Every year, the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute of Economic Affairs hold Freedom Week—a week-long series of lectures, seminars, and social events in the heart of Cambridge for the brightest young thinkers interested in free markets and classical liberalism. I attended Freedom Week in 2013, and half a decade later had just as much fun as one of the organisers.
Freedom Week 2018 took place last week at the illustrious Sidney Sussex College and saw 32 students engage with the fundamental principles of a free and open society. The attendees tackled a wide range of topics, beginning with an opening address from ASI President Dr. Madsen Pirie on the importance of empiricism. Other talks included Professor Len Shackleton on the consequences of automation, Kate Andrews on the gender pay gap, Sam Bowman on the economics of immigration, and Dr. Craig Smith on the perils of paternalism.
Every session was followed by a lively discussion that continued well into the night during evening social activities. We punted on the River Cam, flew drones at a BBQ, debated every topic imaginable at the pub, and tested our knowledge at the annual pub quiz.
There are few better feelings than being surrounded by a smart, lively group of young people who are interested in the same ideas as you. One of the most satisfying parts of working at the Adam Smith Institute is seeing how our youth programmes ignite a lasting passion for freedom. People make friends for life on Freedom Week and past attendees have gone on to become award-winning journalists, work for think tanks like the Cato Institute and the IEA, and advise ministers and legislators.
The future of neoliberalism is looking bright and it's a privilege to be part of shaping it.