Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hi everyone, and welcome to the 169th episode of the Atlas Society. Asks, my name is Jennifer Anju Grossman. Most of you know me as Jag. I'm the c e o of the Atlas Society. We are the leading nonprofit organization, engaging young people with the ideas of Ayin Rand in a variety of ways, including artistically, um, visual graphic novels, animated videos, and even music. Today we are joined by Jorge Diaz Cuervo. Before I even begin to introduce our guest, I wanna remind all of you who are watching us on Zoom, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube. You can use the comment section to start typing in your questions, and we are going to get to as many of those as we can. Our guest, Jorge Diaz Cuervo, is President of the newly founded Uni Verda de la Libertad in Mexico City, which are 2023 Atlas Society, gala Honoree, Ricardo Salinas, created to help students learn the principles of liberty-minded society and to build a culture of leadership. Jorge is a longtime advocate for government reforms, having previously served in both the Mexican federal government, as well as Mexico City's local Congress. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics, a master's degree, degree in both international management and, uh, management of social security systems, and, uh, also a PhD in jurisprudence. Wow. Jorge, thanks for joining us.
Speaker 1 00:01:47 Thank you, Jennifer, for having me. It's a pleasure.
Speaker 0 00:01:50 So I want everybody to know, I'm really excited about this interview because the Atlas Society and the University, um, have some plans in the work for, uh, a really robust collaboration, uh, which you'll be hearing about down the road. Let's go back all the way to the beginning. Our audience loves to start in hearing about our guests origin stories. So perhaps you'll share a bit about where you grew up, any early influences that pointed you on the path that, uh, you are now leading this university.
Speaker 1 00:02:31 Of course. Um, univer, I was born in Mexico City, and I have lived basically all of my life here down in Mexico City, except for the time that I went to school at, uh, Southwestern in Austin, Texas. Um, probably my grandmother, um, from my father's side was, um, was a person that really motivated me to pursue, um, more freedom, uh, in Mexico. She, she was born in Merida in the state of, uh, Yucatan. Um, and after having six, uh, children, she went on to, um, get a, a degree in psychology. Um, she even got a, a PhD in psychology, and she got very involved in the women's movements in the, in the fifties and sixties in Mexico. Uh, you know, um, for example, the, the rights, uh, for women to vote in 1950 was granted. Uh, so she was, um, a really a, a an inspiration, um, for me and for many people. She was, she was a professor at the National University in Mexico for almost 40 years. So that was probably my first contact with, um, with the need to open, uh, spaces, liberty, uh, freedom for, for women and for for many of us, uh, at a time when, when the Mexican, uh, political system was very, um, uh, rigid, very, uh, very strong, very centralized, uh, in terms of, uh, lack of democracy. So, yeah, probably my grandmother was my first influence in that sense.
Speaker 0 00:04:20 I love that story, and I, um, am woefully ignorant about Mexican political history. I had no idea that, uh, the women, uh, of Mexico won the franchise to vote so relatively recently, actually, I, I know that, um, Ayn Rand came to the United States, I think, uh, in the 19 early 1920s, uh, just six years after women won the right to vote. Um, but of course, every country is, is different, and we'll get into some of that later on. You mentioned that, uh, you went to the, uh, Southwestern University near Austin, and you're now a trustee for your alma mater. Um, how much time did you spend in the US and did that experience, uh, help shape your perspective on the kinds of reforms needed in Mexico?
Speaker 1 00:05:17 Oh, definitely, definitely Jennifer. Um, Southwestern is a liberal arts, uh, university. Uh, actually it's the, the oldest, uh, university in Texas. It was founded, uh, 183 years ago in, in 1940 when Texas was an independent republic. You know, um, uh, between 19, uh, 36 or 37 till 1942 or 43, Texas was a republic before it joined the, the, the Union. Um, so it was the first university to be founded in the state of Texas. So it's, it's an, an old institution. It's a liberal arts institution. It's a private, small, uh, institution. Um, and what I found, um, very interesting, at least for me, is this, this, uh, uh, emphasis. They, they put on, on finding connections between different fields of study. You know, that's the basis of liberal arts, uh, education. Um, so I was there from 1987 till 1991 for four years, and it was the time, Jennifer, when in Mexico, uh, the president, uh, at that time, Carlos Salina really, uh, embarked in Mexico in very important, um, economic reforms.
