Module Descriptions

Please note:

The contents of the individual modules represent a recommended minimum and thus may be subject to additions and change of emphasis by the instructors. The Liechtenstein Academy Foundation may change lecturers according to their availability. The module ‘An Introduction to the Austrian School of Economics’ is a prerequisite and thus mandatory.

M1 – ECONOMICS: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ‘AUSTRIAN SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS’.

2 units. This course is a prerequisite.

21.-21.10.2017: Kurt R. Leube

This introduction covers the unique features of Austrian Economics. What is Austrian Economics, how does it differ from other Schools of Thought, and what is its place in the History of Economic Thought? We will explore Carl Menger’s intellectual breakthrough in value theory, the decisive impact of the ‘Methodenstreit’ and the development of the school’s unique tenets: among others its methodological individualism and subjectivism, the marginal utility theory, or the concept of opportunity cost. We will also analyze the idea of markets, and clear up terms such as ‘capitalism’, ‘social justice’ or ‘competition’. The course concludes with a review of the school’s generations of leading thinkers, their ideas and influence. Examples and applications.

M2 – PHILOSOPHY: THE METHODOLOGY AND THE LIMITS OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCE;

2 units.

03.-04.11.2017: Hardy Bouillon

How do facts in the Social Sciences differ from the facts in the Physical Sciences? Can we use history to make predictions in economics or sociology, and what is the meaning of the ‘homo economicus’? Why can commodities, food or money only be defined in terms people hold about these things? We will analyze the all-important problems of methodological individualism, methodological subjectivism and methodological dualism, historicism and scientism, as well as Praxeology as the science of human action. We will also discuss in-depth the Austrian School’s unique and decisive concept of ‘Verstehen’ and ‘Begreifen’, and the interdependence of social-philosophy, socio-economics and phenomenology. Examples, cases and applications.

M3 – LAW: SELECTED TOPICS IN LEGAL THEORY. THE EVOLUTION OF LAW, NATURAL LAW AND SPONTANEOUS ORDER

2 units. 

08.-09.12.2017: Carlos A. Gebauer

What are the most important distinctions between Common (Case) Law and Codified Law and between legislation and the law? What is the purpose of the law and what is the meaning of private property? This course features an in-depth review of the different and most decisive stages of the development of the law and the constitutions of states. We will also analyze the legal foundation of coercion and state’s monopoly to exercise power to punish. The preventive state vs. the reacting state, civil rights, civil disobedience and their impact on legislation. We will also thoroughly discuss the interdependence of law, economics, and legal institutions. The analysis of the political decision making process in the EU, and alternatives to the representative democracy. How does a society work? Examples, cases and applications.

M4 – PHILOSOPHY: MARKETS, MORAL AND BUSINESS ETHICS

2 units.

12.-13.01.2018: Hardy Bouillon

Are capitalism or free markets moral and can they generate justice or equality? What is the meaning of ‘morals’ and how do we treat ‘business ethics’? This course concentrates on human action, moral behavior, and business ethics in the environment of globalization. The course features an in-depth discussion of the moral and ethical underpinnings of capitalism and markets, as well as taxation or government imposed fees. Should we use taxation in order to achieve an equal distribution of wealth? The role of envy. Among other subjects, the course will also focus on the limits of state power, coercion, self-responsibility and individual freedom as well as on the development, idea and the moral consequences of the welfare state. Examples, cases and applications.

M5 – ECONOMICS: MONEY, BANKING AND BEHAVIORAL FINANCE; SELECTED TOPICS IN MONETARY-, CAPITAL- AND BUSINESS CYCLE THEORY;

2 units.

09.-10.03.2018: Pedro Schwartz

What is the vital interrelating of Money, Banking and the newly developed disciplines of Behavioral Finance and Behavioral Economics? What is the purpose of regulations and institutions (supposedly) safeguarding the monetary system? This course offers also a comprehensive overview of the Austrian Monetary-, Business cycle- and Capital theory as well as an analysis of the Keynesian approach. Special emphasis will be given to exchange rate issues, the pros and cons of the Gold standard, and the theory of denationalization of money. Students will also be exposed to the theory of international trade and its appropriate institutions, such as WTO, GATT, IMF, ECB, FED, … . An in-depth discussion of the dependencies of economic and industrial policies, the theory of interventionism, and the economics of regulations will round up this course. Examples, cases and applications.

M6 – POLITICS: Institutional Economics and Public Choice Analysis

2 units.

13.-14.04.2018: Erich Weede

Whither democracy? Is the public interest in the public’s interest? Which institutions of democracy can warrant the functioning of a civil society and which can escape the ‘tyranny of the status quo’? This module will focus on the Austrian explanations of the critically important public-choice approach (J. Buchanan/G. Tullock), the analysis of political actions, their impact on economic regulations, and the meaning of the ‘public interest’. The ethical and moral issues of democracy.

We will analyze the economic theory of democracy (A. Downs) and the myth of the rational voter. The despotism of empty coffers, the future of the welfare state and the disastrous consequences of socialism. The new approach of institutional and evolutionary economics. Examples, cases and applications.

M7 – SOCIOLOGY: THE PROBLEMS OF DEMOGRAPHY, IMMIGRATION ISSUES AND SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEMS; THE ILLUSION OF THE WELFARE STATE’ AND ALTERNATIVE MODELS.

2 Units.

23.-24.02.2018: Michael Leube 

Will the Welfare State as we know it collapse? This course not only features an in-depth analysis of the sociological, cultural and demographic problems facing Social Security -, Pension- and Welfare systems. There will also be a discussion of issues dealing with the idea of the ‘Social Contract’ and the ‘Moral Hazard’ problem. Are cultural institutions, such as the language, morality, or societies the result of spontaneous human actions or of human planning or design? What do we know about the cultural evolution and the origins of societies or markets? Nature versus Nurture. The Dilemma of Specialization. Examples, cases and applications.

M8 – ECONOMICS: ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS, PROPERTY RIGHTS AND THE EMINENT DOMAIN PROBLEM. PUBLIC GOODS AND ‘THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS’;

2 Units.

24.-25.11.2017: Terry L. Anderson

Can free markets protect endangered species? Are environmental problems a form of market failure? Does capitalism destroy the planet Earth? Is there evidence that government programs in fact worsen the very problem they seek to correct? This course provides an in-depth analysis of environmental issues, ranging from land use to water pollution to species protection and global warming. The theory of market failures versus the theory of government failures. An

Austrian Economics approach to environmental taxation, and the command-and-control method. The ‘Coase Theorem’ (R. Coase) and clearly defined property rights. Pollution as an act of trespassing against someone’s property or a person. Information- and transaction cost analysis. The environmental entrepreneur as the enviropreneur. Examples, cases and applications.