13. Gottfried-von-Haberler-Konferenz 2017

haberler conference 2017

Am vergangenen Freitag fand in Vaduz (Liechtenstein) die XIII. Internationale Gottfried von Haberler-Konferenz statt. Sie stand unter dem Motto: “The Economics and Politics of Interventionism. Wenn Bürokraten Unternehmehmer spielen.” Wir veröffentlichen an dieser Stelle die gehaltenen Vorträge von Konferenzteilnehmern, beginnend mit Beat Kappelers Dinner-Rede. Klicken Sie auf den Namen des Autors.

Beat Kappeler Dinner-Rede
Joachim Starbatty Über den Missbrauch der Geldpolitik
Johan Norberg Subsidies: When Free Comes at a High Cost
Carlos A. Gebauer Plurimae leges, summa iniuria
Terry L. Anderson On Environmental Regulations, Private Property and Free Markets
Erich Weede Wieviel Umverteilung verträgt die Demokratie
Karl-Peter Schwarz Lügenpresse?

10th International Vernon Smith Prize

Vernon Smith Prize 2016 Call for Papers
Does Tolerance become a crime when applied to evil? Vernon Smith Prize 2017.

Call for Papers!

The 10th International Vernon Smith Prize for the Advancement of Austrian Economics is an essay competition sponsored and organized by ECAEF European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation, Vaduz (Principality of Liechtenstein). This years’ topic:

Does Tolerance become a Crime when applied to Evil?

|- First Prize EUR 4,000 -|

|- Second Prize EUR 3,000 -|

|- Third Prize EUR 2,000 -|

Does Tolerance become a crime when applied to evil? Advanced by the ‘ends-independent’ market process, free pluralistic societies developed without a shared hierarchy of particular ends. Once we agree on the rules, we need not agree on the goals as markets enable us to disagree peacefully while we pursue our own way. However, to sustain this kind of ’means- but not ‘ends-connected’ society, we must be willing to tolerate differences with others and we have to recognize that our freedom to achieve our ends comes at the cost of allowing others the same, even if we find those ends distasteful.

ECAEF invites papers on this topic which meet the following requirements:

1: Entries may be submitted by individuals of up to 30 years (in 2017).

2: Entries may not exceed 12 pages; 1.5 spacing; left/right margins no less then 1 inch; full bibliography and a 1/2 page summary (abstract) must be included.

3: Entries must be submitted in English in electronic form (PDF) to and must include an abbreviated CV, featuring DoB, education, and current position.

4: Entries must be received on or before November 11, 2017.

5. It is mandatory that all prize winners participate in the award ceremony in Vaduz Prizes are not transferable and will be awarded on the basis of originality, grasp of subject, and the logical consistence of the argument.

Essays will be judged by an international jury and the winners will be invited to present their papers at a special event in Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein, in February, 2018. First Prize €4,000 – Second Prize €3,000 – Third Prize €2,000.

Jacques Rueff Conference, Monaco 2017

2nd Jacques Rueff Conference, Monaco
Jacques Rueff (1896-1973) 7th Minister of State of Monaco

“We shall all be the gainers if we can create a world fit for small states to live in.” Friedrich A. von Hayek

Conference Topic:

A Case for Europe’s Small States
in the III. Millennium

The II. International Jacques Rueff Conference is an academic one-day co-operation of CEPROM (Center of Economic Research for Monaco, MC) and ECAEF (European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation, FL).

Academic Director:  Kurt R. Leube, ECAEF
Administrative Director:  Emanuel Falco, CEPROM
Media Contacts: Nicolas Saussier, CEPROM
Conference Date: November 22, 2017
Participation: by invitation only
Location: Musee Oceanographique de Monaco, Principality of Monaco
Conference Languages: English and French; simultaneous translation

Conference Venue:
Opening Dinner at the Hotel Hermitage in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II. for invited guests and speakers only, Nov. 21, 2017. Dinner speaker: Detmar Doering (D)

Conference Program:
09:00-9:30  Registration
09:30-9:45  Welcome by H.S.H. Prince Albert II and H.S.H. Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

Session I:
Historical Reflections and Current Challenges (9:45-12:15)
09:45-10:00  Chair: Detmar Doering (D)

