Christmas is once more upon us. It is not only the time of the year where we spend time with our family and friends, with our loved ones, but it is also the time of the year where we look back, and half melancholically, half nostalgically, say something along the lines of “Oh, how fast this year has gone by.”
Oh, how fast this year has gone by, is also what we at the Austrian Economics Center are thinking right now during the few days left of the year 2018. It’s been our eleventh year, and once more we can comfortably say that the work we are doing has seen more success and support than ever before. We may not be Marxian progressives, but it still makes us feel strange that things keep getting better and better every year.
Just take the Free Market Road Show, which was once more a major success. Travelling throughout Europe within two months and visiting almost forty cities along the way, we again garnered more than 10,000 attendees. Is there anything better than seeing hundreds of young people come to events everywhere in Europe, from Madrid to Bucharest, from Stockholm to Thessaloniki, to find out more about libertarian ideas? Indeed, you can only get this at the biggest event of its kind on a regular basis – and this is the FMRS.
But not only that: the annual European Resource Bank, which took place in Prague this year, once more summoned classical liberal and conservative voices from all around the world to connect and cooperate with one another. Then there are events like the ceremony for the Hayek Lifetime Achievement Awards that just took place last week, where we honored two great fighters of liberty in Gloria Álvarez and Richard Rahn. Or the Liberty Fund seminar, where we again invited 15 young and bright students from Europe to Vienna to discuss about The Institutions of Liberty. All those events of ours – as well as those all around the world we attended and spoke at, from Las Vegas to Warsaw to Copenhagen and Reykjavik – were great, and considering how much enthusiasm we received, they gave us the motivation to further fight for the cause that is so dear to our heart.
As for our media presence, our reach grew exponentially, too, in 2018. All of our social media platforms saw significant growths (we also finally got an Instagram account), making it possible that we reached millions overall. In the traditional media, we were ever-present. There was almost no major newspaper in Austria not reporting on the great things our Director Barbara Kolm is doing in our home country, while our Senior Fellow Federico Fernández made headways once more in Latin America and our Research Fellow Kai Weiss was published all over the place in Britain.
Our blog visitor numbers almost doubled in 2018, and the main reason for this is the great pieces that writers both young and old sent in. It is great for us to see an article on capitalism by our spring intern Estanislao end up as the second most read of the year (see the top 15 below). It’s the interviews with the likes of Daniel Lahoud, a scholar teaching Austrian Economics in Venezuela (of all places), who Federico talked to – or Matt Kibbe explaining the situation for libertarians in the United States in the age of Trump. It’s those stories promoting truly Austrian ideas, from the Cantillon effect to Luis Maria Pastor Copo, a Spanish economist who already formulated Austrian ideas before there was the Austrian School and who was almost completely unknown before our summer intern David introduced him to us.
It’s about how new technologies change our work life, often greatly analyzed by another former intern of ours, Mary, or the argument for more tax competition and substantial tax reform, as our friends from the Tax Foundation did on our blog. It’s the fight against both EU centralization as well as authoritarianism on the nation-level, and a vision of a free Europe, as Margaret Thatcher put it forth thirty years ago and which Kai took a close look once more for today’s crucial times (a work which was very well received by both the media as well as many politicians).
The list could be endless. But most importantly, our work to spread the ideas of individual liberty and personal responsibility, which we are lucky enough to work on day-in, day-out, would not be possible without the support of all our friends, all our partners, indeed, all you out there. The success we are so glad to have would not even be imaginable without you.
Next year we want to continue stronger than ever before, and the preparations for the new edition of the Free Market Road Show and the European Resource Bank 2019 (this time in Chisinau) are in full gear already. In a crucial year on the European level, we want to fight more than ever both against federalist dreams in Brussels, as well as authoritarian populism. We want to continue the fight for freedom, and further spread the ideas of libertarianism and the Austrian School of Economics.
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.