Most economists are libertarian or libertarian

A battle in the central bank and why a right-wing man is honored there

From the current perspective, it is not really welcome. An international conference will take place on November 13th and 14th in the cash room of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB). According to the announcement on the Internet, the conference will be about "The Austrian School of Economics in the 21st Century", "Libertarian" economists will give the lectures, and those will also take part.

And: the controversial US historian, author, blogger and podcaster (Contra Krugman) Thomas Woods is about to be presented with the 2019 Hayek Lifetime Achievemet Award. Woods is considered a Murray Rothbard supporter; the US economist was a pioneer of the anarcho-capitalist movement and the Libertarian Party. Harvard and Columbia graduate Wood helped found the racist, white, and nationalist League of the South, which he supported. So you could safely call him an extreme right-wing man.

"Nowotny not responsible"

Events in the OeNB's cashier are not uncommon - but this is not without a certain piquancy. After all, co-organizer Kolm is Vice-President of the OeNB General Council, supported by the FPÖ. And: OeNB Governor Ewald Nowotny (SPÖ) apparently has no joy at all with the event in the cashier's hall. An OeNB spokesman: "This event has not been approved by Governor Nowotny."

Kolm confirms this: "I did not ask the current governor because that is not his responsibility." Nowotny is only in office until August 31; she discussed this with his successor Robert Holzmann.

Not yet studied

That's right, says Holzmann: "I am certainly planning to approve it. Even if there are people who do not necessarily represent my economic direction." He was "intellectually more open", one should discuss more, especially opposing opinions. Holzmann, who will move into the OeNB on September 1st on an FPÖ ticket: "That is what makes progress." But he admits that he has not yet studied the invitation in detail - he will still do that.

Kolm explains the choice of the venue in her role as the head of the Austrian Economics and Hayek Institute as follows: Many conferences would take place at the OeNB, and papers by renowned economists from the Austrian School could certainly be discussed there. Wasn't Woods the winner of an extremely right-wing Rothbard economist? No, Rothbard's school "is not extreme right, it is libertarian," and the same applies to Woods' economic theses. That's why he got the Hayek Prize: He had sparked a broad discussion on the subject of liberalism and freedom and thus made a contribution to the plurality of opinions.

Awards ceremony outsourced

When asked whether the future governor knew the prize-winner, Kolm said that one could assume that Woods is known to all well-known domestic economists. As far as the award ceremony is concerned, it will not take place in the OeNB anyway.

And what will renting in the checkout room cost? Kolm remains vague, while Holzmann assumes "minimal" costs.

In fact, a day in the cash register costs 4000 euros all in all. Catering not included. (15.6.2019)