In Memoriam: Daniel Doron, Israeli Champion of Free Market Ideas
Daniel Doron, the famous Israeli free-market thinker and last year’s recipient of The Heritage Foundation’s inaugural Steven M. Sass Prize for Economic Freedom, died Feb. 28 at the age of 92.
The annual Economic Freedom Award was created specifically to recognize individuals and organizations that promote free market principles.
Indeed, throughout his career promoting policies of economic freedom and entrepreneurship, Doron has been a leading voice in promoting market-oriented reform of the Israeli economy for more than 60 years. .
He founded the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress in 1983. The center, an independent, pro-market think tank, has been the most influential advocate of economic freedom since its founding.
In remarks from 2009 that are as relevant today as they were then, Doron explained why he fights for economic freedom:
Since the recent financial crisis, we have heard many voices claiming that it reveals that the market economy is deeply flawed; that the “invisible hand” can no longer be invoked to promote economic well-being; and that we must therefore resort more and more, for the correction of its putative faults, to the too visible hand of regulation; namely, government.
The powerful lessons we learned in Israel point in the opposite direction. They teach that government control and regulation aggravates rather than solves problems.
They also point out that globalization, that is to say the improvement of world trade, also under attack, has been very beneficial precisely for developing countries.
Doron further noted:
But above all, we have learned in Israel that free and prosperous markets are the most powerful incentive for peace, not just peace on paper signed by politicians, but [also] a real peace between peoples who recognize the benefits of peace when it is based on the mutual interests of peoples and on the mutual cooperation that it engenders.
Over the past few decades, Israel has risen to the ranks of countries whose economies are “mostly free,” according to The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, a policy guide that tracks free-market policies and economics. economic governance of nations around the world.
Specifically, Israel’s openness to global trade has been an important factor in promoting innovation and productivity growth. The relatively strong judicial framework that supports the rule of law and provides consistent protection of property rights has also contributed to economic stability and long-term competitiveness.
Israel’s small but capable economy has charted an upward trajectory of economic freedom over the past 26 years. Israel strives to be a growing nation, and more market-based reforms will facilitate its progress towards greater economic freedom and entrepreneurial dynamism.
Much of this progress stems from the efforts of principled free market thinkers and freedom advocates, such as Doron.
As the late Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman once pointed out, “Daniel Doron has always been perhaps the most effective proponent of a strictly free-market approach in Israel.”
Indeed, Friedman’s insightful observation about Doron was welcomed by many. We at The Heritage Foundation were honored to have the opportunity to recognize Doron’s remarkable achievements during his lifetime of service in promoting economic freedom through Heritage’s Sass Economic Freedom Award.
In a lecture at the Heritage Foundation in 1991, Doron pointed out:
Educating people to function in a market economy is a long and arduous process, but there are no shortcuts. It is the task of the reformer not to knock their opponents over their heads, but to educate them patiently, to convince them that, through individual liberty and free markets, their aspiration for a better life can be realized sooner, more peacefully and even more justly.
Indeed, Doron’s insightful words still ring true and remain even more relevant today.
Rest in peace Daniel Doron.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal