Exploring Economic Cooperation: Insights from Liechtenstein


It was a real pleasure to be in Liechtenstein last month. We had the opportunity to discuss some of the current economic and social issues in Ghana when I introduced HRH Prince Oheneba Yaw Otchere of Ashanti to HSH Hereditary Prince Alois von und zu Liechtenstein and subsequently with HSH Prince Philipp von und zu Liechtenstein, Honorary Chairman of the Liechtenstein Foundation. A number of possible areas of cooperation were reviewed.

I was invited the next day to a conference organised by the European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation (ECAEF). This body, chartered in Liechtenstein, has as its mission the pursuit of economic research using the underlying principles of the Austrian School of Economics. Core values include the promotion of self- responsibility, individual freedom, private property and free markets. The ECAEF conducts academic and applied research, organises international conferences and seminars, disseminates market-based ideas and is also the publisher of the bilingual book series “Studien zur Wirtschafts- und Gesellschaftsordnung”.

The presentations at the conference, commencing with a keynote prestation given by Otmar Issing, former member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank and ECB chief economist, were extremely relevant with respect to the current very challenging economic environment. Particularly interesting were the presentations by Lawrence White, American economics professor at George University, on the subject of “Gold or Bitcoin as an Alternative to Fiat Money” and George Seglin, American Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus of the Cato Institute's Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives, on the subject “Forward to the Past? Hayek, Free Bankingn and the Crypto Revolution”.

It was intriguing to see how many of the issues raised at the conference and also currently raging in connection with the role of crypto-currencies can be identified with arguments in Friedrich Hayek’s book “The Denationalisation of Money”, written 1976, in which the author advocated the establishment of competitively issued private currencies.

After the conference I spoke at length with Dr Kurt Leube, the scientific director of ECAEF. He worked with Friedrich Hayek at the University of Salzburg for a number of years and is now emeritus professor of economics at California State University, Hayward and teaches at Stanford University. We discussed in some detail how we could introduce the most important issues covered by the Austrian School of Economics into conferences or otherwise in the GCC.