10:00-10:30  ‘Small, Sovereign and Resilient: Lessons from the not-so wild Wild West’ – Terry L. Anderson (USA)
10:30-10:45  Discussion
10:45-11:15  Coffee break
11:15-11:45  ‘Decentralization, Subsidiarity, Secession: States in Knowledge-Based Societies ‘ – Karl Peter Schwarz (A)
11:45-12:00  Discussion

12:00-14:00  Luncheon for speakers and invited guests

Session II:
On the Benefits and Drawbacks for Small States (14:00-15:45)
14:00-14:15  Chair: Peter Fischer (CH)
14:15-14:45  ‘Is Small Still Beautiful? A Swiss Perspective’ – Henrique Schneider (CH)
14:45-15:00  Discussion
15:00-15:30  ‘Limited Places offer Unlimited Thoughts’ – Carlos Gebauer (D)
15:30-15:45  Discussion
15:45-16:15  Coffee break

Session III:
A Case for Small States in the III. Millennium (16:15-18:20)
16:15-16:30  Chair: H.S.H. Prince Michael of Liechtenstein (LI)
16:30-17:00  ‘Reflections on Smallness’ – Antonio Martino (I)
17:00-18:15  Panel discussion: Anderson, Gebauer, Schneider, Schwarz, Martino
18:15-18:20  Farewell Remarks: Kurt R. Leube (A/USA)

18:30-19:30  Farewell Reception at the Palace for speakers and invited guests, hosted by H.S.H. Prince Albert II.

Semantic Traps: Politics with Loaded Terms

A Seminar for Scholars, Journalists and Entrepreneurs


«If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.» George Orwell

Date: June 15, 2017
Location: Unitelma Sapienza Campus, Rome, Italy
Admission: free
Language: simultaneous Italian/English translation, both ways
Literature/Documents: Relevant literature (reader, short essays, …) will be supplied ahead of seminar
Academic Directors:
Francesco Avallone, UTS (I) and Kurt R. Leube, LAF (USA/A)
Program Directors:
Piergiuseppe Morone, UTS (I) and Hans R. Maag, LAF (LI/CH)

An Academic Co-operation between Unitelma Sapienza (Rome, I) and Liechtenstein Academy Foundation – LAF (Vaduz, LI)


«When words lose their meaning, people will lose their liberty.» Confucius, 551-479 BC

The Social Sciences, more then other academic disciplines are regretfully exposed to the fades and superstitions of the fast moving popular Zeitgeist and are thus liable to the periodic introduction of appealing yet empty slogans that undermine well defined terms. As a result, many of them have assumed quite different meanings or, maybe deliberately, have even taken on undertones that suggest something detrimental to what we want to get across.
Have you ever wondered whether the pervasive catchword public interest indeed serves the public’s interest? Or why was global warming replaced with the vacuous phrase climate change that sadly shifted the debate away from scientific methodology where hypotheses can be refuted? Or did you realize that time and again the term justice is substituted with the phrase social justice that not only renders it utterly meaningless. This narcotic phrase also assumed a meaning close to revenge which gravely denigrates the ‘rule of law’. The frequent placing of the simple yet hollow word social in front of commonly used terms produces an almost endless list of corrupting phrases.

The persistent confusion of reality and fiction thus creates politically risky ‘semantic traps’ that not only seriously hamper any political discussion. It has grave implications for democracy, the proper role of government, or for the preservation of our civil rights and individual freedom. As George Orwell observed: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought”.

The goal of this one-day conference is not only to explore a wide range of issues where semantics condition policy debates, to examine how terms evolve in ways that completely undermine, and at times even alter the very foundations of a free and democratic society, and to discuss how ‘Semantic Traps’ might be avoided. Put differently, we aim at a better understanding of hollow yet catchy words, trendy slogans and appealing phrases in public policy debates.

However, co-sponsored by Unitelma Sapienza (Rome, I) and the Liechtenstein Academy Foundation (Vaduz, LI) this endeavor serves also as the kick off for an academic partnership between these institutions to offer the innovative online MA course “Understanding How Society Works. An Introduction to the Austrian School of Economics”.

Seminar Program, Thursday, June 15, 2017

08:30 – 09:00  Registration at Unitelma Sapienza Campus, Rome
09:00 – 09:15  Welcome by Francesco Avallone, Rector, Unitelma Sapienza University of Rome, and Hans R. Maag, Director, Liechtenstein Academy
09:15 – 09:30  About the Idea and the Intent of this Conference.
Kurt R. Leube

Session I: On the ‘Public Interest’, the so-called ‘newspeak’ and the Meaning of ‘Green’ (9:30 -11:30)
Chair: Piergiuseppe Morone
09:30-10:00  «Is the ‘Public Interest’ really in the Public’s Interest?»
Carlos Gebauer
10:00-10:10  Discussion
10:10-10:40  «Values and Rights: The Semantic Traps in Worn-out European Newspeak»
Karl Peter Schwarz
10:40-10:50  Discussion
10:50-11:20  «What is the Meaning of Green? The new Standardization Trap in the Bioeconomy»
Knut Blinde
11:20-11:30  Discussion

11:30-11:40  Coffee Break

Session II: Immigration and Political Rhetoric (11:40-13:00)
Chair: Piergiuseppe Morone
11:40-12:10  «Immigration, Migration, Emigration, or Else?»
Maria Grazia Galantino
12:10-12:20  Discussion
12:20-12:50  «Making Populism Mainstream: Political Rhetoric During Campaigns»
Nicolò Conti
12:50-13:00  Discussion

13:00-14:00  Buffet Luncheon for all participants at seminar site

14:00-15:00  Panel (Blind, Conti, Galantino, Schwarz) – Discussion leader: Carlos Gebauer

Populists, demagogues and the French elections

GIS statement by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

The National Front’s lead in France’s election campaign has once again put the spotlight on populism. “Populism” has become a buzzword that is increasingly used as a negative label meant to discredit non-mainstream movements and kill any substantive discussion about the merits of their proposals.

Such methods are intellectually arrogant. They imply a disrespect for voters’ judgment and therefore contradict the idea of democracy. Populism is, in fact, an ingredient of any functioning democracy, though it needs to be reined in by a system of checks and balances. It is only when populism becomes demagoguery that it turns dangerous.

Such damaging demagoguery can be seen in the discussion about equality. It targets envy and leads to a totalitarian culture. Men are unequal by nature: this is the biggest driver and strength of mankind, while love – man’s most noble characteristic – is also only possible in accepting inequality. Inequality does not mean that we must see others as better or worse, but it does entail an acceptance of the individuality of other people, families and social groups. Since equality is deeply against human nature, a society that denies inequality can only be totalitarian.

Read the full GIS statement here ->
Populists, demagogues and the French elections

The day Europe goes bankrupt

GIS Statement by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

Behavioral scientists have observed that man as a species has developed an ability to ignore threatening or negative information. We tend not to look closely at bank statements showing debt or disturbing results of medical tests. Surprisingly, people with higher IQs are even more prone to this mental displacement than the less gifted. Such behavior could be called the ostrich principle. This does a serious injustice to the ostrich, which as any zoologist will confirm, does not stick its head in the sand when danger looms.

So with apologies to ostriches, we will still use this term to describe the shocking and nearly universal ignorance of the problem of Implicit Pension Debt.

By Implicit Pension Debt (IPD), we understand pension obligations that governments, including regional and local authorities, have incurred toward current and future pensioners. Most tax and accounting codes require companies to report such implicit debts on the liability side of the ledger as obligations. Not so with governments, whose accounting practices would under normal circumstances be considered as falsifying public accounts.
Six European countries have an implied pension debt exceeding 300 percent of GDP

One of the Maastricht Treaty criteria for adherence to the euro stipulates that public debt should not exceed 60 percent of gross domestic product. Anything above that level – and this is borne out by empirical data – is detrimental to sustainable economic development. Unfortunately, official figures already show the average debt-to-GDP ratio in the eurozone hovering close to 90 percent. Germany is also breaking the rules with a ratio of about 70 percent.

Read the original GIS statement here ->
Opinion: The day Europe goes bankrupt

Trumponomics is worth a second look

GIS Statement by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

The public perception of President Donald Trump’s economic program is that it is a chaotic mix of protectionist measures, tax relief for rich people, uncoordinated increases in infrastructure spending and antisocial cuts in healthcare benefits. However, it may be worth taking a closer look at the administration’s agenda before jumping to premature conclusions.

Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan

The United States, along with Europe, has a long track record of Keynesian overspending. This means that the present administration is saddled with a difficult economic, financial and fiscal legacy.
The biggest public focus is now on claims of protectionism. But the mantra of the present administration is not against free trade per se, but against the unfair practices of some U.S. trading partners. Obviously, it would be best for the world to have an unrestricted global exchange of goods and services. Realistically, however, every country will have its restrictions.

Unfortunately, behind the praiseworthy aim of fighting unfair practices is the largely unfounded claim – featured prominently in the presidential campaign – that unfair Chinese labor practices have caused the loss of millions of U.S. industrial jobs. No mention was made of the real culprit: failures by American labor unions and politicians, which have resulted in insufficient modernization of industry and improvements in worker skills and productivity.
It is correct that the U.S. has a huge trade deficit with China and that the U.S. imposes fewer restrictions on trade and business in general than China does. However, one must also consider that China’s total purchasing power is still inferior to the U.S., which contributes to its lower import figures. That doesn’t mean President Trump is wrong to insist on fair practices by China, which is something that previous U.S. presidents have done …

Read the full article here ->
Trumponomics is worth a second look

China’s Coming Debt Crisis

by Henrique Schneider* for

The problem of debt in China is not the bursting of a bubble. It is much worse. As the Middle Kingdom approaches the worldwide record of accumulated debt, productivity losses are becoming increasingly apparent. That is very bad news. Every economy relies of a certain amount of debt. That is an empirical fact. But China’s total debt—the sum of government, corporate and household borrowings—has soared since 2008, and is now almost 300 percent of the country’ gross domestic product GDP. This is far higher than any other emerging market and higher than stablished economies.  Total debt in Japan, the poster child for indebtedness, is 229 percent of GDP, the United States 104.17 percent.

China’s Coming Debt Crisis: Accumulated debt reaches a world record as productivity falls
China’s Coming Debt Crisis: Accumulated debt reaches a world record as productivity falls

In the year 2008, the Chinese government used a massive fiscal injection to insulate its economy against the worldwide crisis. Since then, at least three further stimulus-programs were put in place. Because of China’s policy architecture, these fiscal actions were always in synch with debt expansion.

As government paid for new roads in the provinces, it made provinces build additional public works and banks lend to provinces in order to facilitate these investments. As state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were expected to expand globally, banks were equally expected to render financial help. All these expectations – which still have an overly mandatory component – inflated the debt of all economic agents in the country …

Read the original article at China’s Coming Dept Crisis

Friedrich A. von Hayek (1899 – 1992)

A short Appreciation by Kurt R. Leube*

It is 2017, and lest we forget one of the most seminal minds of our times, we should briefly recall the important work of Friedrich A. von Hayek who died 25 years ago, on March 23, 1992.

Friedrich A. von Hayek

Born 1899 in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna, Friedrich A. von Hayek grew up in a family that could lay claim to an academic tradition of well over three generations. With mixed success in several schools, he voluntarily joined the Austro-Hungarian Army in March 1917, served as an artillery officer at the Piave front and in November 1918 returned disillusioned, exhausted, and hopeless into a collapsing Habsburg Empire. Hayek enrolled in the University of Vienna and, obtained his law degree in 1921, decided to go for a second doctoral degree in Political Science and started to work under Ludwig von Mises’ directorship in an office for the settlement of pre-war debts. As the most eminent scholar of the 3rd generation of the Austrian School of Economics, Mises (1881-1973) soon became Hayek’s mentor and in 1927 they succeeded in founding the ‘Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research’ that soon gained high academic reputation under Hayek’s and later Oskar Morgenstern’s leadership. Not only his first book Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle (1929) but also his second Price and Production (1931) soon set a lasting standard in modern business cycle theory. One of its most striking characteristics is Hayek’s insight that any shortage of capital immediately causes a crises. While classical economic theory never elucidated what causes such a shortage, Hayek made it clear that any overinvestment leads to scarcity of capital, unavoidably compelling a decline in investment and hence leading to the loss of a part of the real capital, produced because of the excessive investment rate.

