On Thursday morning, presentations by scholars from Austria, Brazil, Spain, and Croatia took place at Veranstaltungssaal of the Austrian Central Bank. Many focused on post-COVID policies in the EU. The presentations were opened by Artur Marion Ceolin from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. Ceolin problematized the issue of intrapreneurship through a combined approach of alertness, judgment, and productive organization. Then, Ronald-Peter Stöferle from Incrementum provided an interesting insight into the monetary problem after the pandemic and its consequences on rising inflation, to which was added the contributions of Stephen N. Bartulica of the Center for Renewal of Culture on the risks to fundamental freedoms because of the severe blockades in many countries due to COVID.
The first round of presentations in the morning at Veranstaltungssaal concluded with a debate on agricultural development and state capture by Santiago Fernández Ordoñez and Eduardo Fernández Luiña from the Francisco Marroquín University. They used elements from the Austrian School of Economics and public choice to analyze the UFCo privilege regime during the Estrada Cabrera dictatorship in Guatemala.
After lunch, the second round of presentations from the Veranstaltungssaal took place where discussions on political, institutional, and monetary issues took place. The first presentation was given by Steve Baker, British Member of Parliament, and Max Rangeley from the Cobden Center. They addressed the main problems of political and institutional reality, central banks, and global institutions through the principles of the Austrian School, while later Carlos Puente Martin of Spain reflected on the risks of individual freedoms in the face of performances of populism in the pandemic. Puente Martín argued that some governments used the health situation to justify the violation of individual and public freedoms protected by the rule of law.
Post-COVID policies in the EU
This section of the Conference also discussed points of special relevance about the European Union. Žiga Turk from the University of Ljubljana presented his work on Hayek’s lessons for the EU. Turk argued that the bloc should continue as a spontaneous process that respects the power of dispersed knowledge, the advantages of limited and dispersed political power, and the emerging social order rather than designed. Then Pieter Cleppe, Editor-in-chief of the Brussels Report, provided an overview of fiscal and monetary transfers within the EU. The round of presentations was closed by Mattia Osvaldo Picarelli from the European Stability Mechanism and Willem Vanlaer and Win Marneffe from Hasselt University. The authors examined the increase in public debt and the reduction in public investment in the European Union through the debt overhang hypothesis.
Naturally, there was an interest from scholars and attendees to discuss the consequences of the pandemic. Speakers from America and Europe discussed the impact of COVID around the world on Thursday afternoon. These last presentations of the day at Veranstaltungssaal were moderated by Brian McWilliams from the United States. Matt Kibbe (Free the People) opened the third round of lectures. Kibbe explained the unprecedented justification of scientific and quasi-religious mantras in the context of COVID using elements of Hayek’s critique of Saint-Simon’s scientism. Along these lines, Calum T.M. Nicholson from the Danube Institute deepened the debate by discussing the differences between science and scientism about the pandemic and climate change. Continuing with this topic, the Austrian Thomas Bachheimer exposed the difficulties faced by democracy in the face of the erosion of individual rights and freedoms due to the decisions of governments.
Finally, the third round at Veranstaltungssaal culminated with presentations by Anca Elena Lungu and Gabriel Claudiu Mursa from the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, and Maximilian Wéber from the Bratislava International School of Liberal Arts. Lungu and Mursa addressed the effects of the pandemic on business activity, arguing that uncertainty should be a constant in entrepreneurs. For his part, Wéber focused on the issue of unemployment in the United States during the COVID scenario to demonstrate the relevance of the Austrian School’s approaches in the 21st century.
Facundo Gustavo Corvalan is an Argentine historian. He is a professor at the Universidad Nacional de San Luis, and is concluding his PhD dissertation in History at the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo. Facundo was also a fall 2021 intern at the Austrian Economics Center.
The AEC’s fundamental goal is to promote a free, responsible and prosperous society. Through education and improving public understanding of key economic questions, the AEC promotes the idea of a free market economy and the ideal of a free society.