Speaker 1 00:06:46 Um, he downsized the, the, the government, uh, in a very important matter. Um, you know, he, he is, he's recognized as a neoliberal, uh, president. He, he put Mexican economy in, in touch with the world. Uh, you know, the nafta, the first, uh, free trade agreement with the US and Canada was signed in 1994. So it was, it was like at that time when, when I was finishing my, my studies at Southwestern that a lot of liberal reforms were going on in, in, in Mexico. So it was very easy to relate what I was, you know, studying in, in, in, in, in, at Southwestern, and what was happening in my country. So, um, so that's why I, as soon as I came back to Mexico, I really, um, got involved in, in several positions throughout the years in the federal government, uh, pursuing these, um, reform policies, um, trying to build a much more open economy, uh, based on, um, competition, on merit, on, on, on global markets, um, on entrepreneurship. Um, so yeah, it was, it was very important for me, uh, having the opportunity to study at Southwestern. And now, I'm, I'm, I'm enjoying, I can tell you how much I, I'm enjoying being, being a trustee at Southwestern and seeing, uh, how, how an old institution is always trying to innovate and to change, uh,
Speaker 0 00:08:20 Well, hopefully for the better, because I know that we have a lot of old, uh, universities here in the United States, including my alma mater at Harvard, uh, which just was ranked as being the least free in terms of, uh, freedom of speech and censorship, uh, on campus. So we're going to get into that because there have been, um, uh, kind of a trend here in the United States of this woke ideology. And, and by that I mean, uh, this idea that, you know, you elevate victimhood as having some kind of superior moral status, and that oppression is everywhere, and only if you are awake to it, uh, are you really in touch with, uh, with the systemic oppression that is everywhere. So there, there have been a lot of changes in, in universities, and I would tend to think that Southwestern being right there in, keep it weird, Austin might have some problems, but, uh, and, and I'm, what I really wanna get to, which is the main meat of this interview is the, uh, uni univers de la Libertad, and how it was that you decided to, um, you and, and, uh, Salinas decided to start it, and what was the need for it.
Speaker 0 00:09:41 You know, I think that there have been other, um, initiatives here in the United States to start universities or to start movements to reform universities, uh, like Heterodox University, but that is almost kind of a reaction to, to some of what I was talking about before, some of these negative trends. So, um, so as we talked about right before we went live, you were sitting there in the beautiful new, uh, offices and buildings of, um, the, the university. Um, tell us a little bit about the project. How did it get started? What were some of the challenges, challenges that had to be overcome to bring such an enormous project to reality?
Speaker 1 00:10:33 Okay. So, um, this project has been in Ricardo Salinas's mind for several years. Um, it has to do with his, with his legacy, and with the, with a vision, with his vision, uh, not only for for Mexico, but for the world. The entire world is, um, that liberty is, is a value that we have to, to take care of, and we have to, uh, foster, uh, more freedom, more liberty, because that's the only way to, um, get innovation in, in, in all fields of our life. And with competition, then you can, you can reach prosperity. No wonder the most successful societies are those that have really, um, uh, pursue, uh, freedom and liberty, uh, at its core, at the senses. So, so he's, uh, also convinced that, um, what Mexico needs is more entrepreneurs, uh, more enterprises and better entrepreneurs and better enterprises. So we are, we're focused on innovation and business.
Speaker 1 00:11:44 It's gonna be, um, a university concentrated in, in, in business, in entrepreneurial development. Um, and, um, he, he really wants, um, to fight this, um, version that has been around for the past five or six years with, with this kind of socialist government that we have, that entrepreneurs are behind most of the problems that we have in Mexico, that an entrepreneur and companies, um, steal wealth from the, from, from the poor people. Um, so he wants to reposition the, the role of entrepreneurs and of the, um, uh, of companies, um, in our society, recognizing that they, they're responsible for more than 90% of our G D P. And that the, the social institution created for the creation of wealth is, uh, the enterprise, uh, the, the private, uh, companies. It's not the government. It's not the job of the government to create wealth or to, uh, uh, create world wealth.
Speaker 1 00:13:02 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, uh, so he's, uh, convinced that, uh, also that the higher education in Mexico has to change, uh, I guess in, in, in, in the US and in other parts of the world. That's also true. Uh, it's in, it's incredible. But if you see what has happened in the last 150 years, how, how much our life has changed, how much the world has changed, and if you see a classroom in the late 19th century and you see a, a a typical classroom today, nothing has changed. You know, the way, uh, we each and, and we get teach, uh, is almost, is basically the same as a
Speaker 0 00:13:45 Hundred, right? It's still, it's like back to even the ancient Greece, it's one person behind a podium, a bunch of people, uh, sitting in desks. And, uh, like you said, I mean, there have been just so many technological revolutions in terms of how we, uh, democratize content, and yet the universities stay the same. So, uh, what I understand is that part of the mission of the university is also to find more effective ways of educating these young people.
Speaker 1 00:14:23 Exactly. And lemme tell you something, I mean, it's, it's much more easier when you're starting from scratch.
Speaker 0 00:14:30 Yes. So true <laugh>
Speaker 1 00:14:31 Normative, and to do things differently than when you have a, an old institution, a big institution. And trying to move that elephant just a little bit takes a lot of effort and work. I mean, um, I'm not saying they don't have to change, it's, I'm just saying it's, it's much more difficult for them than for new, new projects like us to, to start doing things differently. So yeah, that system of, uh, passively listening as a student, uh, taking notes and the night before the exam, just trying to memorize everything, just to forget it after the exam, and with the only objective of passing the exam and, and spending four years doing that, um, I think it's, it's not worth it anymore. I mean, we have to, we have to use different techniques, uh, in a much more active learning methods, um, uh, intentional learning methods, uh, with, um, a completely different role in terms of the professor, not more like a facilitator and, and leaving the, the, the learning process to the students.