Continue reading -> Friedrich A. von Hayek

Automation, innovation
and the arrogance of the elite

GIS opinion, by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

In June 2016, Switzerland held a referendum on whether to introduce a guaranteed basic income (GBI) for all. Under such a system, governments regularly pay out a sum that would cover subsistence to each individual over the course of their entire lives. It was argued that since work was increasingly automated, fewer jobs were available. The measure was rejected by more than 75 percent of voters, despite a strong turnout from the proposal’s supporters.
Billionaire and Microsoft founder Bill Gates made a similar argument to that of the Swiss proposal’s supporters when he suggested the introduction of an income tax on robots, like that on employee wages. Proceeds of this tax would be used to provide a basic income for all to compensate for job losses and to ease inequality.

GIS opinion, by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

In January 2017, the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee adopted a report on the consequences of the rise of robots and artificial intelligence. The report recommends that the member states adopt a guaranteed basic income for all, to compensate for the loss of jobs due to new technologies.

Sending the wrong message

It is no wonder that liberal Switzerland rejected GBI, since the values of self-responsibility and personal freedom are very strong in its civil society. Government is kept small and is considered a service provider. It is surprising, however, that Bill Gates, who with Microsoft spearheaded innovation and increased productivity in processes, is advocating measures such as GBI.

GBI will not only discourage innovation, but also send the wrong message concerning the work ethic. Certain parts of society might use this benefit to avoid education and work. It could create a new class of long-term government parasites. Living off public subsidies instead of on personal achievements deprives people of a good part of their dignity and sense of responsibility.

GBI will need financing, and it would result in increased taxes on the new means of production. Taxing robots, as proposed, will mean curbing innovation and, in consequence, reducing prosperity, especially for people with lower incomes.
In a post on LinkedIn, entrepreneur and author Anurag Harsh made a convincing case that we need not fear innovation; that robots will still need human guidance and that new jobs will be created. He quoted Henry Ford as saying, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Continue reading ->
GIS opinion: Automation, innovation and the arrogance of the elite

Alternativen zum Euro
in Vergangenheit und Zukunft

veröffentlicht durch Forum Freie Gesellschaft

   In einer Zeit der Alternativlosigkeit besitzen Alternativen einen besonderen Wert. Das gilt gerade für den Euro, der als Wahrzeichen der Krise und Spaltung Europas angesehen werden kann. Im Euroraum betreibt eine zentrale Behörde eine Geldpolitik für 19 Euro-Länder, die 19 verschiedene Fiskal- und Haushaltspolitiken praktizieren. Eine zentrale Behörde setzt einen Zins für 19 verschiedene Wirtschaftskulturen, 19 verschiedene politische Führungen und 19 unterschiedlich wettbewerbsfähige Wirtschaftssysteme fest. Eine amtliche Rechnung für die Euro-Misere stellte die Bundesbank den deutschen Bürgern Ende Oktober 2016 aus. Der Bürger hat verloren, nämlich Zinsgutschriften von annähernd 10 Milliarden Euro. Von 2009 bis 2015 sind diese von 13,8 auf nur noch 4,4 Milliarden Euro geschrumpft. Hinzu kommen erhebliche Ertragseinbußen beim Bausparen, bei Lebensversicherungen und bei Kapitalanlagen. Der Staatsapparat hingegen hat „gewonnen“, nämlich 15 Milliarden Euro durch sinkende Ausgaben für Schuldenzinsen allein 2015 für den Bund trotz steigender Schulden. Treffend kritisierte Sparkassenpräsident Fahrenschon: „Die anhaltende Niedrigzinsphase bringt zunehmend die persönliche Lebensplanung von Millionen Bundesbürgern in Gefahr“. Viele Menschen würden es realistisch sehen, sie könnten nicht zum vorgesehenen Zeitpunkt in Rente gehen.
Die Verwerfungen reichen indes längst weit über Europa hinaus: Westafrika steckt in der Euro-Falle, weil 14 ehemalige französische Kolonien als Angehörige der Währungszone des CFA-Franc mit dem Euro-Beitritt Frankreichs an den Euro gekettet sind – per „nicht veröffentlichungsbedürftigem Rechtsakt“ Nr. 98/683/EG in Brüssel. Millionen Flüchtlinge haben sich aus Mali, Kamerun, Niger, Kongo-Brazzaville, Senegal, Togo, Tschad, Zentralafrikanischer Republik und Elfenbeinküste auf den Weg in Richtung Euro-Gebiet gemacht. Allgemein unterschätzt wird, dass die sehr lockere Geldpolitik der großen Industrieländer in Form der Flüchtlingskrise auf Europa zurückkommt. Bereits der „Arabische Frühling“ wurde – neben dramatisch schlechter Regierungsführung – auch durch die desaströse Geldpolitik der Zentralbanken mit verursacht. So argumentieren Gunther Schnabl, Ökonomieprofessor an der Universität Leipzig und ich in unserem Aufsatz „Geldpolitik, Arabellion und Flüchtlingskrise“.
Henry Ford wird die Aussage zugeschrieben: „Würden die Menschen das Geldsystem verstehen, hätten wir eine Revolution noch vor morgen früh“. Kann es künftig ein besseres Geld geben als das, was wir täglich benutzen?
Alternativen zum Euro
Im Zuge der Euro-Krise wurden eine ganze Reihe von Reform-vorschlägen vorgelegt, die den bestehenden Währungsstandard des Euro im wesentlichen erhalten wollten, aber dennoch erhebliche Änderungen anstrebten. Dazu gehört das Hankel-Modell mit einer erneuerten europäischen Währungsschlange, das Henkel-Modell mit einer Aufteilung des Währungsgebiets in einen harten Nord- und einen weichen Süd-Euro.

