Search This Blog

Friday, August 31, 2012

Too young, too good to die - Johnny Munkhammar


On 13 August 2012 Johnny Munkhammar was finally defeated by a merciless malady and he stepped out of this world ! 
He really was to young to die (not even 38) and he was to good to die ! 
Johnny Munkhammar was, as he put it, a person who worked "for personal liberty, a free economy and society, open borders and limited government".  
He made essential contributions to the effort to preserve the freedom of the market and the openess of the economy.
Johny was deeply convinced of the benefits of the free market and free trade. He was speaking from the heart and he was a truly believer in the economic freedom and the small state and a "preacher" of their virtues.

I would mention only a few of his works, published in English, for which Johnny Munkhammar will be certainly remembered:
- "European Dawn. After the Social Model" (2005).
- The chapter on"A New European Model" in the book "Development Models, Globalization and EconomiesA Search for the Holy Grail?", edited by John Kidd and Frank-Jürgen Richter .
- The chapter titled "The Wellfare State or the Unfair State ?" (an excellent question!) in the book "Beyond the European Social Model" (2006) - http://www.openeurope.org.uk/Content/Documents/PDFs/fullbook.pdf
- His chapter about labour freedom in the annual "Index of Economic Freedom" 2007.
- "What competition has done for Europe" (2007) - http://www.timbro.se/pdf/what_competition_has_done_for_europe.pdf
- "The Guide to reform" (2007)
- "Yes, Europe can !" written together with Stefan Folster.

In addition, he spoke at conferences around the world, always in defence of freedom and for a measured government intervention.  You may see just one of his speeches at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrOBdbnYtJY
Johhny Munkhammar has been an amazing character. In an Europe in which the politicians rarely dare to say the electors the unplesant things, he became a politician but remained as outspoken as always.  Johnny Munkhammar construed a brilliant argument about the fact that politicians who are making reforms are more likely to be re-elected (thus responding to a concern raised by a respected politician - Jean-Clause Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg).    
I remember well the 90', when the then leaders of Romania, which was still a  young democratic country, after escaping with  lot of pains from the toughest commnist regime in Europe, tried to convince people of the benefits of adopting a "Swedish model" for the economy, seen as a Land of Promises, instead of embracing privatisation and liberalisation reforms, which were absolutely necessary in order to save a largely inefficient economy.  As a result, Romania lost so many years looking to the false promise of a market economy where the State was supposed to take care of all its citizens and where the economy itself was subordinated to the "superior" goal of the State providing wellfare to everybody. The costs of that the time lost and the errors which the "Swedish" model justified in Romania, did nothing more than to prolong its road to recovery.  Years later, I discovered Johnny Munkhammar's writtings and, through him, I saw a totally different model - that of people working and competing in order to obtain their wellfare.  Thank you, Johnny !

Johnny Munkhammar is no longer with us but his ideas and his thoughts will remain as important bricks at the foundation of the economic freedom in Europe and elswhere. 
In a world where people and politicians alike, tired and anxious about the economic future, risk turning too much towards state interventionism, economic nationalism and sheer anti-liberal measures, Johnny Munkhammar will be missed. 

R.I.P.Johnny Munkhammar !