We often think of Belarus as being an authoritarian dictatorship. And it is. But there is some good news. Jon Basil Utley, associate publisher of The American Conservative, recently returned from Belarus and reports on some positive signs. While the government still owns and runs a large segment of the economy, Belarus ranks twelfth in the world for the ease of starting a business. Austria, by contrast, ranks a dismal 106th. And while President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has a bad habit of jailing political opponents, they tend to be released quickly.
Utley also notes some progress in separation from Russian foreign policy:
Belarus has become more independent of Russia since the Ukrainian conflict, rejected Moscow’s plans to establish a new airbase on its territory, and refused to join Russia’s trade war with Ukraine.
Things can’t be all bad in a country that has a Liberal Institute, where that name is used correctly to refer to classical liberalism, that has an event in a hall called the "John Galt Club."
David R. Henderson is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution and an associate professor of economics in the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is author of The Joy of Freedom: An Economist’s Odyssey and co-author, with Charles L. Hooper, of Making Great Decisions in Business and Life. His latest book is The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. He has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, the Jim Lehrer Newshour, CNN, and C-SPAN. He has had over 100 articles published in Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, Red Herring, Barron’s, National Review, Reason, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Christian Science Monitor. He has also testified before the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. He is an occasional columnist at Antiwar.com. Visit his Web site.