Wisdom


From The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Klaus won his second five-year term as president of the Czech Republic in February 2008. He studied at the Prague School of Economics, where he currently holds a professorship in finance.

Mr. Klaus talked to Robert Thomson, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. Here are edited excerpts of their discussion.

Listening in Frustration

ROBERT THOMSON: Mr. President, obviously during the dark days of communism, America was a beacon for you and many other people in Central and Eastern Europe. What are your impressions of contemporary America?

VÁCLAV KLAUS: Sitting here in this room in the last two hours and the coming from, first Europe, and, second, from a former communist country where I spent most of my life, I almost don’t believe my eyes to see how much you believe in government and how much you don’t believe in the market.

This is for me a shocking experience. And I have to say that very loudly. As a professor of economics, I have my theoretical arguments about the impossibility of running the economy from above.

As a person who spent almost 50 years of his life in a communist country, I know how crazy it is to introduce schemes like the cap and trade and similar ideas, how devastating and damaging for the economy all those ideas really are. So I’m rather frustrated. It seems to me that to fight for freedom, free markets, is still the task of today, even if we hoped almost 20 years ago in the moment of the fall of communism that it was over.

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