Tuesday, September 15, 2015

EFN Asia 49, Conference 2015 in Bhutan

Gross national happiness and not just gross national product (GNP) or gross national income (GNI). Buddhist ethic and economic liberalism, aside from Confucian ethic, Protestant ethic, Christian ethic, etc. Global ranking of countries worldwide in the Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) 2015 Report by Fraser Institute (Canada).

These are among the key topics to be tackled in the Economic Freedom Network Asia (EFN Asia) Conference 2015 to be held this coming November 23-24, 2015, in Thimphu, Bhutan, on the theme, "Economic Freedom as a Way to Happiness." 

The event will be organised by EFN Asia, QED Group, and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF). QED is a private, independent think tank and consulting firm based in Thimphu.

EFN Asia is holding an annual conference of independent, non-government and free market-leaning think tanks, research institutes and academics, in different Asian cities. The theme varies yearly, in partnership with country-based host think tank/s and institute/s.

Venue will be the Taj Tashi hotel in the capital city of Thimphu. I saw some photos of this hotel, it looks very exotic and inviting.

I fully agree with  the  theme -- that individual and economic freedom is the formula for human happiness.  We can add that economic freedom and material wealth is protected by the rule of law. If there is more material  wealth -- like more sturdy houses and offices for the people, cheap and stable electricity that run 24/7, more schools and institutions of  learning, more modern healthcare facilities and health professionals, more tractors and mechanized harvesters for farmers, etc. -- then people can live more productively, live wealthier, healthier and longer. As one saying goes, "Money cannot buy happiness always, true, but it is better to cry in a van or SUV than in a bicycle."

Thimphu, Bhutan is a valley and still in a very high elevation of 2.25 kms (7,375 ft) and 2.65 kms (8,688 ft) above sea level. For us from an archipelagic country and capital city is just a few meters above sea level, and our highest mountain is only about 3 kms. high, Thimphu should be a brrrry cold place. Especially in late November.

The EFN Conference 2015 is open to the public, so long as they finance their way to the conference (plane fare, hotel, travel taxes, visa fee). The tourist visa fee is expensive though, US$250 a day.

Interested individuals, FNF and QED will help in securing the group visa, most likely at a discounted price. Fill up the (1) conference registration form (no conference fee) and (2) Bhutan visa form, see details here.

See also:
EFN Asia 46: A Young Korean's Reflections of Conference 2014 in Hong Kong, February 10, 2015 
EFN Asia 47, Participation in Jeju Forum 2015, May 08, 2015 

EFN Asia 48: Report on "Free Market Environmentalism", May 29, 2015

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