Like Australians, Americans are obsessed with their football. Over here, it is the National Football League. The day of the Grand Final is known as ‘Super Bowl Sunday’, and is arguably one of the most important days of the year for Americans. To put Super Bowl festivities into perspective, it is the second largest day for food consumption in the United States, only second to Thanksgiving! Chelsea from Atlas kindly invited Alex and I to a Super Bowl party out in Virginia. With a Beyonce show at half time, clever commercials during the breaks, and a game changing power blackout, it was definitely the match to watch.
It feels like my weeks at Atlas are getting increasingly busy; with my fourth week spent traveling all over the city attending book launches, public policy conferences and accompanying Atlas President Alejandro Chafuen to a few ‘VIP’ events.
An incredible view from inside the United States Capitol
Early in the week I attended launches for two new book releases, ‘The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World’ by Kishore Mahbubani held at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and ‘Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business’ by John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia at the Cato Institute. I was inspired by the ability for businesses to not only create wealth, but also lift people out of poverty, an idea discussed at both events.
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to learn about the future of healthcare at a symposium hosted by the Atlantic Council in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers. It was particularly interesting to hear about some of the challenges faced by the healthcare system in the United States such as rising medical costs and the complexity of proposed regulation. On the following day, Alex and I attended a research seminar at the Cato Institute on critical thinking, and also visited the Embassy of France for a discussion on peace in the modern world.
Michael Theurer (centre) discussing the European Sovereign Debt Crisis with attendees at the Friedich Naumann Foundation Luncheon
On Thursday, I had the privilege of shadowing Atlas President Alejandro Chafuen which provided an interesting insight into a few of his executive responsibilities in public relations at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a German political foundation promoting individual freedom and liberalism, hosted a sumptuous luncheon at the beautifully appointed Willard Intercontinental Hotel. The key note was delivered by Michael Theurer, a Member of the European Parliament for the Free Democratic Party, who provided an insider’s perspective on the European sovereign debt crisis.
Later in the afternoon, we battled the awful traffic to head out of the city to George Mason University located in Fairfax, Virginia. Cosponsored by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the event was a Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony honouring New York University Professor Emeritus Israel M. Kirzner for his pioneering work on the theory of the entrepreneurial market process. Notable academics presented on some of his notable contributions to the field in a panel discussion.
Professor Emeritus Israel M. Kirzner at the Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony
The working week was capped off with a conference at the American Enterprise Institute looking at the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reforms that have brought in a wave of new regulatory requirements on all financial institutions in the United States. Hal Scott from the Harvard Law School presented his research which explored key drivers behind the 2008 financial crisis and how the restrictive regulation may not be effectively addressing such issues. Coming from a finance background, I found the event particularly interesting and enjoyed the panel discussion which broadened the discussion on policy solutions to prevent another financial crisis.
My fourth week in Washington definitely did not disappoint. With two weeks to go, I am looking forward to further exposure to a range of interesting policy issues.