2005 August Newsletter

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INDIA: LIBERTY INSTITUTE

Barun Mitra, President of the Liberty Institute has published two sparkling new commentary editions of the book in English and Bengali. The Hindi edition is in translation and due to be published soon. These editions all include commentaries related to each chapter of the book.

Reviewing the book in The Hindu Business Line, D. Murali says, “YOU PROBABLY know of John Galt in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Here is a different JG in Ken Schoolland’s story, The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey. The `commentary edition’ of the book from Academic Foundation (www.academicfoundation.com) opens with Jonathan’s `guiding principles’ such as `you own your life’ and `success and failure are both the necessary incentives to learn and to grow’. Thereafter begins the `bizarre tale’ after our hero is washed ashore an island.”

Murali concludes, “If you want to toss a coin to decide whether to read Ken, let me suggest you pick up a one-sided coin; for, this is a great family read for the weekend.” For the full review, go to: http://www.blonnet.com/2005/05/14/stories/2005051400070800.htm

Barun has been ever-present in the media of Asia, regularly contributing articles to influential news outlets such as The Asian Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. http://www.libertyindia.org/ In the past year the Institute has also begun a summer camp at Satoli high in the Himalayas to introduce youth to English, computers, and ideas of liberty. This camp utilized JG in their program. http://www.isil.org/resources/fnn/2004fall/barun-mitra-award.html

Barun introduced me to Subodh Kumar, Executive Director of the Asia branch office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, affiliated with the Free Democratic Party of Germany. Subodh is working closely with Barun in funding numerous free market projects.

For the publication ceremony, Barun invited me to attend the public release of JG at the occasion of the Julian L. Simon Memorial Lecture in New Delhi. There is no place on earth where this great hero of humanity and free market economics, Julian Simon, is so revered. So it was appropriate to deliver my talk entitled, “Courage, Fear, and Immigration: The Importance of Welcoming Newcomers in a Free Economy.” The Institute published a monograph of the presentation, which can be obtained from the Liberty Institute at: http://www.libertyindia.org/jul05.html

INDIA: CENTRE FOR CIVIL SOCIETY

The remainder of my week in India was filled with appearances on behalf of The Centre for Civil Society (CCS), a dynamic institute that is staffed by an army of intellectual, young libertarians. Under the brilliant leadership team of Parth and Mana Shah, the CCS has instituted numerous Liberty & Society Seminars to introduce free market ideas to youth throughout the country. The CCS has indicated that they have found people to translate JG into Malayalam and Gujarati. The next step is formalizing a budget for publication.

Another of the many exciting projects CCS sponsors is their rapidly growing film festival competition. Jeevika offers financial awards in search of documentaries that focus on legal and regulatory restrictions or bureaucratic extortion and harassment that prevent people from earning an honest living in the vocation of their choice. It is a spectacular event which turns the media into an effective tool of promoting free markets.

On three occasions I was invited to deliver my talk on immigration to three top universities in New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Delhi School of Economics, and the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. On each occasion students and faculty engaged in a very lively follow-up discussion, again focused largely on the influx of immigrants from Bangladesh. It is interesting that Bangladeshi’s inspire many of the same fears in India that Indian immigrants inspire among Americans.

A very lively discussion followed my talk, “Ethics of Liberty,” at the home of Parth and Mana Shah, adjoining CCS. Their living room was packed with CCS staff, students from their liberty seminars, and other good friends that I met at previous ISIL conventions, notably Ashish and Qiwi Gulhati and Stefan Metzler. This was truly a debate of the farthest reaches of free market possibilities. My talks were published as monographs and are available through CCS at: http://www.ccsindia.org/index.asp

IRAN, SRI LANKA, LATIN AMERICA: THE WEYERHAEUSER CONNECTION

The Farsi edition of The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey was recently published in Iran, thanks to donations and efforts of Roya and Henry Weyerhaeuser. Roya’s uncle, Reza Montazem performed the translation and made arrangements with the publisher.