Speaker 1 00:15:43 I mean, they are the ones who have to be responsible for the learning process. Um, so yeah, we are, we're doing things, uh, completely in a completely different manner. Uh, Jennifer, uh, with a lot of help from, um, for example, from Mineva University from San Francisco, which is, um, it's a 15 year old, uh, project, which is ranked number one in innovation in education right now, worldwide. Um, we, uh, university of Francisco Marroquin in terms of the liberal core of our program with Southwestern University. Um, so we are partnering with, with, with, and we want to partner with a lot of, uh, institutions, a lot of universities who are concerned about, um, liberty, freedom and innovation. Um, and, and responding to what you say, the, the, one of the biggest challenges we, we've had to face is leading with our government authorities in terms of the accreditation of our program. They are very traditional. They don't like change change
Speaker 0 00:16:51 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:16:51 <inaudible>. So we, we have to work a lot in, in, in, in kind of a translation of what we are gonna do and what's gonna happen in this university and what they want to hear that's gonna happen. So, uh, we had to do this translation so that we can get our, our accreditation on time. I guess that was one of the biggest challenges, um, in terms of a government that wants to control everything and, uh, they feel they know better. So, um, that was,
Speaker 0 00:17:23 That, that is always battling the bureaucracy. So how long did that, I mean, not only is the campus open, it's built, it's there, uh, you said the students started on Monday, was that right?
Speaker 1 00:17:40 Same days ago. Yeah, Monday the fourth. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:17:42 Um, so it's, but you know, that is what we can see. When did this, when was this, uh, project kind of a twinkling in, uh, Ricardo Salinas's eye? How long did it take? Um, and, uh, probably like with any kind of building process, the, the permitting, the getting the approvals probably took the longest. But has this been a decade long project? How long has it been in the works?
Speaker 1 00:18:10 Yeah, he, he has been thinking about this project at least 10 years ago. Uh, he started thinking about it. Uh, he was willing to start when the pandemic no hit us, uh mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, but we've been working in this project for the last, for the past two and a half years. It took us two and a half years to finally reach this point. Um, we have 97 fabulous, um, students in this, uh, inaugural. Uh,
Speaker 0 00:18:43 And will it be a four year, is it a four year, um, matriculation, like regular schools?
Speaker 1 00:18:50 It depends on how many credits, uh, or courses you take per trimester. We're working on trimesters, not semesters mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and you can finish in three years if you really are a full-time student, or, but we believe that in general, most, most of our students will finish in four years. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:19:11 Well, you know, I can see what you're saying about how it can be easier to start something, um, on your own rather than trying to reform an existing institution. And it's always a frustration of mine because I, you know, even my classmate, Ken Griffin, um, who's endowed Harvard with, uh, just tens and tens of millions of dollars, um, and the, you know, rather than gratitude, he gets reviled by the, the leftists at the university. And the mindset, you know, of entrepreneurs, of people that find a way to satisfy a billion needs to innovate, uh, and to create great wealth, that kind of mindset is, can be very, very different than the, uh, the kind of academic mindset. So, um, expecting that young people are going to somehow manage to become entrepreneurs after, uh, spending three or four years with people who have never been entrepreneurs, have been professional academics all one's life.
Speaker 0 00:20:26 And I am hopeful that, uh, that you are, you'll take advantage of all of the great resources that Ayn Rand herself created. I mean, one of the things in talking about innovation and talking about elevating the role of the entrepreneur, um, and pushing back against this kind of, you know, very old Marxist canard, that the, the people that are creating, um, new products and services are somehow taking something away. That's another one of my pet peeves, is whenever businessmen come and get an award, and we all know the line, they always say, well, I really believe in giving back. And I always think, what did you take away? You know, actually you've spent your entire professional life, uh, creating abundance, you know, giving something to the community, um, a better product, uh, a more convenient service, um, providing value. That's what you've been doing, otherwise you would not have, uh, you know, been able to be so successful.
Speaker 0 00:21:33 So, um, I think that Ayn Rand in particular has a, uh, unique role in how, I mean, Atlas Shrug, LA Red, nda, Atlas Shrug Atlas, it was, um, pretty revolutionary in terms of being about entrepreneurs coming together to do great things. And of course, her defense of capitalism from a moral perspective, as well as her, you know, defending, um, big business as the, as the, um, most persecuted minority. And, and that is certainly, uh, the case. And, and, um, I, I do sometimes get worried that, uh, this whole populist political movement in the United States, um, takes a page every once in a while from this idea that it is big business or the bad guys, and it's somehow the, just the, um, the, the rank and file workers that are pulling, uh, society forward, when in fact, it's the people, the very few people that can invent new products and services and success successfully execute and bring them to market.
Speaker 0 00:22:45 I know that, uh, my dear colleague, Antonella Marti, um, she's a senior fellow at the Atlas Society, and she, uh, runs our socio atlas. That is one of her great themes that, uh, in fact, she's working on a book, um, on entrepreneurs throughout Latin America. Um, so, and she was able to be there at the inauguration. I'm very jealous about that. Um, as I mentioned before, I am going to be speaking next week at Uni University Francisco Marrow Keen, so I'm familiar with that university, and I'm thrilled to hear that you're going to be collaborating with them. Uh, but from what I'm hearing, it sounds like that university is, is general, right? It has this theme of classical liberalism, but probably you could go and study anything in terms of what you guys are doing. It's more of a focus on creating this next generation of entrepreneurs. Is that correct? And then, obviously you just started, but what is the longer term vision of the university? Is it going to be focusing on, um, undergraduates, or do you eventually see a role for adding graduate level studies and business or law?
