance to organize the reading themselves and then submit the finished recording. The copyright of the tapes remains with the Tape Aids for the Blind. Tapes are preferred since CD’s are difficult for the disabled to operate because of difficulty in stopping and starting at the precise location in a story.”
On a side visit before departing Durban, Professor Bruce Page of the Biology Department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal showed us the tracking of elephant herds by the attachment of cell phone transmitters. According to Hans Falkena, more than 9,000 private game farms and ranches cover 13% of the nation’s land area, compared with 5% for all national parks. These private ventures can be both successful and profitable in increasing wildlife stocks.
On our first day in “Jo’burg,” we visited CIDA University where the students practice transcendental meditation and do all the cleaning, food preparation, maintenance, and administration. The cost of a tuition, without government subsidy, is one twentieth of the WITS, a government university in the same city. Janette introduced us to Taddy Blecher and Thembinkosi Mhlongo who are credited with starting CIDA university.
Charl Heydenrych organized a visit to the Lindela Detention Centre at Krugersdorp where illegal immigrants are gathered for deportation to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, etc. News reports indicate that conditions in South African prisons are quite gruesome, but Lindela completely surprised us. It is now contracted out to a private corrections firm which operates a very humane and efficient service, all-be-it a service that helps send people to very harsh conditions.
That same evening the new UK Commentary edition of JG was launched at the ranch of Trevor and Linda Watkins. The edition more than doubles the size of 2001 edition of JG with questions, commentary, background, quotes, and references accompanying each of the 40 chapters of the book. It is superbly edited by Janette and illuminates the relevance of the free market philosophy to contemporary society.
Without pictures the book is expected to appeal to a sophisticated and mature audience that has not previously been introduced to the ideas of liberty. And it pioneers a technique of publication funding with advertorials by several sponsors. With commentary along side the chapters, it reflects the successful style of the Bulgarian edition that was serialized with parallel economic analysis in Sedem Weekly.
The highlight of the tour was the First South African Individual Freedom Conference at the new offices of the Free Market Foundation of South Africa (FMF) in Sandton. This excellent conference was instigated by Janette and organized by Trevor. In the end, we had a terrific brainstorming session with Terry Markham of the FMF on ways to promote JG throughout the Commonwealth. Assistance of all kinds is still eagerly invited.
After a fascinating journey through the Lion and Rhino Game Reserve, snatching pictures from the mouths of lions and hippos, Barun and I departed for Nairobi where we were greeted by the renowned James Shikwati. Renowned? Indeed! James is not just the Director of the Inter Region Economic Network, IREN Kenya, rather he is a legend in the making.
James has introduced Kenya to a flood of free market ideas in the past couple years by launching the All Africa Resource Bank for the sharing of resources through free market institutes, he has hosted numerous speakers from around the world, he has written prodigiously in national and international publications about market solutions to economic and political problems of East Africa, and he has initiated numerous educational and media projects.
Among his educational projects was the translation and publication of JG in Kiswahili. Our first appointment was to Mr. Sinjiri Mukuba, Editor of Longhorn Publishing Co., a textbook publisher who has proposed to publish and distribute a future run of the book, possibly as a set book for national student examinations.
James also arranged for numerous interviews with journalists from all the major newspapers and radio. He is a very sincere and dedicated leader, of high integrity, who has devoured all of the books in his massive personal library.
Students in Free Enterprise–Kenya
Our subsequent appointments over three days was to visit SIFE students of six university campuses in Kenya: the University of Nairobi-Kabete
Campus, the United States International University-Africa, St. Paul’s Theological University, Daystar University, Africa Nazarene University, and Strathmore University. At each Barun and I spoke of globalization, economic freedom, political corruption, and economic development. It was also an opportunity for me to promote the use of JG in the classroom and for the students to describe a multitude of free enterprise projects they have been preparing for the national competition and for the winning team to go on to the international SIFE competition in Barcelona, Spain this year.
These teams are hands-on, practical application of the market in action. They have started canteens on campus funded by the sale and exchange of stock ownship. They have assisted local businesses with transportation and protection services. These SIFE teams are helping housewives and local school kids to learn about basic entrepreneurial skills. It is truly impressive to see these students accomplishing market activities that leave most American students in the dust. Despite the extraordinary corruption, poverty, and crime that are pervasive in Kenya, these students showed energy and optimism that is truly awsome. And James is the backbone of it all.
