Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

October 11, 2018

When an opportunity comes to try a new experience, I believe it is a best to try it. If that opportunity allows you to learn, it’s even better; after all, Mahatma Gandhi once said “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” and fortunately enough for me an opportunity that fulfils this mantra came along in the form of a scholarship to the LibertyFest conference in Brisbane, that was generously provided to me by the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation.

Whilst this conference opportunity has provided me with many highlights (such as making new friends, meeting successful people and even enjoying beverages with television stars) one of my favourite experiences from this conference were my moments with speaker Andrew Reynolds. As Andrew is a regular speaker at Mannkal events in Perth, I have been fortunate enough to hear him speak on previous occasions, and because of this I was able to converse with him on the topic of tariffs, a topic which Andrew was about to publicly debate.

The prior conversation involved many interesting points with Andrew such as “how will tariffs affect Australia considering our two biggest trading partners are involved in this dispute? And “how will the tariffs in the current U.S-China trade wars influence the eventual U.S contraction?”. Eventually Andrew said, “It’s like banging your head on a brick wall” to which I jokingly replied, “It’s even worse, it’s like seeing your neighbour bang their head on your brick wall and in response you going to bang your own head on their brick wall”. When it got time for Andrew to debate I was pleasantly surprised to hear him use my quote and even reference me, after all its not every day that you are publicly validated in a room full of incredibly smart and free-thinking people.

The experiences with Andrew didn’t end at his debate however, at the Gala dinner while complimenting Andrew on his debate performance, he showed a moment of admiral humbleness and said “my opposition had many good points and it’s only a good debate if you can have a beer together afterwards” and even gave me some tips on how to do presentations. If I could summarise what I had gained from my experiences with Andrew, I’d reminisce to his own words about his presentations “my job is to try and make everyone leave feeling like they know nothing” and I believe that Andrew definitely did his job.

I’d like to sincerely thank everyone from the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, Andrew Cooper from Libertyfest, Andrew Reynolds and all the Libertyfest speakers, and of course my fellow Mannkal Scholars. It’s not every day that the opportunities that Mannkal provides will present themselves and so I must encourage all students to apply when these opportunities appear, I assure you, they will be one of the biggest highlights of your university lives.


Leo Prendeville

Leo Prendeville is studying a Bachelor of Commerce at Curtin University, majoring in Economics.