Once approved by the mullahs for publication, the book was released early this year and was immediately greeted by very positive reviews in the mainstream media. The reviews focused primarily on the very esteemed reputation of Mr. Montazem as a revered translator of many great works in Iran. I am also grateful to Shahram Sadeghi for his assistance in this project.

Henry and Roya are now intent on supporting the Sinahala edition being produced through the project efforts of Luxman Siriwarden and the Pathfinder Foundation in Sri Lanka. Episodes of the book have already been serialized in the Business Standard in Colomobo.

Henry and Roya are also supporting a new 2005 Spanish edition of JG, building off the fabulous path breaking work of Judy Nagy who published the first Spanish edition ten years ago. There have been several offers of support from Jose Fernandez, Juan Carlos Hidalgo, and Edgar Peña. A decision will be made soon about a plan for publication and distribution.

AFRICA & CANADA

Agwu Amogu has just published a Nigerian English edition. Reports Agwu, “The Nigeria JG publishing project has been concluded. The book is ready. A grand presentation of the book in Nigeria will be arranged in January 2006. We are now working on the next phase now–developing JG radio program. I will keep you posted.”

And in Accra, Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe is establishing a new free market think tank, Imani: The Centre for Humane Education. One of his projects is to publish an edition of JG. Says Franklin, “English is fine for now. As this show success and I know it will, we can then explore other local languages. Thanks again. Please do send many more copies if you can. I will want to have the Directors of Education to read this book. I might speak to our current Finance Minister who used to be Minister of Education to help make it a reader for schools.”

Faisal Hassan continues to straddle two continents: North America and Africa. He continues to serialize his Somali translation of JG in The Somali Voice, published for the Somali community in Canada. Faisal has been busy seeking publishers for the home community in Somalia. Faisal wrote, “I have translated the 39 chapters plus commentaries, notes and added commentary of a graduate student supporting the book.” And all have been posted as an ebook on the JG website: http://www.jonathangullible.com/languages.htm

Janette Eldridge writes, “You will be pleased to know that all is well with the Afrikaans translation. I have just phoned Ria Crafford in Cape Town. She has finished up to Chapter 30 of the story and has done some commentaries. I am very happy that Ria is doing this translation. I know it will be a good translation. I have high hopes that it will be well received.”

CZECH REPUBLIC & SLOVAKIA

Josef and Tereza Sima have been visiting professors in Hawaii this summer. Indeed, they got carried away and just got married! Josef translated JG into Czech many years ago. He explained to me that when the Liberalni Institute finished distributing the 1000 copies they had published, they decided to put the whole book on line. Since then, they have experienced the downloading of 300 to 400 copies per month. And Josef has said that he has seen it cited on many occasions in economics papers and dissertations at the University of Economics in Prague.

Matus Posvanc

Josef Sima has also informed me that a Slovak MP with the F.A. Hayek Foundation, Branislav Opaterny, has asked to work with him to produce a Slovak edition of JG from the Josef’s Czech translation. All of these projects are most welcome.

NORWAY, SWEDEN, GERMANY, GREECE

Bent Johan Mosfjell

NEPAL & MONGOLIA

Robin Sitoula, General Secretary of the Youth Initiative and President of Liberal Youth South Asia (LYSA) corresponded from Kathmandu saying, “I have been busy with organizing a south Asian network of liberal youth organizations. and since a few months we have LYSA trying to create a liberal youth movement in South Asia. Please check www.lysasia.org for details. About the JG project,

I have been able to translate only the first six chapters by now and I am discussing with a few magazines and newspapers to start publishing a chapter every week on a continual basis. Also, a few chapters are being used as reading materials and discussion text at the Freedom and Responsibility Youth seminar that we do with young people here in Nepal. I am hoping to complete the full translation by the end of 2005 and send it to press.”

Commenting on pressing local issues, Robin commented, “Since last February, the political situation has become terrible here in Nepal and Civil and Economic Freedoms are being increasingly curbed everyday. So, I am putting some of my efforts these days into how we could organize something that can help Nepal in the present ongoing conflict.”