On our last day the conference room was packed at the Pan Afric Hotel for the formal release by IREN of the Kiswahili edition of JG. Journalists, academics, students, business people, and government officials were in attendance for the final series of lectures. The first was a speech by Ayub Mukhwana, explaining why it is important to have such free market books in Kiswahili. This is a language that has ancient roots in East Africa, from the commerce of early Arab merchants.
Today, Kiswahili is second only to Arabic in terms of the numbers of speakers of African native languages. Kiswahili is Tanzania’s national and official language, Kenya’s national language and a silent or 2nd official language, and one of Uganda’s national languages. “Therefore,” reports Ayub, “in East Africa it is Kiswahili that unites all as a native language…It is likely that Kiswahili will be maintained in East Africa as the first lingua franca in business.”
Barun and I made presentations about economic freedom and we were then treated to a ceremony for the formal release of the Kiswahili JG to the public and the media. We also met the illustrator of the new edition, Adams Namai, who is also interested in collaborating with us on the comic book edition of JG that we are currently working on with Kevin Tuma in the U.S.
James is accomplishing miracles in a region that is very much in need of miracles. I strongly urge people to support his endeavours.
JG-Urdu, Somali, Nigerian Pidgin, Farsi
Upon my return to the U.S. I was greeted with the news that the Urdu edition of JG had been published. From the Free Pakistan Newsletter: “The Alternate Solutions Institute, of Lahore, Pakistan, has published its first book, a translation of The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey, in Urdu. Urdu is understood not only in Pakistan but throughout South Asia. This modern fable has so far been published in 29 languages of the world, Urdu being the 30th. This book explains the principles of market economy in a simple manner and helps promote the concepts of open markets and property rights. The book has been translated by Khalil Ahmad. A. S. Institute is indebted to Irshad Ameen for his tireless efforts in getting the book released.” The book is being distributed in Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi.
Faisal Hassan has been serializing the Somali edition in a newpaper for the Somali community in Canada. Says Faisal, “Somali Voice readers enjoy JG. They are free market economy folks. And they are a hungry for JG for Somali speaking populations around the world. The Editor loves it, too. He agrees to serialise the entire book.” Faisal is currently preparing the final edits so that it can appear on line and eventually in book form.
Agwu Amogu translated JG into Nigerian Pidgin which is currently available on the JG web site: http://jonathangullible.com/ He is now preparing for publication of the book. Says Agwu, “I have a firm quote for editing, printing and distribution. At the moment we plan to distribute the book, five copies each, to all the Universities in Nigeria. If we are to meet this target the cost will be $3,000. So I was thinking of having a gradual distribution instead of doing nothing at all.”
And Shahram Sadeghi has a Farsi translation approved by the mullahs and ready for publication in Iran. This project has been supported by Henry and Roya Weyerhaeuser and Reza Montazem. Says Shahram, the publisher “considers this as a very useful tool assisting the younger generation to digest economic concepts and ideologies.”
Bent Mosfjell wrote from Oslo, Norway, “I am happy to tell you that I am working hard on the Norwegian translation of Jonathan Gullible. The good news is that I now have concrete plans for publishing it. I have two alternatives. I am going to publish my own magazine. The first issue will be published this autumn. I plan to publish 4-5 chapters in each issue. And when all chapters are published I plan to publish it as a complete book. That was my first alternative, but the second is much better.
“A new free-market think-tank, Civita has just been started in Norway. I know them personally and they might be interested in publishing a Norwegian translation. At the moment I am trying to convince them to do this and if they decide that it is a good project, the book will be published in a professional manner. I think it is a 50% chance that Civita will publish the book. So, you can look forward to a Norwegian translation published in the near future, either as a book or as a sequence in a magazine.”
Assen Kanev, founder of the Bulgarian Free Market Institute, reports that serialization of the book began with the first issue of SEDEM Weekly, a newspaper that rose in circulation from 10,000 to 20,000 during the run, making SEDEM the second largest weekly newspaper in Bulgaria. There was so much interest that Assen arranged an interview with me on Radio Free Europe in November to expound on the philosophy. He has since published the book, translated by Bojidar Marinov, in Sofia.