Weiterlesen ->
Alternativen zum Euro in Vergangenheit und Zukunft

Vernon Smith Prize 2016 – The Essays | On February 6, 2017 the winners of last year’s essay competition did defend their papers at a special event in Vaduz (Principality of Liechtenstein). The essays of the three winners can read and downloaded here:

First Prize (€4,000): Karol Zdybel, Poland

Direct Democracy versus Representative Democracy. Cost and Benefits for the Citizenry
(PDF, 229 kb)

Second Prize (€3,000): Alan Futerman, Argentina

The Hayekian Case for Direct Democracy
(PDF, 527 kb)

Third Prize (€2,000): Mark O’Kane, Great Britain

Direct Democracy versus Representative Democracy: Cost and Benefits for the Citizenry
(PDF, 106 kb)

The 9th International Vernon Smith Prize for the Advancement of Austrian Economics was an essay competition sponsored and organized by ECAEF European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation, Vaduz (Principality of Liechtenstein). Topic of 2016: ‘Direct Democracy versus Representative Democracy. Cost and Benefits for the Citizenry!’

The U.S. and China’s ‘free trade’ agendas

GiS Expert View by Henrique Schneider

“Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room,” said China’s President Xi Jinping. “Wind and rain may be kept outside, but so is light and air.” Mr. Xi’s words of warning were directed at the new president of the United States. Meanwhile in Washington, Donald Trump erected new barriers to free trade. Why does Communist China seem to embrace free trade while the capitalist U.S. resorts to protectionism? The answer is simple. In both countries trade, or its absence, is just an instrument of politics. China’s approach to trade is best described as mercantilism. Its government allows for some economic freedom within its borders.
However, it pushes and regulates exports and curbs imports. The more the country exports, the more money it accumulates and the more power it has.
China does allow for some internal trade. But it has a set of “strategic industries” that are ring-fenced by regulation. This regulation makes it almost impossible for foreigners to supply, invest or acquire any stake in them. Also, a large network of state-owned enterprises operates independently from China’s free-trading commitments …

Continue reading ->
The U.S. and China’s ‘free trade’ agendas

The twilight of a European dream

GIS statement by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

United States President Donald Trump is threatening to impose economic sanctions against countries that he claims create unfair trade advantage to themselves by artificially depressing their currencies. His main targets are Germany, Japan and China.

An interesting argument is used in the case of Germany. The U.S. points out that as part of the eurozone, Germany uses a currency that is weak because European economies burdened with immense structural problems are also parties to the system. President Trump’s negative generalization puts Germany in a difficult position and may end up driving another nail into the euro’s coffin.

