Cato Institute Launches New Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity

Former Putin economic adviser Andrei Illarionov joins Center

October 10, 2006

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WASHINGTON – The Cato Institute is announcing the launch of its Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. The mission of the Center is to promote policies that protect human rights, extend the range of personal choice, and support the central role of economic freedom in ending world poverty.

Building on Cato’s extensive work on international development issues, the Center’s creation will expand Cato’s role in promoting a better understanding around the world of the benefits of market-liberal policy solutions to combat the problems faced by developing nations.

As part of this expanded mission, Andrei Illarionov, former chief economic adviser of Russian President Vladimir Putin, will be joining the Center as a senior fellow. Andrei Illarionov was a Kremlin adviser from 2000 to December 2005, when he resigned in protest at government policies. He served as a member of Russia’s first economic reform team in the early 1990s, and is an expert on economic growth, the political economy of Russia, and the economics of post-communist transition. Illarionov is one of Russia’s most forceful and articulate advocates of an open society and democratic capitalism, and has been a long-time friend of the Cato Institute.

“We are delighted that such a champion of liberty as Andrei Illarionov has joined our new Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity,” says Ed Crane, president of the Cato Institute.  “For years Andrei has spoken truth to power inside the Kremlin.  He is one of the most courageous men I have had the privilege of knowing.”

The director of the Center is Ian Vásquez, formerly director of Cato’s Project on Global Economic Liberty, which the Center replaces. Also joining the team is Indian economist Swaminathan Aiyar, who will serve as a research fellow. Aiyar, a regular columnist of The Times of India and one of India’s leading market-liberal advocates, will focus his work at the Cato Institute on economic change in India and Asia. 

The Advisory Board for the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity is made up of a small group of distinguished individuals: Gurcharan Das, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, India; José Piñera, former minister of labor and social security, Chile; Deepak Lal, professor of international development studies, UCLA; Fred Hu, chief economist, Goldman Sachs, Asia; Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski, former prime minister of Peru; Arnold Harberger, professor of economics, UCLA; and Anne Applebaum, columnist, The Washington Post.

“I feel honored and privileged to work with such distinguished colleagues and am confident that the Center will become an effective influence in the debate on the leading issues in international development,” says Vásquez.

In recent years, Cato has held major conferences in China, Russia, and Mexico; published important studies on foreign aid, Africa, malaria, and private education for the poor; and published books on globalization, the water crisis in poor countries, economic reform; and the Economic Freedom of the World report produced annually in conjunction with the Fraser Institute in Canada.

The Center will expand Cato’s work on Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Future work under the Center will include a book that examines improvements in human-well being in most of the world, and studies that look at reform priorities for Africa, the state of liberalism in Russia and Central Europe, corruption, and successful economic policies in Latin America and India.

Cato will continue its work in Eurasia through its Russian-language Web site (http://www.cato.ru/), and is holding on Oct 25 to October 27 in Tbilisi, Georgia, a major conference on “freedom, commerce and peace” in the region. The institute maintains also an active Arabic language program (http://www.misbahalhurriyya.org/) and recently held a conference in Cairo. Senior Fellow Dr. Tom G. Palmer leads these initiatives.