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Ethical Foundations
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Young People's Forum

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3128 Pacific Coast Highway, or P. O. Box 1475 Torrance, California 90505


The Polish-American Foundation
for Economic Research and Education
"Pro Publico Bono"

" 'Thou Shalt Not Steal!' in the broadest sense of this injunction is the fundamental and most important economic imperative. Compliance with it by governments, as well as by those governed, is the main condition for optimum economic progress and for prosperity."

John (Jan) M. Małek


Why We Were Founded

Polish immigrants to America and their descendants have created various charitable foundations. Some are dedicated to helping the sick, disabled, children and elderly. Still others have been promoting the arts and culture, establishing memorials, sponsoring research, or providing grants to financially needy students.

As far as we know, until recently no Polish-American foundation existed whose mission would be to promote basic economic knowledge. This knowledge is generally lacking among members of the Polish-American ethnic community. In Poland, the situation is worse. Even well-educated individuals demonstrate a weak understanding of economics. Feliks Koneczny, a well-known Polish historian-philosopher and professor at Wilno University in the 1930's, once wrote that "The Polish intelligentsia has usually a better general comprehensive education than the intelligentsia in other countries, with the exception that, as a rule, it lacks the knowledge of economics, and, consequently, is …'terribly one-sided'". He then concluded that such a state of affairs constitutes a threat to the nation's independence.

Since World War II, the situation in Poland has deteriorated much further. The forty-five year reign of Communism, with its indoctrination of the citizenry in Marxist ideology, has led to a general ignorance of basic economic principles, and has left persistent beliefs in various discredited economic fallacies of Socialism, among all social classes and age groups.

One might ask, why is it important to learn the basic underpinnings of economics?

The largest part of human activity is economic in nature, because it is directed toward the improvement of material welfare. Thus, the ignorance of basic economics while accepting, as true, various myths pertaining to economic matters, impedes prosperity, causing citizens and the government to undertake actions whose results are often contrary to their intended goals, and bring harm to the national economy, with ensuing unemployment and other social misfortunes.

From the above immerged the idea to establish a Foundation for propagating and popularizing the knowledge of basic economics among the Polish and Polish-American communities.

About the Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Polish-American Foundation for Economic Research and Education `Pro Publico Bono' (PAFERE) is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt educational and research organization dedicated to helping Polish-Americans and Polish-speaking people of Eastern and Central Europe gain a better understanding of economics.

PAFERE centers its work on subjects related to economics, by: a) propagating a better understanding of mechanisms, phenomena and laws that govern the economy, b) unmasking false myths and deceitful slogans, while proposing alternatives enlightened by economic facts and principles, c) explaining the role of moral issues, freedom, individual responsibility, market order, and limited government under rule of law in reducing economic problems such as unemployment and poverty, and in allowing the achievement of a better quality of life.

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Message from the President

The recognition of basic economic truths and principles is essential in avoiding major economic problems that give rise to poverty It is the first step that shows the right path to prosperity. I believe that a careful reflection on the following ideas can help us reach this understanding:

1) People are creative beings who commit themselves to productive activities such as work to improve their quality of life. In order to preclude unemployment and misery, nobody should restrict the freedom of another person in pursuing such activities, as long as the latter do not constitute a threat to somebody else's life, property, or right to conduct similar activities.

2) People are social beings. Their interaction manifests itself in the mutual exchange of goods that benefit and enrich those involved in that exchange. Thus, trade is a major source of improvement of the human condition. Whoever denies others the freedom and right to such exchange harms them by promoting unemployment and poverty.

3) People are rational beings. Scarcity of means and resources which service their needs, motivate people to manage effectively and economically. the means and resources they own. Thus, they try to purchase at the lowest price, and to sell at the highest. The law of supply and demand reflects this behavior. Violations of that law, by wage, rent, or price controls, lead to unemployment and other social problems.

4) Whenever human beings are deprived of the fruits of their labor, as manifested in their private property, they lose incentive to engage in productive activity. The protection and security of property rights is essential for people to invest their time, energy, and assets in the creation of wealth. On the other hand, theft and disrespect of property rights assures general poverty.

May eveyone thus conclude that the commandment "Thou Shalt Not Steal" has more than just a moral and religious meaning! In its broadest sense, it constitutes the main economic imperative. In fact, all the above truths and principles are implied by that injunction.

Programs

The Foundation sponsors various types of charitable, educational and scientific activities. They include, but are not limited to:

a) Sponsoring publications and/or translations of essays, articles and books about economic freedom. Within this part of the program, before and after the official founding of PAFERE, 16 books and over 50 articles have been published in Polish (up to June 2002).

b) Distributing market-oriented material to the Polish community and media;

c) Conducting research on current economic problems and proposing market-based solutions;

d) Sponsoring contests proposing solutions to socio-economic problems;

e) Hosting conferences, seminars, and roundtable discussions pertaining to the impact of economics on the quality of life;

f) Awarding grants to organizations or individuals who conduct activities in accordance with the goals of the Foundation.

g) Sponsoring a WEB site (www.kapitalizm.republika.pl) to facilitate exchange of information and to promote public communication on matters pertaining to the Foundation's goals..

Your Tax Exemption

The Polish-American Foundation for Economic Research and Education `Pro Publico Bono' is a private, non-profit educational and research organization that depends on the generosity of its donors: individuals, foundations, and corporations alike, who share its commitment to advancing liberty and prosperity.

The Foundation does not accept government funding.

Since the Foundation is a tax-exempt entity under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service, donations by American tax payers are tax deductible.

In addition to accepting donations for general operations, the Foundation will honor a donor's intent to finance specific projects.

If you wish to help in reaching the goals specified by PAFERE, please send your donation check to the address below.


Directors, Advisors

John (Jan) M. Małek, Founder and President (USA)
Wojciech Kolasiński, Ph.D., Vice-President (USA)
G. J. Narbut, Treasurer (USA)
Chris (Krzysztof) M. Zawitkowski, Secretary (USA and Poland)
Stanisław Michalkiewicz, Hon. Vice-President (Poland)
Paweł Sztąberek, Board Correspondent (Poland)
Prof. Andrzej Brzeski, Hon. Advisor (USA)
Alejandro A. Chafuen, Ph.D., Hon. Advisor (USA)
Zbigniew Zarywski, Hon. Advisor (Poland)




Polish version



Address of the Foundation
3128 Pacific Coast Highway, or P. O. Box 1475
Torrance, California 90505
Fax: 310-544-4423
E-mail: pafere@cox.net