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Reviving the Austrian Tradition

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https://www.liechtenstein-academy.com/services/austrian-economics/

Everything you always wanted to know about the Austrian School of Economics

by Alvino-Mario Fantini

Speaking about Austrian Economics—or, rather, ‘the Austrian Tradition’—is often met with raised eyebrows.  It’s not just that the vast majority of people are unacquainted with this tradition. It’s more a consequence of having been purposefully ignored by the leading departments of economics around the world. Even Austrian universities fail to teach it anymore.

All that may be about to change. The Liechtenstein Academy, a non-profit educational institution set up last year, aims to provide students with a broad multi-disciplinary education in the basics elements of the Austrian School of Economics and, more generally, the Austrian Tradition.

The brain-child of HSH Prince Philipp of Liechtenstein, the Liechtenstein Academy will offer a program of eight ‘modules’, each focusing on a different aspect of this intellectual tradition. These modules will focus on economics, philosophy, law, politics, and sociology, all of which are essential to understand the Austrian Tradition.

“It is important for students to understand that the Austrian Tradition is not just about economics,” says Kurt R. Leube, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, during a recent interview. It is a whole “methodology of value”, he explains, which relies on input from across the humanities and social sciences.

Leube—who happens to have been Friedrich von Hayek’s last assistant—developed the innovative curriculum, in close consultation with other members of the faculty. He explains that participants will be encouraged to enroll in all eight modules—though they can just as easily enroll only in the ones that most interest them.  The number of participants per module will be capped at 25.

Participants who complete all eight modules will receive a Certificate accredited by the academic authorities of Liechtenstein. In addition, for those who are interested, there will be the option of receiving an academic degree for their work, through an arrangement with Unitelma Sapienza University in Rome.

Modules will begin with a Thursday evening dinner, followed by two days of intensive lectures, readings, and discussions, explains Hans Rudolf Maag, the Executive Director of the Academy. Participants will then have the option of leaving at their leisure Saturday evening or early Sunday morning. In addition, an online version of the program will be launched in the fall.

In addition to Leube, who will teach the introductory module on economics, other program faculty include Terry L. Anderson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the former executive director of the Property and Environmental Research Center; Erich Weede, professor emeritus at the University of Bonn; Pedro Schwartz, professor of economics at Camilo José Cela University in Madrid and the current president of the Mont Pèlerin Society; Carlos Gebauer, a well-known German jurist, writer, polemicist, and television personality; Hardy Bouillon of the University of Trier and a guest professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business; Michael Wohlgemuth, director of Open Europe Berlin; and HSH Prince Heinrich von und zu Liechtenstein, professor of financial management at IESE Business School in Barcelona.

The program will take place at Schloss Freudenfels, a beautiful 18th century structure overlooking Lake Constance in Switzerland. The venue – which was chosen because it offers the kind of environment in which students will be able to grapple with serious ideas rigorously, without distractions – offers state-of-the art facilities. Students will be provided with full board and accommodations.

Those wishing to enroll in the full program offering of eight modules can expect to pay CHF 9,500 ($9,400). Modules will be offered in German or English, depending on the instructor. There will be simultaneous interpretation in English.

The Liechtenstein Academy offered its first formal educational event last summer – a sort of ‘pilot’ seminar – on the theme of ‘Semantic Traps’, exploring the use and abuse of words and phrases to further collectivist and other politically left ideas.  The seminar was well-attended, with more than 40 participants of all ages from across Europe.

The Liechtenstein Academy will start with the first module in October.  More information about the program may be obtained at www.liechtenstein-academy.com/services/austrian-economics.