While we have a translation of JG available in Mongolia, there seems to be growing interest in a new, revised and expanded edition. From P. Tsenguun we received this correspondence, “One of our activities is to promote education about individual liberty and free markets among younger people. Along this line, we would like to re-publish your book The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey as the first edition has already become scarce and difficult to find in stores. We hope you will accept our proposal and collaborate with us on the second publishing of your book. I recently also got your The Philosophy of Liberty DVD. It was amazing. I have high hopes for it being translated into Mongolian.”

This proposal was enthusiastically endorsed by Baatar, the publisher of the original Mongolian edition.

CHINA & KYRGYZSTAN

Dean Peng informs me that the Chinese edition is doing well enough that it has already gone into a second printing. Says Dean, “JG has been selling outside Shanghai for a couple of months. I do not know who are buying, but I suppose they are mostly university and college students.” Word has it that Jerome Ma is now arranging a Taiwanese edition for the book.

Before heading off to the London School of Economics, Erkin Adylov contacted his friends from Kyrgyzstan to find out the status of the Kyrgyz edition. Asel Kasenova wrote, “Yes, the book is translated. We published 500 books and each team of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) received one copy of it. We planned to sell some of them, make money and travel around Kyrgyzstan reading the book to school kids. Unfortunately, we could not sell even a part of it. The reasons for that: first, the book is not known here, second, the schools are poor. The books are stocked at my house and Zarina’s house (Zarina Osmonaliev). Anyway, after rambling around I have made a decision just recently to make one big SIFE project among all teams. I decided to distribute 300 books among teams and ask them to go to schools and read it to kids. Of course this will not be as effective as if a professional Kyrgyz teacher would do, but I don’t like books not being used.”

Following the recent revolution in Kyrgyzstan, Asel updated the news with this, “Yes, we hope to launch this project among all teams next SIFE year. We are preparing for it. It is great that students have developed radio skits and games. If possible, we would love to see and hear them. If possible, it would be great to apply them here. Please let us know! Yes, thank you for your interest in our country. The revolution was unexpected and at the same time expected – people were in despair. Unfortunately, that is what happens when governors do not look at the people. These days the situation is stable. It is, most importantly, peaceful. The new government is trying to figure what and how to do everything better. Of course it will take time. People do understand that and we are full of new hopes for better lives. Thank you very much for your support and interest. I do appreciate that a lot.”–>

THE BALKANS: BOSNIAK & MACEDONIAN

I spent a couple weeks in Serbia this summer, traveling with family and friends. Part of this wonderful time was with Tomislav Krsmanovic, the instigator behind so many JG projects in the region: Serbian, Macedonian, Croatian, Slovenian, Albanian, and Romany. Tomislav showed me the beautiful Drina River area where he is sparking the drive for a developing tourist industry. In addition, he has taken up a plan to produce a Bosniak edition of JG, possibly with Shura Dumanic. Writes Shura, “Such literature is needed by us.”

Pavlina Petrova has been working day and night with the establishment of a new independent economic Macedonian NGO. Of her plans for JG, Pavlina wrote, “Last year we started to include parts of JG, the translation made by Tomislav, as an enclosure for our Monitoring of the Macedonian Business Environment, two chapters in each issue. Our subscribers’ list consists of more that 1000 email addresses, which is a rather good number for Macedonia. At that time this was the only way for us to introduce JG to a Macedonian audience. We have received numerous wonders from our readers that such a great tool in economics ABC’s and also an amusing book exists.”

Commenting on the general conditions of her country, Pavlina says, “A lot of changes have happened for the 15 years’ transition period in Macedonia. The economic situation forced large numbers of people to become entrepreneurs, although they have not been prepared for this. There is a shortage of economic literature written in plain language in Macedonia. Macedonian publishers and libraries don’t provide diverse economic literature yet. Thus a broad audience of entrepreneurs, policy and decision makers, and students at the universities, need help in accessing basic knowledge on different economic issues and problems. We recommend JG as a ‘right-hand mate’ to every one who would like to become acquainted with some basic economic principles and terms. I truly hope that this year we will be able to find financing for publishing the new JG edition.”

