Category Archives: Liechtenstein Academy

Liechtenstein Academy

Reviving the Austrian Tradition


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



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