False diagnosis

The common currency was a fantastic project for enhancing trade within the EU’s internal market. It was a real help for business. So why is the euro being questioned now? The often-heard argument is that for a common currency to work properly, common economic and fiscal policies needed to be in place. Before the euro, Europe’s weaker economies could remain competitive by devaluing their currencies. Now, this avenue is closed to eurozone members. However, this view is superficial and takes a short-term perspective.

The true problem with the euro is that from the onset it has been used as a political tool. Unprepared economies, such as Greece, were invited to join the currency club, ignoring the admission criteria. The internal market’s excessive regulations, meanwhile, did not allow these weaker economies to increase their productivity.

Worst of all, the ceiling on the governments’ budget deficits, set at a maximum of 3 percent of GDP in the Maastricht Treaty, was not respected. Public overspending and waste in most member states have led to the accumulation of vast loads of debt. Germany and France set a bad example by violating the deficit ceiling first.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has made this drama still worse when, disregarding its obligation to be independent of politics, it added fiscal measures, such as buying public debt, to its monetary policy toolbox. The real duty of the ECB was to protect the value of the currency.
The effect of the ECB’s policy of limitless purchases of sovereign bonds has been to delay desperately needed reforms in eurozone countries.

Continue reading -> The twilight of a European dream

Trumps verhängnisvoller Nationalismus

LI-Paper von Richard Ebeling

Die von der US-Regierung eingeschlagene Richtung verspricht dunkle Zeiten für freiheitliche Werte wie Privateigentum und den begrenzten Staat.

Kaum hatte Donald Trump seine Hände von der Bibel genommen, auf welche er den präsidialen Eid geleistet hatte, die Verfassung der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika zu erhalten, zu schützen und zu verteidigen, begann er auch schon damit, die Stossrichtung der US-Regierung radikal und schnell zu transformieren. Bereits hat er eine Reihe von präsidialen Verfügungen unterschrieben. Einige von ihnen, obwohl sie offensichtlich unterschiedliche intrinsische Qualitäten innehaben, sind kennzeichnend für die Prämissen und Prinzipien, die Donald Trump in einer Vielzahl seiner Entscheidungen leiten werden. Die eingeschlagene Richtung lautet: politischer und ökonomischer Nationalismus.
Viele Konservative und einige Liberale preisen die an sich gute Entscheidung Trumps, die Keystone-Pipeline voranzutreiben oder sein Versprechen, die steuerlichen und regulatorischen Belastungen für amerikanische Unternehmen zu reduzieren. Aber die Frage lautet doch: Warum wird er diese wirtschaftspolitischen Änderungen vorschlagen oder umsetzen? Ist der Grund tatsächlich, dass er glaubt, dass die Regierung die Individuen grundsätzlich frei leben lassen sollte und diese ihr persönliches Leben eigenverantwortlich gestalten sollen dürfen?

Dies ist offensichtlich nicht der Fall. Trumps Vision ist nicht jene der individuellen und wirtschaftlichen Freiheit. Es ist vielmehr das kollektivistische Ideal einer politisch bestimmten «nationalen Grösse», zu welchem alle Amerikaner beitragen sollen — wenn nicht freiwillig, dann eben durch die fiskalische und regulatorische Hand des Staates …

Weiterlesen ->
Trumps verhängnisvoller Nationalismus (PDF)

Kleines Lesebuch über den Freihandel. Ebook von Detmar Doering.

Editor: Detmar Doering,
Vorwort: Otto Graf Lambsdorff

“Der Freihandel, eine der grössten Segnungen, die eine Regierung einem Volk erweisen kann, ist dennoch in fast jedem Lande unpopulär”. Von dem britischen Historiker Thomas Babington Macaulay stammt dieser Stoßseufzer aus dem Jahre 1824. Viele Verfechter des freien Welthandels können ihn nachempfinden. Anscheinend erhalten die Theorien, die den Freihandel stützen, so manche Wahrheit, die tief im menschlichen Geist verwurzelten Vorurteilen und Instinkten widerspricht. Viele Menschen können sich zum Beispiel anscheinend nicht vorstellen, dass ein freier und offener Welthandel den ärmsten und schwächsten Völkern dieser Welt nutzt. Dabei ist in Wirklichkeit gerade der Freihandel das beste Instrument der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung für die Benachteiligten dieser Welt, das wir kennen. Dort, wo wirtschaftliche Unfreiheit herrscht, ist auch die Armut am größten. Die Wahrheit ist: Kaum eine ökonomische Doktrin ist so sehr durch Theorie und Praxis bestätigt worden wie die des Freihandels …