COMING: ARABIC, RUSSIAN, UKRAINIAN, HEBREW

Nick Dykes reported after a trip to Kazakhstan this summer, “I just heard that Arabic JG is nearly ready — in final revision stage. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear more.” And there already seems to be a budding new market for JG in Egypt. Paul Lundberg reports that there are rapidly changing attitudes there, with youths looking to start their own businesses rather than just to rely on the government for a job. Concludes Paul, “Some of the conversations I have had with these kids got me thinking that they would be a natural market for JG. The whole country is still in the process of getting out of a statist socialist mindset. A truly libertarian perspective might have a niche here.”

After investigating the possibilities for translation in Kazakhstan, Nick wrote, “I enquired while in Almaty, but it turns out that Kazak is not a literary language. Anyone in Kazakhstan likely to want to read JG would do so a) in Russian, b) in English.”

The whole of English and Russian editions is available on line, but the Russian edition is now expecting a considerable upgrade in the new published edition by Alexander Kouryaev in Moscow. Says Alex, “When I looked at the Russian translation more carefully, I understood that it is not of very high quality. This is the reason why I ultimately decided to order the new translation which is going to be done by August-September. There is more good news: I have found a partner for publishing this book, so it will be done as soon as the new translation is completed.”

I was able to visit with Anna Tokar at two events, the Bulgarian Society for Individual Liberty Convention in Sofia and the Liberty English Camp in Trakai, Lithuania. As a dynamic shaker and mover of the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, Anna has taken up the challenge of preparing a Ukrainian edition of JG. Comments Anna, “The Ukrainian JG (or Ivan Durnik – I haven’t decided yet whether it is a good idea to “translate” the Jonathan’ name into Ukrainian analogue) will start travelling within the Ukrainian market as soon as possible.”

Another enthusiast of our purveyor of free market ideas is David Marhoffer of Phoenix, Arizona. David is recently the proud father of a beautiful little girl, who will surely read JG one day. Explains David, “The translation of JG into Hebrew is a labor of love for me. Adding my own labor of love is the only way that I see of paying tribute to your marvelous achievement. I have an artist’s and artisan’s pride in producing a translation with the utmost fidelity to your original work…Once the translation is finished, I will approach the publishers, especially those who cater to the educational textbook market. I think that the first priority is to get JG into the hands of the youngest readers in high school so as to inoculate them against the socialist dogmas inflicted upon them by the public school system and teachers’ union. JG is ideal because, like George Orwell’s Animal Farm, it attacks ideological sacred cows via parable.”

ANIMATION & FILM

The Philosophy of Liberty (PoL) film animation that was produced by Kerry Pearson has, with the support of Andrew L. Sullivan and Chris Butterbach, been re-engineered by Mario Knezovic and Sanja Tasic to take on new languages. We’ve had an overwhelming response from the PoL on the internet and many people are eager to translate it. So far in the queue are projects for Slovak, Danish, German, Serbian, Dutch, Mongolian, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Hungarian, and others. Mario and Sanja are overwhelmed, but faithfully working on each of these when time away from their other work permits.

The first batch of PoL DVD’s produced by Tim Skousen (one of Napolean Dynamite’s creators) has already sold out. A second production run is being completed in time for a September appearance in the Laissez Faire Books Catalogue for $14.95, http://www.lfb.com/Home.asp

Terry Verhoeven

There are many who have been working to see JG get into the movies, especially Brock D’Avignon, Howard Hinman, and Susan Wells. But it may well be Parth Shah’s CCS team in India that will get the head start through their annual film festival competition.

There certainly is a market out there for the likes of JG, and In the Classroom Media may be just the place to do it. Rick Platt, Director of Sales and Marketing for In the Classroom Media, commented, “We are learning more and more from teachers that short segments / short econ lessons work the best in their classes. That is good news in regards to JG, since it is in essence many segments in one story. I think it would be a big hit to provide JG on video. How are the movie prospects? We would certainly be interested in distribution of some sort of video/movie and/or animation of the segments. We are currently reaching 50,000 teachers and 8 million students so keep us in mind for distribution.”

