The Score: Economic Freedom, Educational Entrepreneurship, Political Punditry

This week on The Score – Can beer plus scholarship equal fun plus learning? What is the state of economic freedom in the world? Who is up and who is down in the 2020 presidential contest? Will educational entrepreneurs change the way we teach and learn?

Better late than never, right?

The Score took a brief vacation last week because I was working overtime in my day job. Radio is my hobby, not my profession — at least so far.

This week we have a couple of intriguing takes on education and learning, plus an assessment of the state of economic freedom around the globe and a rough guide to the Democratic presidential candidates.

Economic Freedom
Ian Vasquez Economic FreedomLet’s start with economic freedom. I went to the Cato Institute in Washington, where I talked to Ian Vásquez, director of the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. He told me about the latest annual edition of a report called “Economic Freedom of the World,” co-published in the United States by the Fraser Institute and the Cato Institute.

Vásquez edited Global Fortune: The Stumble and Rise of World Capitalism and co-edited (with Doug Bandow) Perpetuating Poverty: The World Bank, the IMF, and the Developing World.

In a commentary on the report, Vásquez noted:

Hong Kong still ranks first in the index—which is based on 2017 data, the most recent year for which internationally comparable data are available—but we are concerned about its ability to maintain a high position given Beijing’s increasing intervention in the territory’s affairs. Already we have seen a decline in Hong Kong’s rule of law indicator since 2013, a worrisome trend for the overall level of economic freedom.

Economic freedom in the United States has increased since 2013, but then leveled off in the last two years of the index. However, the level of U.S. economic freedom is still notably below what it was in the year 2000, when it began a long-term decline.

The full report — including an interactive map — can be found here.

Ian is on Twitter as @VasquezIan.

Profs and Pints
I have been working away from home in Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh the past couple of weeks, with a jam-packed schedule that left little time for leisure.

Profs and PintsDuring one free evening, however, I found a lecture series called Profs and Pints. On that night, the speaker was Michael Ross, a historian from the University of Maryland who talked about President Andrew Johnson. Afterwards, I asked the founder of Profs and Pints, Peter Schmidt, about the program. Schmidt is a former reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education and co-author (with Anthony P. Carnevale and Jeff Strohl) of The Merit Myth: How Our Colleges Favor the Rich and Divide America and author of Color and Money: How Rich White Kids Are Winning the War over College Affirmative Action. He is on Twitter as @profsandpints.

In our chat outside the Bier Baron, he explains how Profs and Pints came about.

Educational Entrepreneurs
Steve Foerster New World UniversityThe Score’s next guest is Dr. Steve Foerster, founder and president of New World University, another example of entrepreneurial education, or educational entrepreneurship.

New World University is based on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean but Steve and I met at an Indian restaurant in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. (Full disclosure: I am a senior research fellow at New World University, for which I edit Sub-Saharan Monitor.)

We talk about New World University’s model, which aims to provide both education and degrees to students in developing countries at low cost, as well as related issues like the cost of text books and the new availability of free texts, the difference between learning something and earning credentials, and other developments in education in the 21st century.

Steve Foerster is on Twitter as @stevehfoerster while you can follow New World University at @NewWorldU.

Talking Politics
Ethan Lamb Young Voices GULCClosing out this week’s episode of The Score, we return to the headlines. Ethan Lamb is a student at Georgetown University Law Center and a contributor to Young Voices. He earned a B.A. in economics from New York University and served as a writer for the NYU Economics Review. He has worked as an intern for both the National Taxpayers Union and the Cato Institute.

His recent articles include “Joaquin Castro Takes a Page Out of Mussolini’s Playbook” (The American Conservative), “NARAL’s smear of Kevin Williamson shows us why his new book on mob politics is so necessary” (Washington Examiner), and “Want to Fix Health Insurance? Start With the Tax Code” (FEE).

Ethan and I met in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill and had a wide ranging conversation about the 2020 presidential race.

In this first segment, Ethan and I talk about the Democrats. Next week, we’ll hear his thoughts on the Republican and Libertarian presidential contests. In the meantime, you can follow his Twitter feed at @realethanlamb.

We are still assembling the next episode of The Score, but it will include interviews with Virginia State Senate candidates Waylin Ross (SD16), who is running against former Delegate Joe Morrissey, and Elliott Harding (SD25), who is challenging incumbent R. Creigh Deeds of Bath County. Both Ross and Harding are running as independents against Democrats. For a preview of our interviews, check out this video of a candidates’ forum held in Charlottesville on September 24.