Promoting Liberty

Spreading the Ideas of Liberty to Ensure Continuity of Western Values

From the beginning, UFM proposed a different approach to education. The idea was that, regardless of the degree itself, students should learn the concepts of classical liberal economics. For more than fifty years, UFM has been loyal to its mission: to teach and disseminate the ethical, legal, and economic principles of a society of free and responsible persons.

The best way to describe UFM´s liberty-based education is written in Manuel F. Ayau’s inaugural address, given in January 1972: “We firmly believe in the capacity of imperfect human beings to be better able to realize their destiny when free and not when compelled by the collective entity personified by the state. We believe in individual rights. Freedom and property must always be respected (…)”. Read the complete document here.

So, in the quest to promote libertarian ideas, UFM has created centers, newsletters, journals, gatherings, publications, and projects, to conduct research, analysis, and dissemination of important concepts related to liberty and their application to real world problems. Even though the main audience is students, UFM has learned the importance of including philosophical friends, entrepreneurs and business organizations, policy makers, and everyone who believes that liberty and responsibility are needed to generate a real change in the world.

Projects that promote liberty at UFM

Poverty Stoplight (Luces de Desarrollo)

Poverty Spotlight seeks to activate the potential of the individual to lift themselves out of poverty. It is a framework that helps individuals gain an awareness of their situation and encourages them to change it. It is both a tool and a methodology. It starts with a survey of fifty indicators in the six dimensions of multidimensional poverty: Income & Employment, Health & Environment, Housing & Infrastructure, Education & Culture, Organization & Participation and Interiority & Motivation. Families are able to self-diagnose their personal level of poverty in their local context at three levels: extreme poverty (red), poverty (yellow), and no poverty (green).

The original tool was created by Fundación Paraguaya and is now being adapted and used all around the world (e.g. the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, South Africa, and many others). The survey is done using a digital platform, online, or through an app. A trained mentor guides participants through the questionnaire and presents the results on completion, showing all the reds, yellows, and greens. With these results and the support of the mentor, participants prioritize the areas in which they want to improve.

Antigua Forum

This is an invitation-only gathering of individuals who believe in the power of human ingenuity and free enterprise to dramatically improve the well-being of people everywhere.

The Antigua Forum is a problem-solving event, where we combine experienced people, real-world projects, and an effective process to turn game-changing initiatives into concrete action plans. It gathers political leaders, entrepreneurs, and experts from around the world to work on projects that find real solutions to real problems.

At each event, participants from a wide range of backgrounds work in small groups, guided by trained facilitators, help project owners come up with concrete action plans. There are no lectures, just productive encounters. It uses a unique conference format—a process that applies the principles of markets and self-organization—to discover better ways to advance liberty, increase individual choice, and liberate people from government coercion.

Using the mindset of an entrepreneur, the Antigua Forum’s innovative process quickly harnesses participants’ knowledge to accelerate on-the-ground projects to come up with action plans that can start tomorrow.

The Antigua Forum’s unique mix of people, projects, and process is energizing and highly productive.

Center for the Analysis of Public Choice —CADEP—

James Buchanan, Nobel laureate in economics and holder of an honorary doctorate from UFM, visited the university in 2002 to inaugurate CADEP; founded with the aim of promoting the theory of public choice, an analytical tool that uses economics to study politics. Public choice analyzes state activity and collective decision-making, as well as the individuals who are involved in them: voters, politicians, bureaucrats, interest groups, etc. By using economic methods, the analysis is more realistic as it takes into account the information that people in government have at their disposal—which is not perfect—and the incentives they have to act the way they do. 

CADEP has focused on promoting research on political and economic issues, promotes the theory of public choice, and seeks to spread the values of a society of free and responsible people. To this end, it publishes both articles and research on issues of relevance to Guatemala and the region.

Market Trends

Created in 2015, it seeks to analyze economic movements and especially those that occur in financial markets. Data is analyzed, preserving the core of the Austrian School of Economics, bringing it closer to a credit theory compatible with current financial practices. This same project is used for the analysis of high level, practical, economic and financial tools, not just academic ones.

UFM Market Trends takes the form of a newsletter that analyzes the economic and financial news of the cycle theory as liquidity degradation. This theory proposes that the role of financial intermediaries should balance future profit expectations of entrepreneurs with the risk and liquidity of savers.

Periodically, it publishes short-term reports, in which it analyses the most important world economic zones, looking for growth patterns. It analyses the United States, the Eurozone, and China, and present reports from Spain, Mexico, and Guatemala. Furthermore, it publishes short articles, analyzing current economic events. These reports have been mentioned on prestigious sites such as Reuters, Forbes, Libre Mercado, and Business Insider.

Liberty in Action

The purpose of Liberty in Action is to advance the mission of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, using an interdisciplinary learning model, in which students apply the principles of liberty to societal challenges: devising and creating prototype private, voluntary, and free market solutions. Liberty in Action courses, a requirement for all the university’s students, facilitate collaborative experiences, where participants develop their entrepreneurial mindset.

The specific objectives of Liberty in Action are: 1) to be a laboratory for private solutions to social challenges, 2) to strengthen individual choice and peaceful and voluntary cooperation, 3) to teach the principles of a free society in innovative ways, and 4) to reduce space for government intervention.

On a broader scale, these learning experiences are intended to accelerate human progress through private solutions, to bring about a cultural shift whereby government is no longer seen as the sole source of solutions to social problems.