All posts by Andre Wendt

The loss of constitutional protection

GIS statement by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

In an atmosphere of panic over the Covid-19 crisis, European governments are enacting more and more open-ended measures that are often of dubious utility for containing the pandemic but severely restrict personal freedom, privacy and entrepreneurship. Alarmingly, citizens’ rights enshrined in constitutions are being set aside.

The governments’ approach toward citizens has been shockingly paternalistic; they treat the population like misbehaving children (source: GIS)

As the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the globe, harsh measures were gradually introduced. Governments have begun to limit individual rights and privacy. The media and politicians, as well as some virologists and medical professionals, have stirred up panic. Those who question the necessity of taking drastic steps are intolerantly marginalized and branded as either idiots or radicals.

The success of Western democracies is based on the guarantee of freedom and human rights. The United States Declaration of Independence and constitution provide citizens with unalienable rights that include liberty and the pursuit of happiness (which is not guaranteed, as it is defined individually), as well as privacy and property rights. The constitution’s objective was to protect the individual from the state. Tolerance and freedom of opinion were also protected.

Stealing freedoms

Property rights have since become restricted because of ever-expanding regulations and excessive taxation. The high tax burden is not solely a result of the governments’ tendency to overspend. Leftist ideologies and populist slogans demanding “more equality” also play a role in raising taxes. 

Waves of regulations are steadily narrowing the boundaries of individual activity and increasing the state’s power over citizens. Unfortunately, this is a global phenomenon.

In 1998, the so-called great eavesdropping law (grosse Lauschangriff) was passed in Germany. It allowed security agencies to plant surveillance devices in suspects’ homes without approval from a judge. The measure was highly contested at the time. In 2014, the European Parliament enacted a directive requiring telecommunication and internet providers to retain all communication data for two years and make it available to law enforcement agencies upon request. Every EU citizen is now treated as a suspect. The Court of Justice of the European Union considered the directive to be “a wide-ranging and particularly serious interference with the fundamental rights to the respect for private life and to the protection of personal data, without that interference being limited to what is strictly necessary.” The EU Parliament was supposed to amend the directive but has failed to do so, and it remains in force. 

In many cases, the measures enacted to contain Covid-19 encroach upon personal rights. Such extraordinary circumstances can require restrictions, but they should have a clear expiry date. Many of the present guidelines appear unjustified. And there has been no reliance on individual responsibility. The governments’ approach toward citizens has been shockingly paternalistic; they treat the population like misbehaving children …

Continue reading ->
The loss of constitutional protection


*GIS is a global intelligence service providing independent, analytical, fact-based reports from a team of experts around the world. We also provide bespoke geopolitical consultancy services to businesses to support their international investment decisions. Our clients have access to expert insights in the fields of geopolitics, economics, defense, security and energy. Our experts provide scenarios on significant geopolitical events and trends. They use their knowledge to analyze the big picture and provide valuable recommendations of what is likely to happen next, in a way which informs long-term decision-making. Our experts play active roles in top universities, think-tanks, intelligence services, business and as government advisors. They have a unique blend of backgrounds and experience to deliver the narrative and understanding of global developments. They will help you develop a complete understanding of international affairs because they identify the key players, their motivations and what really matters in a changing world. Our experts examine the challenges and opportunities in economies old and new, identify emerging politicians and analyze and appraise new threats in a fast-changing world. They offer new ideas, fresh perspectives and rigorous study.

Vernon Smith Prize 2020 – Call for Papers

Vernon Smith Prize 2020 – Call for Papers!

XIII. International Vernon Smith Prize 2020 – Call for Papers!

“Is the Public Interest
really in the public’s interest?”

The International Vernon Smith Prize is an essay competition  for the advancement of Austrian Economics. Sponsored and organized by ECAEF – European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation,
Vaduz (Principality of Liechtenstein).

Call for papers!

Is the Public Interest really in the public’s interest? About 85 years ago, F. A. von Hayek already has warned us that even “if people agree about the desirability of planning in general, their agreements about the ends which planning is to serve will in the first instance necessarily be confined to some general formula like ‘social welfare’, the ‘general interest’, the ‘common good’, ‘greater equality’ or ‘justice’ etc. Agreement on such a general formula is however, not sufficient to determine a concrete plan, even if we take all the technical means as given”. Although, these ambiguous, emotionally charged and politically domineering slogans still arouse the fantasy of intellectuals and politicians alike, a conceptual definition of these ‘multi-purpose’ terms appears to be of no concern for them. It is a regrettable fact that especially economics, far more than the other social sciences, is obsessed with the reiteration of popular, yet meaningless buzz words.

– 1st Prize: €4,000  –
– 2nd Prize: €3,000  –
– 3rd Prize: €2,000 –


All entries must meet the following 5 requirements:

1: Entries may be submitted by individuals of up to 30 years (in 2020).
2: Entries may not exceed 12 pages, including a full bibliography and a 1/2 page summary; 1.5 spacing; left/right margins no less then 1 inch.
3: Entries must be submitted in English in electronic form (PDF) to krl@ecaef.li and must include a current CV with Date of Birth.
4: Entries must be received on or before November 22, 2020.

It is mandatory that all prizewinners participate in the award ceremony in Vaduz (Principality of Liechtenstein) in February 2021.

Prizes are not transferable and will be awarded on the basis of originality, grasp of subject, and the logical consistence of the argument. An international jury will judge the essays and the winners will be invited to present their papers at a special event in Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein on Feb 8, 2021.