Dimitrios Malamoulis explained the success of the Greek edition in the daily newspaper Neos Typos of Volos, “As you already know this is a local newspaper with limited circulation, however the response was very high and they estimate that the newspaper circulation increased by at least 25%…The response gave us new courage, we are already in discussion with the newspaper of Athens Kathimerini, which is the most prominent and old newspaper of the center-right with the second highest circulation of the country, second only to the liberal Ta Nea.” A book is now being arranged, possibly in cartoon form, and is already on-line.
And Pavlina Petrova wrote from Skopje, Macedonia, “I am waiting for an answer about the financing of the translation of your great book. Anyway, our chances are very good and I hope next month we will start with the translation.”
Mats Hinze is putting the finishing touches and revisions of the Swedish translation which will go on-line this summer. We are still seeking a publisher in Sweden.
DVD, Afrikaans, Namibia, Comics, China, Sri Lanka, Song
A DVD of “The Philosophy of Liberty” in four languages has finally been produced as a tribute to Kerry Pearson (aka Lux Lucre), the creator of this animated production. Kerry passed away in January and is greatly missed.
As an indication of the far reaching impact that Kerry’s work is already having, the animation was seen on the net by Dr. Earle Taylor, Professor at the University of Namibia. Dr. Earle wrote: “My Dear Friend, I enjoyed very much your musical presentation and the very practical and contemporary message that it conveys. I would like to know if it is for me to buy or get a copy of disk to show in my various classes. I am the Executive Director of the Centre for Public Service Training run by the University of Namibia for all level of civil service employees of the Namibian Government. The message is very relevant to the new culture that we are trying to promote for civil liberty and a independent civil service.”
I have informed Dr. Taylor of JG, the book from which this animation was derived, and that it is soon to be available in Afrikaans, the primary native language of Namibia. He has indicated that he may introduce this to the Ministry of Education as a school reader.
The DVD can be ordered through ISIL for at: http://www.isil.org/tools/jonathan-gullible.html
The comic book version has finally taken first steps with the illustration work of Kevin Tuma. For a glimpse see http://www.jonathangullible.com/GraphicNovel/002A.jpg and let us know if you are willing to help sponsor this edition or if you have contacts that may be able to help.
From China, Jerome Ma corresponded, “Thank for your information. It is very nice to meet you in June. Dean has finished his translation of The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible into Chinese and sent it to me. Now I am busy in the business of editing this book. It seems to be published in June or July.”
And Raja. M.B. Senanayake wrote from Sri Lanka saying, “Thank you very much for sending me your book. I wish not only to translate it into Sinahala but also intend to write a version in simple English which will be read by the university students.”
Soon our JG music will be reaching the stars! Michael John Barrett II wrote about using the lyrics of the Philosophy of Liberty in a song. Wrote Michael, “As it says in the subject, I saw your flash animation on the Philosophy of Liberty and was filled with joy when I found what you wrote to be so close to my own ideals. I am a 16 year-old young adult in Wisconsin, U.S.A., and I wish to ask you if you would permit me to use the words in your flash animation as lyrics in a song for my starting band. Our main message is much like yours, to alert the masses and minorities, to take down the walls that separate us, and to show that we must start anew and create a new society.”
One more addition has been added to the current 2001 edition of the book. Thanks to sponsorship by Ralph Smeed, Dick Rowland’s Grass Root Institute of Hawaii has published an index of topics for the book. This is accompanied by the Tale of the Book, the a brief story about the background of this publication phenomenon through the help of nearly 20 public policy institutes and more than 200 people. This will be inserted into all future JG books sold. Let me know if you’d like this insert for a copy already in your possession.
Economics as a Treat?
The ultimate praise for JG came from Hawaii State Representative David Pendleton. David told me that JG was on his father/son reading list and soon thereafter his son was discovered reading ahead at school. David wrote to say, “Guess whose book he was discreetly reading back there in the last row…? 🙂 You guessed it. I’ve told him that when his homework is done he can read economics. I am still reading some of the chapters with him at night. He considers it a treat. So I’m delighted. Who ever heard of letting your kids read economics as a treat after their homework is finished?!”