Speaker 1 00:24:04 Law? Yeah. We are, we're working on, on, on another graduate program, um, sequences that we call hikes, high impact knowledge experiences, which are, um, sequences that, um, can, can, we are gonna, uh, recognize certain abilities or competencies. Um, and we're also gonna have, uh, graduate programs, uh, eventually, probably next year we start with, with the, with the first graduate program. So, yeah. Uh, Francisco Marroquin, uh, is, is a dual for us. I mean, oh,
Speaker 0 00:24:42 You're so beautiful too.
Speaker 1 00:24:43 It's a very good, um, project. Uh, and we are working with them in the development of our, uh, liberal arts, um, uh, core of, of our program. And it's a very important one. We want, um, we're working on, on a, on a liberal, um, uh, you know, ideas and, and, um, uh, dealing, I mean, from the viewpoint of philosophical point of view, from the historical point of view, economical point of view and political point of view, we want our, our graduates to have a very strong form formation on liberal, classical liberal thoughts. And that's something that I think in terms of our, um, competitors here in Mexico, I think that's something that's gonna, um, you know, we're gonna get, get to be known by that. I mean, we want our, Ricardo Selina especially wants our students to have a very strong, um, um, uh, you know, to, to really, uh, embrace freedom and liberty and understand why it's important to defend freedom and to foster liberty in Mexico and around the world. So that's one part that's a very important part of our program. Um, even though, I mean, most of the business programs in Mexico don't have this. They only concentrate in marketing, uh, finance, accounting, you know, the traditional
Speaker 0 00:26:17 Interesting. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:26:18 Yeah. But, um, at least one third of our courses have to do with this liberalism, liberal thought liberal ideas. So, um, in that sense, I think we are similar to, to universal Francisco Marroquin in the importance we give to, to, um, uh, the, the understanding of liberal thoughts. What are we gonna be different from them is that they, I mean, they have a lot of, uh, different areas from medicine to architecture to, um, right. Engineering, uh, uh, and, and <crosstalk>
Speaker 0 00:26:56 Media production.
Speaker 1 00:26:57 Yeah. Philosophy, media production. And we are only gonna be concentrated on, on innovation and business, but we're eventually, we're gonna be about the same size. They, they, I think there are around 3000 students mm-hmm. <affirmative>, who would probably reach around 2000, uh, students like in, in, in the next, uh, four or five years. So we're probably gonna be about the same size, just, we're gonna be only concentrated on business, but we both will have a very strong, uh, uh, liberal, uh, component of our program.
Speaker 0 00:27:34 Very, very exciting. And of course, you're in Mexico and you're in Mexico City, and they're in Guatemala. And so will you be drawing students primarily from Mexico? Is that the, the focus?
Speaker 1 00:27:50 Actually, you know, we, we thought that 100% of our student of this first generation we're gonna come from the metropolitan area of Mexico City, but to our surprise, 16% of them are coming from other states, uh, in Mexico. So, um, uh, that really surprised us because, um, we were, we're not offering accommodation. They had to find out where, where to live and so on. And, uh, we want to have a, we want to get into a lot of, um, uh, memorandum of understandings for exchanges for students. We want our, our students to spend at least a year abroad. Uh, we want also for them to have a lot of internships and see the real world and how things happen in, in the businesses. Having group of Salinas behind us with its more than 50 companies give us, gives us this opportunity for having our students, you know, having these learning experiences at work, but experiences that are linked with our academic program, you know, um, so that's something that's also gonna, um, is gonna be different here at Univers, Lita, this, this, um, we, we want to push them to go to the real world and come back and go to the real world and come back and see how, uh, the theory gets applied or not in the real world.
Speaker 1 00:29:16 And, uh, also we're looking that for that most of our facilitators or, or professors are people that are successful that have already been successful, either creating new businesses or, um, ASCE executives or, or managing, uh, successful businesses. Uh, we don't want your typical, um, academic, uh, person who has never, uh, uh, gone into business. You know, we want, we want to bring real experiences to, to our students so that they can really be successful as, as, as soon as possible. That
Speaker 0 00:29:56 Is so important. And I agree that that is a huge opportunity and a huge kind of gap in, in the way that, um, kids are, are currently being educated. They are just in this hothouse, this ideological hothouse, and they're coddled to the idea that they think everything is gonna be catered to them. And when they get that first job, it can be kind of a shock, uh, or <laugh>. The alternative is that they treat their campus, you know, their new Twitter campus or Netflix campus, or whatever it is, like their old university campus, and start kind of making all kinds of demands that have nothing to do with the bottom line. And so they're also harming the, uh, the company on which their livelihood depends. So being able to short circuit that very destructive loop, I think would, would be a very good thing. Okay. I have more questions for you, but we also have a lot of questions from our audience from all over the world. So let that, let's start with some of those, and everyone who's watching, go ahead and, uh, get your questions in. We're gonna dive in. Uh, our friend, my modern Galt on is watching us on Instagram, and he asks, Jorge, do you see an issue where Mexicans come to the US for an education, but don't come back to improve things in Mexico because there's more opportunity in the us?