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Da droben in Davos

Die selbsternannte Elite hält sich für moralisch überlegen | Wäre das Weltforum in Davos eine Sache der Wirtschaft, würde es für die eigenen Kosten aufkommen. Und Staatschefinnen oder linke Vordenker wären gar nicht eingeladen. Aber das Kürzel stimmt schon: „WEF“ heißt „Welt-Elite-Forum“.

„Elite“ bezeichnet eine Gruppe von Menschen, die sich von der Masse oder vom Durchschnitt abhebt. Im soziologischen Sinne des Wortes handelt es sich um eine Auslese aufgrund von Leistungen und Fähigkeiten. Eine Auslese hat jedoch immer ein Wettbewerbsmoment. Weil sich eine Person derzeit von der Masse abhebt, heißt das noch lange nicht, sie bleibe auf Dauer leistungsfähiger als der Durchschnitt. Und jederzeit kann diese Auslese durch neue Individuen herausgefordert werden. So weit, so gut.
Problematisch wird die „Elite“, wenn eine Gruppe sich selbst als solche stilisiert. Und definitiv zur Gefahr wird die Elite, wenn sie auch noch den Anspruch erhebt, ethisch-moralisch besser zu sein als die anderen Menschen. Und das passiert in Davos. Statt sich wirtschaftlichen Zusammenhängen zu widmen, versammelt sich eine selbsternannte Elite, um uns, der Masse, die Leviten zu lesen.

Globalisierung des Guten | Der neueste Coup der Moralelite ist: Attacken auf die Globalisierung sind schlecht. Das ist nicht utilitaristisch zu lesen. Sie sind nicht schlecht für die Globalisierung. Sie sind an sich, also moralisch, schlecht. Das ist interessant. Denn es war das WEF selbst, das unter lautem Getöse entschied, sich den Globalisierungskritikern zu öffnen. Der Teufel – in diesem Fall die Elitenmoral – steckt eben im Detail. Denn im alpinen Olymp wurde gerichtet. Es wurde befunden, Globalisierungskritik von links sei gut; jene von rechts böse….

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Please mark your calender:
II. International Jacques Rueff Conference

II. International Jacques Rueff Conference, Monaco 2017
Jacques Rueff (1896 – 1973) was Monaco’s 7th Minister of State.

Please mark your calendar! The II. International Jacques Rueff Conference will take place on November 22, 2017 at the Principality of Monaco. Topic:

The Case for Europe’s Small States
in the III. Millennium

The conference is an academic one-day academic co-operation of CEPROM (Center of Economic Research for Monaco, MC) and ECAEF (European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation, FL).

Academic Director: Kurt R. Leube, ECAEF (
Administrative Director: Emanuel Falco, CEPROM (
Media Contacts: Nicolas Saussier, CEPROM (
Conference Date: November 22, 2016
Participation: by invitation only
Location: Musee Oceanographique de Monaco, Principality of Monaco
Conference Languages: English and French; simultaneous translation

Vernon Smith Prize: Winners announced

Vernon Smith Prize 2016 Call for Papers
Vernon Smith Prize 2016: Direct Democracy versus Representative Democracy …

1. Prize: Karol Zdybel (Warsaw, Poland)

2. Prize: Alan Futerman (Rosario, Argentina)

3. Prize: Mark O’Kane (Lancashire, UK)

Essays had been judged by an international jury. They will be posted after their defense at the ‘International Vernon Smith Prize Ceremony’ on February 6, 2017 in Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein. The 9th International Vernon Smith Prize for the Advancement of Austrian Economics was an essay competition sponsored and organized by ECAEF European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation, Vaduz (Principality of Liechtenstein). Topic: ‘Direct Democracy versus Representative Democracy. Cost and Benefit of the Citizenry’.