The Center adds economist

Malawi-born Martha Njolomole joins the staff of Center of the American Experiment.

In October, Center of the American Experiment deepened its focus on economic research and analysis by adding economist Martha Njolomole to its policy staff. Njolomole earned a Master of Arts in economics at Troy University in Alabama, where she worked as a research assistant on several projects that advanced the ideas of economic freedom and individual liberty.

Her upbringing in Malawi, a developing country, shaped her passion for researching the social and economic advancement of economically disadvantaged people. Her primary research interests include public policy, political economy, institutions, and development. Njolomole’s recent work includes analyzing the impact of microfinance on entrepreneurship, proposing policy prescriptions for institutional reform in developing nations, and examining legislative proposals to measure their impact on economic freedom in the United States.

Njolomole says her initial plans were for government service, but her undergraduate and graduate studies at Troy University introduced her to how free markets lead to efficiency. The Austrian school of economics, especially the concepts of Friedrich Hayek on economic development, was of particular interest.

“I ultimately discovered that the presence and protection of free markets—not the government—lead to social and economic advancement,” she says.

“I had previously thought the government was the solution to all economic problems. But the more I understood economics, the more I realized that governments do little else but hinder solutions to society’s fundamental problems.”

Growing up in a welfare-state society, she observed that few institutions exist to ensure the existence and protection of individual and economic liberty. Relatively unprotected land ownership rights limited people to farming or using land for shelter. A heavy regulatory burden on small businesses—especially startups— gave entrepreneurs little formal legal protection.

“The end result was stagnant or declining economic development and persistent poverty,” she says. “Every parcel of land, every building and every piece of equipment in this country is accounted for and can be exchanged with a click of a button,” she continues. “I appreciate the role of free markets because I have experienced what their absence means. It is important to preserve our free market system because it is essential for the continued existence and growth of America’s successful society.”

Her studies have shown Njolomole that a society’s level of advancement derives from how it allocates its resources. “And the market, through the signaling role of prices, is the only way to allocate resources efficiently,” she says. “In essence, we need the market to convey information on the best ways for scarce resources to be invested for maximum benefit. And we need liberty for the market to succeed, because we are not omniscient.”

Wolf Joins Communications Team

Melissa Wolf is Center of the American Experiment’s new communications specialist. Wolf graduated from St. Catherine University with a B.A. in political science and history and kickstarted her career building grassroots support for gubernatorial and legislative campaigns. She now has nearly a decade of political experience, including work in the Minnesota State Senate and lobbying Congress.