Speaker 1 00:31:33 Well, it was not my case. Uh, I always knew that, um, that I was very lucky to have that opportunity to study in at Southwestern, but I always knew that I was gonna come back to Mexico and, and, and, and apply. I think, I think it, it depends, um, um, I guess for, for many people, if they, if they get a, an opportunity to stay there, they, they, they probably will, but it's not easy, you know, Jennifer, it's not easy. Um, migration, uh, rules and policies don't make it easy for, for anyone to, uh, really apply and, and, and become, uh, uh, an American citizen or have the right to work. So, um, in my experience, um, most of the people who go and and study, uh, in the US come back to Mexico because most of the people go and, and, and do, um, graduate degrees. You know, uh, it was not my case. Uh, and I'm a rare case that I went to do an undergrad program, right? That's, that's not very common. Most people go to gather, uh, programs. Um, but no, I, i, I, I don't think that's, that's the case. Um, but I don't have any more data than, than my own experience at what I've, what I've seen around.
Speaker 0 00:32:55 Well, and, uh, you know, I can also speak again, just from my own experience and, uh, anecdotal observations that there are more and more Americans that are, uh, moving to Mexico, um, including, uh, the woman who does all of our events here in the United States. She lives in, in Mexico City. So, um, and we have at the gala coming up in three weeks, uh, Akira the Dawn, of course, he is originally from, um, great Britain, but he's chosen to make his home in Mexico. So, um, I think there are things that are shifting and that are underway that aren't necessarily what one always sees in, in the headlines. Um, alright. Also from Instagram, Alexi Kirk Hope is asking about educational trends, and that in the US there has been a push for kids to maybe not go to college at all and go into the trades, go and learn how to, uh, be a engineer or a carpenter or a, uh, plumber or what have you, um, and, uh, avoid the debt and earn a pretty good living. Is that, is that happening in, in Mexico or has that always been the case?
Speaker 1 00:34:20 No, you know, the, I think the biggest challenge for all traditional universities is, uh, losing relevance.
Speaker 0 00:34:30 Relevance. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:34:32 So, um,
Speaker 0 00:34:33 Interesting.
Speaker 1 00:34:34 A lot of people are, are questioning themselves, not only young people, but their parents who pay for the schools. Is it be worth it to spend $200,000 or more, or in and to spend four years, like we said, right? Uh, is that really a good investment? Is it relevant? Yeah, in terms of, of being successful and doing interesting things in life. And if, um, us as universities, if we don't address that issue, if we, um, become irrelevant, then um, many universities will, will, will, will have a different, I mean, will will probably future eventually.
Speaker 0 00:35:17 Right?
Speaker 1 00:35:18 So, yeah, I think that's the biggest challenge we're all facing relevance and pertinent. Um, in terms of, um, and, and also the market is telling us, I mean, um, graduates, uh, are not useful in our companies. I mean, they, they come out of school and they, they barely know how to do anything. I mean, they're, they, they don't have the abilities or the competencies that the market needs. So there's a dislocation, there's a, there's a problem disconnect, but the market needs and what's happening in the universities. So that higher education is, is, is, is it, it it might become irrelevant. No.
Speaker 0 00:36:04 Very interesting. Well, that's definitely a theme that I hear echoed by many of our donors and trustees who have, uh, large companies and enterprises, and they are just seeing what's coming out of the university and looking elsewhere. Um, all right. On Zoom, Raja Par Parra, Ms. Suran asks whether you are involved, uh, with the recently proposed University of Austin, also in Austin?
Speaker 1 00:36:38 Yeah, not yet, but we want to, uh, got it. It's very interesting project. Uh, we have a lot in common, and, um, I'm gonna be looking to, to, to talk to them and, and, and seeing how we can get involved with them. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:36:54 Okay. From Twitter, x Cade Wallace asks, is government corruption an issue in trying to establish, uh, the, the university? I mean, I suppose it's always going to be and, and issue if, if they're like, well, yeah, we, we need you to say this, or we we're, we'll get to approving this. Whenever we get to approving it. Um, it's very difficult because, uh, you know, maybe they just say, we'll, pay us and we'll make your problems go away. But then once you do that, then you start to encourage the cycle of, um, government thinking that they can extort from productive citizens.
Speaker 1 00:37:40 No, you know, we, we, we did not face, um, corruption. What we faced was, uh, like I said, indifference and, um, unwillingness to, um, understand, um, a new educational, uh, project. Um, some people say that's a kind of corruption, you know, but interesting, like, like having to pay for, for our papers. But, uh, but yeah, <crosstalk>,
Speaker 0 00:38:09 What's a different kind of, I, I like the way you say a different kind of corruption, because we tend to think of corruption as bribery, uh, as quid pro quo, what have you. But when you think of the word corruption, and you think of the corruption of, of the flesh and, and corruption is really about decay, and it's really about something that's become abandoned to the elements, which starts to, to break down. And so in that kind of different sense, there is a corruption of, of government and a corruption of institutions that, um, is taking place.
