8th International Vernon Smith Prize

Vernon Smith Prize 2014
Austrian Econonmics Applied: 8th International Vernon Smith Prize 2015.

8th International Vernon Smith Prize 

Vaduz (FL), January 24, 2016. After much reading, long discussions and at times quite difficult deliberations, the international jury of the VSP finally came to a conclusion and is delighted to announce the winners:
The 1. Prize goes to Daniel W. Issing (Germany), the 2. Prize to Demelza Hays (USA), and the 3. Prize to Mats Ekmann (Finnland). Heartfelt congratulations! Essays of the winners have now been posted, since all three authors have defended their papers at a special festive event on February 15, 2016 in Vaduz, the Principality of Liechtenstein.


1st Prize: Daniel W. Issing (Germany); Essay:

The Snowden Disclosures: An Inquiry Into The Virtue Of Whistleblowing From An Austrian Economics Perspective
Download Essay here (PDF)


2nd Prize: Demelza Hays (USA); Essay:

The Ethics of Government Surveillance: Is Edward J. Snowden a Hero or a Villain?
Download Essay here (DOCX)

 3rd Prize: Mats Ekman (Finland); Essay:
Heroic Leaks of Information: Quixotic or Practical?
Download Essay here (PDF)

The annual Vernon Smith Prize for the Advancement of Austrian Economics is sponsored and organized by ECAEF – European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation, Vaduz (Principality of Liechtenstein).  Topic of the 2015 Essay Competition was: Edward J. Snowden:  Hero or Villain?

|- First Prize EUR 4,000 -|
|- Second Prize EUR 3,000 -|
|- Third Prize EUR 2,000 -|

  If a hacker intercepted communications and attacked private computers, it would be a crime. Yet when it’s done by a government, it represents a necessary component of national security and the protection of an unspecified ‘public interest’. Whether we are walking through a store, driving a car, checking e-mail, or simply talking to friends on a cell phone, we can be assured that some secretly erected government agency is listening in, tracking our behavior and storing huge amounts of metadata as a comprehensive record of what we do and who we are.  The abuse of power has become endemic to modern ‘democratic’ governance and legality becomes distinct from morality.
Can we assume that Snowden’s revelations only scrape the surface in revealing the lengths to which government agencies and their corporate allies will go? Is Edward Snowden just a mild mannered whistleblower carrying out a one man crusade against devilish state practices? Is he a Hero or a Villain?

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

1: Entries had to be submitted by individuals of up to 30 years (in 2015).

2: Entries should not exceed 12 pgs.; 1.5 space; left/right margins no less then 1 inch; including a full bibliography and a 1/2 page summary

3: Entries must have been submitted in English in electronic form (pdf) to krl@ecaef.li and must include a current CV, including DoB.

4: Entry deadline was December 1, 2015.

5. As usual 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 were judged by an international jury and the winners will be invited to present their papers at a special event in Vaduz, the Principality of Liechtenstein on February 15, 2016.

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