An Atlantic task

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
16 February, 2024

Never lead the Titans to revolt against the Olympian gods. It can cause a bit of back pain. Just ask Atlas, that poor Greek fellow.

Atlas’s punishment, however, became his trademark. He developed into a hero for holding up the heavens, preventing them from falling onto the Earth. It is a thankless task, but someone must do it.

That brings us to today’s Atlases.

Many of you have probably heard about Atlas Network in recent weeks. It is a network of think tanks around the world, and the Initiative is proud to be a part of it.

Despite being a friend of Atlas, I was unaware of its influence. There is a conspiracy theory that Atlas controls government policy in many countries – at least in Australia and New Zealand.

If only that were true. Atlas promotes sound policies, noble ideas and inspiring projects.

Founded by the late Sir Anthony Fisher in 1981, the Atlas Network’s mission is “to drive change in ideas, culture, and policy; remove barriers to opportunities; and empower individuals to live a life of choice.”

To achieve this, Atlas provides support to local organisations. Although these policy shops are diverse, they share a commitment to individual liberty, property rights, limited government, and free markets.

Atlas’ affiliates make abstract ideas concrete. In the favelas of Brazil, they helped residents establish property rights, become entrepreneurs and escape poverty.

Against a bureaucracy that prevented independent Nepali e-rickshaw drivers from operating, Atlas helped them register.

In the US state of Georgia, Atlas partners with the ‘Georgia Center for Opportunity’. They embarked on a large project to rehabilitate former offenders. That was a decade ago. Since then, the prison population and recidivism have significantly decreased.

There are dozens of success stories like this from all around the world that were supported by the Atlas Network.

So, when the Initiative started in 2012 and Atlas asked if we wanted to be affiliated, we felt honoured to join this network. We still are.

Atlas does not fund our work. Well, they gave us a camera a decade ago (and thank you, it still works). That was it.

For us, it has always been about belonging to an organisation that helps people achieve amazing things, and being part of a network whose goals we share.
Just like holding up the heavens, promoting prosperity for everyone is often a thankless task.

But we like to know we are in good company. That is why we are part of the Atlas Network.

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