Speaker 1 00:38:50 So, yeah. So for example, in, in, in Mexico, they only accreditation agency is the, is the ministry of education, for example, I know in the states, there are regional accreditation agencies here in Mexico, it's all centralized in, in one agency. And, um, you know, Ricardo Salinas was not interested in, in having an official accreditation. He said, I mean, why do we have to depend from the government to not get
Speaker 0 00:39:17 Interesting <laugh>?
Speaker 1 00:39:19 We kind of convinced him that, uh, for, for the parents,
Speaker 0 00:39:24 Right,
Speaker 1 00:39:25 Wanna pay, uh, yes, they want finally the, the, to get their, their son's, uh, studies accredited by officially accredited. But you know, what we're thinking on, uh, this is just an idea, but we're thinking of, um, getting together with, um, let's say 10 or 15, um, uh, higher education institutions that are innovative, uh, like Minerva, like Singularity University, like Austin mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, and there's one marroquin, there's one in Brazil, um, in Spain and, and create our own accreditation system. Um, wow.
Speaker 0 00:40:07 I like it. Uh, now talk about outside of the box thinking
Speaker 1 00:40:11 <laugh>. Yeah. Like, I know, like, like standard and force or, or you know, any other private, uh, accreditation agency that, that can, um, really stand up for what we want to do innovation, uh, and not depending on government's accreditation to, to be successful. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:40:31 Fascinating. Well, I can already see that the entrepreneurial approach, which is thinking outside of the box that Ricardo Salina said, well, why do we need accreditation anyway? And, you know, well, we kind of need it because we're gonna be doing, you know, this, and we're recruiting and we're competing, and these are the value propositions from the alternatives. And well, all right, but then maybe we can figure out something else on the accreditation stuff. So I like that style. Um, all right, a few questions from Facebook. Candace Morena asks, what was the biggest lesson that you learned? I guess Mexico learned from the covid? Lockdowns said that, you know, you guys were kind of ready to go back in 2020, ready to rock and roll, but, uh, it wasn't just a health, uh, pandemic, but it was this, uh, totally untried, um, untested massive global experiment. Um, which, uh, you know, however many people it may have saved. I, I, I think that's a big if, um, we, we certainly can see that it, it pushed, uh, just hundreds of millions into starvation child marriages, um, and, uh, preventable diseases. So, um, and of course, at least in the United States, the school closures, uh, led to generational learning losses. So how was our experience different than what Mexico experienced, and what do you think, if anything, has been learned?
Speaker 1 00:42:14 Well, first of all, um, how much damage can a, can a, can a government, uh, do to its, to its people, um, uh, with, with, with no evidence. Um, they scared, uh, they really scared millions of people, uh, unnecessarily, uh,
Speaker 0 00:42:32 Verified, uh, damaged
Speaker 1 00:42:35 In our case. Um, Ricardo Salinas decided not to close. It's it's businesses. We, we were working as, as, I mean, we, we took, um, precautions and, and, and, and, and so on. But, um, but we didn't close. And, uh, and I think it was the right decision because, um, uh, I'm not sure that that the closure really helped in, in, in any way. I think it did more harm.
Speaker 0 00:43:01 It definitely did more harm. I mean, all of the evidence is that, um, schools and universities and being active and not hiding, you know, in a closed space, uh, that trying to, particularly for young people that have just a absolute negligible if they are, you know, don't have some serious diabetes or another underlying, uh, conditions. So, um, and I think that there were all too few who, who showed not just a clarity, not just sort of a perspective, right? I like to say you can't be objective if you don't have perspective, but also just a courage, right? That there were, there was such an overwhelming pressure, at least again, in the United States, to obey, to not question, don't question the science. And, um, and, and far too few, few, and particularly even very disappointingly, even in the so-called liberty space, that so many just bought into the fear and panic, and maybe their donors were fearful and panicking.
Speaker 0 00:44:15 And so they felt they had to kind of, uh, cater to, to those fears rather than taking a stand, being courageous and having integrity and rejecting government bailout. So, um, so yeah. So the experience for, for, for, for Mexico, as you said, was, was pretty dire. And do you still feel like, I kind of feel here in the United States that we haven't learned lessons that, that we have a federal government that still finds that they don't want to, you know, it's, it's like that, that ring in, uh, in Lord of the Rings that the, they, they don't quite want to let go of the ring and, and the power and the control that it afforded 'em, they can say, we do elections this way and not that way. We have to change the rules because people are going to die. Uh, we have to pay off our friends at the teacher's unions and do this with the schools. And it just, I mean, I think there was a lot of corruption actually, that, that went on.
Speaker 1 00:45:20 If I may share two terrible things that happened here in Mexico, and one thing that was good, uh, other two things that were terrible. First, they closed schools for almost two years. So, you know, private schools could, I mean, they got into, uh, zoom meetings or, or, or LMSs or, I mean, they could somehow kept, um, some learning process.
