Applying the Amazon.com Model to the Promotion of Freedom

Cato Institute Launches Innovative Web-based Programs

December 12, 2007

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The Cato Institute has established itself as one of the most international of think tanks with active research and publication programs in nine major languages.  On December 12, Cato is adding six new foreign-language programs to promote “individual liberty, free markets, limited government, and peace.”

The new programs will publish in Chinese, Portuguese, French, Persian, Kurdish, and on the continent of Africa in English and Swahili.

In addition to actively maintaining the websites, each of the programs will be publishing books and studies, running seminars on libertarian ideas and policies and syndicating articles to the popular media.  Summer Schools in Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, and other languages are planned to promote understanding of classical liberal ideals and goals worldwide.

Cato vice president for international programs Tom G. Palmer described the initiative as “a truly global initiative for the ideas of human rights, freedom of trade, limited government, and peace.”  Palmer is director of the institute’s Center for Promotion of Human Rights, which coordinates Cato programs around the world.  Palmer explained that “each language or region has its own brand which is a website URL – the Lamp of Liberty, for example, and we use the brand on every product, so that if you read a syndicated op-ed in a newspaper or a book, you will be able to find the website and all the other products, including essay contests, summer schools, podcasts, and more.  We’re applying the Amazon.com model to the promotion of freedom.”

Palmer stressed that the initiative is “one hundred percent independent, unconnected to and not financed by any government.” All funding for the programs, according to Palmer, “is raised voluntarily from donors who share our belief in the universality of human rights and the benefits of peace and free trade.”

The whole Web-based initiative aims to change the terms of public policy debate in the Middle East, China, Africa and Eastern Europe by broadening awareness of the ideas of liberty, and providing “intellectual ammunition” to its defenders, in the form of arguments and evidence.

Programs:

More information is available at the Center for Promotion of Human Rights.