PoL ACCOLADES

So what’s so good about the PoL, derived from the epilogue of JG? Here is what some of the internet fans have had to say:

“Among the fabulous responses we’ve had to the flash animation: You made me cry…I’m sending to everyone on my list.”–S.R.

“Our organization is interested in posting your animation “The Philosophy of Liberty” on our site.”–L.B.

“Man, that was the greatest thing I have seen on the net. You might consider putting it on DVD and getting it distributed. Send it into some festivals. It deserves to be seen. Thanks for sharing it.”–R.D.L.

“Hello, I just watched your flash animation, The Philosophy of Liberty, and all I have to say is wow. So amazing and truthful that to compliment you as personally as possible was the only way to compliment you.”–B.G.

“I enjoyed viewing your flash, it was a very good simplification of philosophical concepts relating to society and liberty. I was wondering if I could obtain a transcript of all the text in the flash, for my own personal use. I think it does an excellent job of covering the subject at hand.”–I.N.

“bravo je vous félicite, cette animation est super!”–l.n.

“Is there any way I could buy a copy of your Liberty Flash animation? It is excellent! Thank you!”–M.W.

“Thank you and your creative co-workers for your EXCELLENT WORK. How can I help get this in the media? How can we get a video–DVD and permission to play it as warm up, finish, time fill–etc.? Is Public TV showing this EXCELLENT WORK? I don’t see how ANYONE can criticize or disagree. I have tried to email your EXCELLENT WORK (I can’t possibly say that enough) to others. Can you be of Help? THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR EXCELLENT WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”–D.S.

“Wonderful…I will use it like a insane teacher…many thanks…”–J.M.

“I enjoyed the presentation. I found it to be the best that I have seen so far, by far.”–W.P.

“Thank you again and again for having produced and presented this most excellent exposition with respect to human life and Liberty’s sweet underpinnings! [It] is now a permanent bookmark in my browser’s library.”–C.M.

MARKETING, GAMES, AND SHIRTS

JG has long been distributed by Laissez Faire Books, Advocates for Self-Government, G. Edward Griffin’s American Media, Amazon Books, ISIL, Howard Blitz’s Freedom Library, and Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. This fall, the distributors of John Stossel’s videos to a third of the nation’s public schools will take up economics books, with JG being among the first offered on their website: http://www.intheclassroom.org/index.htm

Rick Platt, said, “Our goal is to have the new site up and running in September. The new site will feature new products including JG. I’ll keep you informed. We’d certainly be interested in providing games, etc. as well.”

Our Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team at Hawaii Pacific University once developed a Jeopardy-style game for the classroom. This, however, needs a lot of work before it can be ready for general use.

More promising, perhaps, is the brilliant model for a board game that Janette Eldridge has been developing with the help of her stable of game players: Ray Eldridge, Stuart Hayashi, Virgis Daukas, Tali Satele, Geo Olsson, and others rounded up in Durban, South Africa and at the ISIL World Convention this year in Cologne, Germany. Following on the soaring success of her UK Commentary edition of JG, Janette has prepared an elaborate JG board game that carries players through all the themes and controversies of the book…365 steps of battling with politics, economics, and philosophical debates! It is genius in progress. All who wish to be in on the formulative stages of the really fun side of JG, please contact Janette to help with ideas. It is yet a massive undertaking.

To top it off, Janette has also designed the first accessories: JG polo shirts for the truly initiated! Prototypes were already prepared for the JG Team that showed at the ISIL World Convention this summer. Janette recommends that you place your orders with my daughter, Kenli:

Mark Skousen just returned from the Mont Pelerin Society meeting in Iceland. Along with voluminous sales of his own new book, Vienna and Chicago, Friends or Foes? : A Tale of Two Schools of Free Market Economics, Mark had some copies of JG to sell, “which sold right away…..In fact, one person wanted more copies.” Mark is the best promoter of all, next to Janette, that is. His business card reads, “Have Book, Will Travel”.

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