The International Vernon Smith Prize has been established in 2008 by ECEAF for the advancement of Austrian Economics. It is named after Professor Vernon Lomax Smith (born on January 1, 1927). He is professor of economics at Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics and School of Law in Orange, California, a research scholar at George Mason University Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, and a Fellow of the Mercatus Center, all in Arlington, Virginia. Vernon Smith shared the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Daniel Kahneman. He is also the founder and president of the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics, a Member of the Board of Advisors for The Independent Institute, and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C.

Annotating the Paris Agreement

Essay by Henrique Schneider*

This article was first published at TheMarketForIdeas.com. It explains in broad strokes the content of the Paris Agreement and the Decision by which it was adopted. It, then, annotates them and complements the annotations by asking further questions. This article serves as institutional memory – it has been written by an active negotiator of the Agreement. It will be especially useful to judge the direction the Agreement will implement in comparison to the discussions at its adoption. The implementation of the Agreement starts in 2020 – but is delayed because of the global pandemic.

“The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the Agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework.”

While this official definition of the Paris Agreement and its contents is concise, let it not be forgotten that in 2020, even 5 years after its adoption, the whole framework to the Agreement has not been fully negotiated yet. True: only one article remains to be set up, article 6, or the items of international cooperation. But this delay shows that, while the Agreement may be concise, its interpretation is open-textured. It is, therefore, useful to annotate the Agreement – and also ask questions about it – from the perspective of an agent who negotiated the Agreement itself and parts of its implementation …

Continue reading -> Annotating the Paris Agreement


*Henrique Schneider is a professor of economics at the Nordkademie University of Applied Sciences in Elmshorn, Germany and chief economist of the Swiss Federation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Bern, Switzerland.

In a panicked world, critical thinking is essential

GIS* Statement by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

The world is focused on the pandemic and the U.S. elections, and the dire scenarios many say they will bring. While both are important, it is crucial to understand that reacting with alarm will only lead to bad outcomes. Not considering solutions in a levelheaded manner puts individual freedoms at risk.

As they try to protect themselves from the Covid-19 pandemic, societies may be running toward an even bigger danger (source: GIS)

The Covid-19 pandemic and the presidential election in the United States have completely absorbed the attention of the Western world. The panic surrounding the coronavirus is blinding societies to other critical issues and leads them to adopt measures that limit personal freedom. In the U.S. election campaign, each side is predicting disaster if the other side wins. Trust in the checks and balances that the U.S. Constitution provides is faltering.

Unfortunately, dogmatic thinking dominates both the media and politics. Certain ideas have been declared “alternativlos,” to use German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s preferred mantra – they must be adopted by all, because there is no alternative.

At times like these,
some independent thinking is necessary.

There are always alternatives. The danger of ‘groupthink’ Many worry that Covid-19 – to paraphrase Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum – is humankind’s greatest catastrophe since World War II. Societies are now willing to tolerate any means to contain the disease, regardless of whether it violates constitutions, laws or personal freedoms …

Read the original article here ->
In a panicked world, critical thinking is essential


*GIS is a global intelligence service providing independent, analytical, fact-based reports from a team of experts around the world. We also provide bespoke geopolitical consultancy services to businesses to support their international investment decisions. Our clients have access to expert insights in the fields of geopolitics, economics, defense, security and energy. Our experts provide scenarios on significant geopolitical events and trends. They use their knowledge to analyze the big picture and provide valuable recommendations of what is likely to happen next, in a way which informs long-term decision-making. Our experts play active roles in top universities, think-tanks, intelligence services, business and as government advisors. They have a unique blend of backgrounds and experience to deliver the narrative and understanding of global developments. They will help you develop a complete understanding of international affairs because they identify the key players, their motivations and what really matters in a changing world. Our experts examine the challenges and opportunities in economies old and new, identify emerging politicians and analyze and appraise new threats in a fast-changing world. They offer new ideas, fresh perspectives and rigorous study.

Gestärkt aus der CoronaKrise – möglicherweise

Essay von Henrique Schneider, Redakteur ASMZ*

China ist zumindest wirtschaftlich gestärkt aus der Corona-Krise herausgekommen. Wer dem Reich der Mitte eine Strategie unterstellt, liegt nicht falsch. Die Strategie heisst: Krisenbewältigung.

Düster tönte es noch im Mai 2020: Chinas Aussenhandel brach im Vergleich zum Vormonat um 9,3% ein. Die Exporte der grössten Handelsnation der Welt gingen in US-Dollar gerechnet um 3,3% zurück. Die Importe sackten sogar um 16,7% im Vergleich zum Vorjahreszeitraum ab. Insbesondere der Handelsstreit mit den USA machte sich bemerkbar. Die beiden grössten Volkswirtschaften liegen nun schon seit zwei Jahren in einem Handelskrieg mit gegenseitig verhängten Sonderzöllen.

Im Mai gingen Chinas Exporte in die USA um 14,3% zurück, während die Importe aus den USA um 7,6 % abnahmen. Drei Monate später, im August, schien das Bild schon ganz anders. Die Exporte aus dem Reich der Mitte nahmen um 7,2% zu, die Importe um 1,4%. Die ursprüngliche Prognose für den Aussenhandel sah eigentlich negative Veränderungszahlen vor. Doch die Realität entwickelte sich anders: besser …

Weiterlesen ->
Gestärkt aus der Corona-Krise – möglicherweise (PDF)

*Henrique Schneiders Essay erschien erstmals in der Schweizerischen Allgemeinen Militärzeitschrift, Ausgabe 10/2020