On October 20, members of the ISET community attended a guest lecture on international taxation from Ms. Femke van der Zeijden from PricewaterhouseCoopers Netherlands’ office. Ms. Zeijdenhas introduced issues of international taxation from legal perspective. This was particularly useful and interesting for the audience as it primarily consisted of economists, for whom the legal aspects and problems of different taxation policies are not well known.

Ms. Zeijden tailored her lecture to show the challenges in international taxation coming from development of information technologies. Specifically, the lecture touched upon the following four important directions which present the most significant challenges: (i) Globalization, (ii) Digitalization, (iii) Transparency and (iv) Multinational corporations.

In the world of the 21st century, the number of people living without electricity in their homes is 1.3 billion. Even among those who have access, many do not own basic assets such as refrigerators, motorized transport, or washing machines. However, it is anticipated that over the next several decades, wide-scale poverty alleviation programs, as well as continued economic growth, will lift the incomes of many of the world’s poor. As incomes increase, families formerly living in poverty will for the first-time purchase energy-using assets.

How will the global demand for energy rise as a consequence? To answer that question, Dr. Alan Fuchs, Senior Economist in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice of the World Bank, made a presentation at ISET on October 5th.

On September 7, ISET hosted the president and executive chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute, Dr. Yaron Brook, for a presentation. The topic of the presentation was Free Speech and The Battle for Western Culture. During the presentation, Dr. Brook explained why and in what ways free speech is under attack and why it is important to defend this fundamental right.

At the beginning of the presentation, Dr. Brook highlighted that free speech is a core value of civilization, and is what Western civilization stands for. One of the most important events in the history of civilization was the adoption of the Declaration of Human Rights, the first political document that recognizes human rights. However, he claimed that there has been years is an obvious restriction of free speech in recent years: Newspapers cannot publish cartoons relevant to the news, just because they fear violent reprisals; Dr. Brook also claimed there were even greater restrictions of free speech at universities, which cannot invite speakers if the guests do not hold common political views.

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