Speaker 0 00:45:51 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:45:52 But most of the children in Mexico, that they don't have computers, they don't have internet. They lost
Speaker 0 00:45:59 Two years, two years
Speaker 1 00:46:00 Of education. That's, that's, I mean, we have not even, uh, know how the cost of that would be in terms of a whole generation getting really behind in terms of their, their, their learning processes. The second one is that the government decided that they were the ones who were gonna vaccinate us. So you could not go and buy in, in, in, in a pharmacy, in a drugstore. You could not go and, and get vaccinated, like, like in the us and in the US You could go to a Walmart or, or c v s or anywhere, and you could get vaccinated in Mexico. You had to wait for the government to have the vaccines and to, uh, concentrate you in, in huge, uh, venues by, by the first letter of your, uh, last name. I mean, it was, it was a very
Speaker 0 00:46:51 Orwellian crazy, and not even focusing on, you know, well, let's just fax vaccinate the, the elderly and, and the, uh, infirm people that, that really need it. They just do it by the phone book <laugh>. That's
Speaker 1 00:47:07 Crazy. So the, the vaccination process was slow, uh, was difficult, um, was scary because they would get, I mean, thousands and thousands of people in a room waiting to get vaccinated. I mean, it was, it was a terrible process. But, but that was a good thing. Uh, in terms of what happened in other countries, we did not, I mean, the government did not issue debt and did not, uh, give money away to businesses.
Speaker 0 00:47:34 Interesting.
Speaker 1 00:47:34 Yeah. So, um, that really looks good in our balance sheet. Uh, Mexico's debt has not grown. Uh, our macroeconomic indicators are, are very solid. So that's something that they did okay. Uh, although they, there was a lot of pressure for a lot of businesses, wanted to get some, because a lot of businesses went broke. Um,
Speaker 0 00:48:00 Right. Yeah. You can't, you can't, uh, can't open, you can't survive close. The restaurants say you can only have this many people. I mean, the government, it's just
Speaker 1 00:48:14 Did not that and did not print more money. So that was, that was a good thing in terms of our, our economy.
Speaker 0 00:48:20 And I like it, you know, it's important to try to find things that, and not just catastrophize and say everything was bad. And I agree that in some ways, uh, what the government did in terms of shutting everything down, I mean, the way some people tried to respond, um, with innovation and finding other ways to try to maintain the human connection or try to keep things going and, and there was a certain acceleration of certain kinds of technologies and, and that was a good thing. Just wish it had been under other circumstances. All right. We have, uh, about 10 minutes left, and we've got some spicy questions, uh, here. So, uh, we will hold on one of those spicy ones and get to a more practical brass tax one again, from my modern gult, um, who says, college tuition is very expensive in the uni in the us How is Uni University Dad de la Libertad going to keep things affordable, but also, I'm assuming, are you guys a nonprofit or you you have to make money somehow?
Speaker 1 00:49:28 Yeah, we, we are nonprofits, but we eventually will have to balance our, our expenditures, uh, right. We are the most expensive business program in, in, in, in Mexico City, probably in, in the whole country because of our model. Our groups are small. Uh, the biggest group is 20 students per group. Wow. We have facilitators, tutors, mentors, um, uh, speakers. Um, our campus is, is we have, we work in this platform forum from inva. Uh, there's a lot of technology involved, so it's an expensive operation. Mm-hmm. But the good news is that we have a very solid financial aid program. So, um, we have out of 97 students, only three of them are not receiving any kind of financial aid. Um, so 94 of them are receiving some kind of financial aid, and around 22 or 23 of them are fully, um, uh,
Speaker 0 00:50:37 Full, right,
Speaker 1 00:50:38 Full scholarship. Uh, so we have discounts, we have scholarships, and we have this program by which, um, students go and have internships in, in group of salinas's, uh, companies. So, uh, they can get a 15% discount on their, on their, um, tuition. And then the companies, the companies pay us the university for their internship. So that's a discount for them, but it's an income for the university and, and they get to go interesting work for the, for the companies. So yeah, if, if, if there's a student that has a character and, uh, to be at this university, um, uh, economics will not be a problem for him to study at university.
Speaker 0 00:51:24 All right. As promised, here's the spicy one. Wyatt five 16 on YouTube asks thoughts on Argentina's. Malay.
Speaker 1 00:51:34 Wow. That's, that's a spicy <laugh>
Speaker 0 00:51:37 <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:51:38 I think it's, uh, I think nobody knows what's gonna happen. Uh, I think it's a, it's a big question mark. Uh, there's some, um, some things that he has said that I think are completely wrong, but, um, there are other things that he has said that I hope Argentina finally ends this socialist, uh, uh, uh, uh, um, time that programs,
Speaker 0 00:52:04 Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:52:04 Yeah. Program. Um, finally it is been like 20 or 25 years of socialism, uh, that has not worked or given any good things for their continues. So I hope, uh, they, they start building a new path towards a liberal democracy. Um, and I hope reality, um, you know, hits melee and, and, and he doesn't do crazy things like some of the ones he just,
Speaker 0 00:52:31 Some of his antics. Yeah. All right. Um, Anne Am on YouTube asks, is the liberty movement growing in Central America? I don't know. Looks, from what I see, it seems like things are going backwards, but again, maybe you have a different perspective.
