Vernon Smith Prize 2020

Vernon Smith Prize 2020 – Call for Papers!

ECAEF announces the topic for this years’ XIII. International Vernon Smith Prize:

“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. 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.

Best Books on the Folly of Socialism

Best Books on the Folly of Socialism
Best Books on the Folly of Socialism

What everyone should know about the practical and moral failures of the socialist project

compiled by Dr. Williamson M. Evers

Professor Heilbroner’s pronouncement of socialism’s death is greatly exaggerated. Socialism has risen from its own ashes perhaps more often than has any other political ideology on earth. Now, more than 30 years after Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev implemented reforms that helped burn the ideal of a planned economy to the ground, socialist doctrines are once again gaining in popularity, especially among young people.

Much has been written about socialism, yet too little has been read (too little serious writing, that is). This annotated list of recommended reading, compiled by Independent Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Williamson M. Evers, tries to remedy this deficiency by highlighting some of the most insightful critiques of socialism ever written. It’s not an exaggeration to say that anyone who carefully studies even a handful of these books will gain a stronger understanding of socialism than is possessed by the vast majority of socialists …

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Best Books on the Folly of Socialism

Cancellation Notice

Much to our regret, the environment for our forthcoming conference in Liechtenstein has changed dramatically over the past few weeks. Due to the unending developments related to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) rigorous restrictions have been imposed by most Asian, European and American governments to limit the exposure to and the unchecked spreading of the virus.

Hence, after intensive discussions and a thorough evaluation of all aspects and information currently on hand, the board of our ECAEF felt obliged to cancel our XVI. Gottfried v. Haberler Conference (May 28/29, 2020).

We sincerely apologize for any inconveniences this may cause and will certainly keep in touch to inform you about the date for the conference in 2021.

Opinion: Harmful attempts to plan and regulate the global economy

GIS* Statement by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein

Recently, a G20 summit of finance ministers was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The main concern of the summiteers was not the condition of the global economy, but two other issues: taxing the digital economy and taming digital and cryptocurrencies with overarching global regulations.

In a famous and, unfortunately, still pertinent quip, late United States President Ronald Reagan described the underlying problem this way: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Governments’ traditional economic mismanagement may be elevated to an all new, global level (source: GIS)

Governments’ excessive spending and oversized bureaucracies have created staggering public deficits. The unduly elevated role of public administration sucks talent away from the productive sectors of manufacturing and services into deadweight bureaucratic overhead. Lately, one can hardly avoid the impression that many regulations serve to justify public jobs rather than aid society. This amounts to a massive burden on the economy, especially in Europe, vastly contributing to the declining competitiveness on the continent.

How systems degenerate

Public administration should be a service organization for the citizen. Any good service organization should be lean, efficient and cost-effective. Taxes should be fair compensation for the services rendered, not a system for feeding an increasingly greedy administration and its redistribution schemes. In fact, social redistribution has degenerated to a tool used to satisfy the clientele of political parties …

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Harmful attempts to plan and regulate the global economy


*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.

Angst vor der eigenen Bevölkerung

Angesichts der Coronavirus-Epidemie wollen Partei und Staat Macht zeigen

Essay von Henrique Schneider – erschienen in “eigentümlich frei” (25. Februar 2020)

Partei- und Staatsführung in China: Koloss auf tönernen Füßen. Quelle: Chris Redan / Shutterstock.com

Die Kommunistische Partei Chinas und der chinesische Staat geben sich selbstbewusst. Unter allen Umständen möchten sie es der Welt, aber auch der eigenen Bevölkerung zeigen: Alles im Griff. Der Schlüssel, um diesen Anspruch zu verstehen, ist die Angst, die Partei und Staat vor der eigenen Bevölkerung haben.

Keine Frage: Das heutige China baut auf zentraler Lenkung und Überwachung auf. Präsident Xi setzt seine Vorgaben zentralistisch durch. Wer nicht folgt, verliert den Posten. Wer den Partei- oder Staatsapparat zum eigenen Nutzen einsetzt, wird bestraft, nicht selten mit dem Tod. Vorbei sind die Zeiten, in denen Apparatschiks und Mandarine erster Klasse fliegen oder Fünf-Sterne-Hotels frequentieren konnten. Die Rolex-Uhren dürfen auch nicht mehr gezeigt werden. Die Kommunisten und ihre Beamten müssen halt kommunistisch sein.

Auch die Bevölkerung erfährt Zentralisierung und Unterordnung im Alltag. In einigen Städten werden alle 100 Meter Überwachungskameras angebracht. Das Internet mutiert mehr und mehr zur Kontrollinstanz. Mobile Kommunikationstechnik dient dem „social scoring“. Ausreisepapiere erhält nicht mehr jeder. Und ja: Städte werden in Quarantäne gesetzt, Unternehmen zur Produktionseinstellung gezwungen, Arbeitern das Zuhausebleiben befohlen – unbezahlt.

Corona und Macht

Gerade angesichts der Coronavirus-Epidemie wollen Partei und Staat Macht zeigen. Die Aktionen der zentralen Gewalt waren eindeutig und ließen nicht lange auf sich warten. In einem Land, in dem jedes Jahr mehrere Hunderttausend Personen wegen Grippe sterben, werden ganze Provinzen wegen weniger als 5.000 Corona-Toten eingezäunt und von der Außenwelt abgeschnitten. So sind die Machtverhältnisse im Reich der Mitte …

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Angst vor der eigenen Bevölkerung