Speaker 1 00:52:50 The, the what movement? I didn't,
Speaker 0 00:52:52 The liberty movement. So, you know, you talked about Argentina, uh, being on this socialist path, and then we have Bolivia and other, um, Chile, other countries seeming to say, oh, yeah, that sounds great. Let's, let's do more socialism, please.
Speaker 1 00:53:10 I think, um, I think we, we have to face, uh, a reality. Um, I think the, the, the narrative, uh, around, um, inequality is, is hitting very hard on, on liberal principles. And I think we as liberals have not been able to create and to explain, uh, inequality in, in, in, in, in, in the terms that we understand them. I mean, we, I think we have to, to do a, a greater effort to talk about inequality in, in a more, uh, comprehensive way. Because I think all this socialism, uh, that's, uh, driving all around our continent has to do with, with inequalities. Uh, and, and they, it's very easy to say the market is responsible for those inequalities. So we have to tax more and to give out to the poor to reach, um, better levels of quality. And that's a very powerful narrative, um, mm-hmm. <affirmative> in countries when you see these huge, uh, uh, differences between social classes, you know, uh, we all know that Latin America is the most, um, inequality, uh, continent, um, or subcontinent in the world. So, um, I think that's, that's healing, and that's what, in my opinion, that's why, what explains all these, um, socialist governments that, um, I mean the what all what they talk about final is, is about inequality and, and, and they offer to, to, to get a, to level up the, the, you know, the
Speaker 0 00:55:05 Or level down more likely. Yeah. Uh, well, no, I think, and, and that strikes a nerve. And, and that's when I spoke about what I'll be talking about at, uh, U F M next week, putting the capital back in capitalism, because it starts with looking at the, uh, inequality. And so, uh, you know, I, I think people think that people who are billionaires or who have a amassed enormous wealth, that they're just, you know, like, uh, that Scrooge McDuck, that old cartoon character that they're just skiing down mountains of of money, um, and they're just spending it on luxuries. But in fact, what I see, um, aside from the fact that, uh, the, uh, the people who have, uh, made tremendous financial success through business, that they're extremely philanthropic, but equally, if not more importantly, they are the seeds for all of the progress of tomorrow by putting capital.
Speaker 0 00:56:20 All of these startups that I have a crazy idea for, um, an electric car, I have an idea for a flying, uh, car, I have an idea for making, you know, desalination, what have you, that they come from somewhere. And if you say, you know what, I'm not gonna be able to put money into these, and by, by the way, take a risk because 70% of all of these startups fail. So I'm, I'm not gonna be able to invest in your company with only a 30% chance of making a return because the government is going to take that because it's abolishing inequality and it's going to just put it out there. And we keep a, keep a fair <laugh> cut for themselves in the process, but it's just, uh, it's just the way down and it, and it doesn't work. So I think you've really hit upon something.
Speaker 0 00:57:16 And again, I think that Ayin Rand has a really important answer to that. Okay. So everyone, uh, Jackson Sinclair and Cal Vian Habian, and, uh, the rest of you, Malcolm Holmes. Um, I see a lot of great questions here, but guess what, folks, we have three minutes left. So we've had such a wonderful time, time has flown, and we're almost at the top of the hour. So I want to, uh, ask our guest, uh, Jorge, if you have any final thoughts or things that we didn't cover that you'd like to share with this audience. Well,
Speaker 1 00:57:55 Uh, I think, um, time is the most valuable assets, uh, we have. And, um, I think we have to, uh, work harder, Jennifer, in terms of, um, constructing these new narratives in terms of why freedom and liberty are the way to, to generating much more prosperity, and we have to fight back. Um, and, and I think that's, that's why <inaudible> really wants to work, um, with you, with, um, of, of course, Atlas is a reference for us. Um, and I hope we can host, uh, uh, an important event, uh, for you here in Mexico City as soon as as possible. Um, and thank you very much. I really appreciated this opportunity to reach out and, and for you all to get to know a new project, um, funded by a person who's com completely committed with, with freedom and with liberty.
Speaker 0 00:58:58 He truly is a modern day John Gault, and we're grateful that Ricardo Salinas is not shrugging, but uh, in fact is helping to turn things around and, uh, can often be just one extraordinary and visionary individual and the people that he gathers around him and he chooses on his team that can change the course of history. And I think that's actually what we're witnessing right now with this extraordinary venture of the Univer de Libertad in Mexico City. I'm so excited to, to visit, and, um, I just, I don't know if, uh, my trustees will let me because, uh, who knows, I might never, uh, come back. <laugh> decide to stay with you. So thank you, Jorge, and I wanna thank, uh, all of you who have joined us today. Um, if you enjoyed this video, if you enjoy the work of the Atla Society, if you're not, uh, the kind of person that walks by and, uh, takes but doesn't give, then go ahead.
Speaker 0 01:00:04 Um, consider making a tax deductible donation to the Atlas Society. Uh, it will be matched by our trustees, and most importantly, everyone, three weeks minus one day, it is counting down. I'm going to be in Miami where we are honoring Ricardo Salinas. Uh, this is gonna be an extraordinary event. Uh, Michael Sailor is going to be presenting the award, and of course, Akira the Dunn is going to be, um, premiering this great new meaning wave tribute to Ayne Rand. So we hope to see you there and, uh, we'll see you again next week as well. Take care.