On 15th January,  Dr Barbara Kolm, Director of the Austrian Economics Center, delivered the Keynote Presentation Between Stagnation and Recovery at the British Embassy’s annual UK Trade and Investment Forum for 2015.

Dr Kolm’s presentation gave a brief but poignant review of Europe’s performance following the financial crisis, urging political leaders to put continuous structural reform back on the agenda.

The EU economy is struggling to shake off its lethargy. Since the crisis struck, most Member States have been unable to generate or sustain strong economic momentum. While the recovery from such a deep crisis had been expected to be very subdued, the persistence of weak growth dynamics suggests that the EU’s current predicament is particular.”

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by Enrico Colombatto

The euro exchange rate could lose further ground in the next few weeks. Is this good or bad news and what does it mean for European companies? Not much will change for companies which decided to play for time, shied away from global competition and tried to look for help through subsidies and friendly regulation. By contrast, global players who, despite European stagnation, resisted the temptation to relocate to low-cost, low-productivity countries, and engaged in technological renovation, will reap significant rewards in higher profits and increased opportunities to expand on world markets. The euro will see increased volatility, rather than further sharp depreciation, while a weak euro will encourage new entrepreneurs to emerge.

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by John Charalambakis

As it is widely expected, the ECB will unveil today its own version of QE. Welcome to a dead-end where central banks may resemble Prometheus bound by chains made by his own hands!

As I wrote late last year we may be entering a historical year where the greenback and gold could be moving upwards at the same time, proving that gold is simply another form of money, especially when central bankers are in an intense race of cheapening currencies. The expectation is that the ECB may announce a QE program which until the end of 2016 will “pump” close to $1.3 trillion via purchases of third-party liabilities (a.k.a. bonds) in the hope that this will revive the EU economy.

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by Daniel Hannan

This will be the last time anti-globalisers protest at the World Economic Forum in Davos. From 2016, the ministers, chief executives, columnists and assorted quangocrats who gather at the Swiss resort won’t see so much as a stray dreadlock: eco-protesters say the meeting is no longer worth picketing.

You can see why they might feel conflicted. Davos is a place where powerful people pick up consultancies and directorships and international posts. Left-wingers rightly resent this.

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Soaking the rich has been a common theme in American politics. Even individuals like Thomas Jefferson and J.B. Say condoned placing a higher burden on the rich because “they” can afford it. It is also politically expedient; the rich are much fewer in numbers and have a smaller voting bloc that politicians can spare losing. Most people have what Mises called the “Fourier complex”, the envy for the wealth and better conditions of others. They would also rather distribute fairness though they may gain nothing from it, or even lose from it.

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by Richard Rahn

People are a bit more free and prosperous as a result of the work of Gary Becker, John Blundell, Leonard Liggio, Gordon Tullock and Henry Manne, all of whom passed away during the last eight months.

Henry Manne, dean emeritus of the George Mason University Law School, and one of the founders of the field of law and economics, died this past Saturday, at age 86. Most lawyers know little about economics, and as a result, many judges make unnecessarily harmful decisions.

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by John P. Cochran

As highlighted by David Henderson and Peter Boettke, markets and competition are like weeds, not delicate flowers. Economies recover even from severe boom-bust episodes and despite growth-retarding regime uncertainty. Even burdensome regulation, per Pierre Lemieux, causes a “slow-motion collapse” or stagnation, not a crash. But one thing can be counted on, as innovation or recovery begin to deliver additional spending power to the productive class of the economy, the “unmet needs” crowd will just as quickly be out clamoring for a heightened government share of the ‘bounty’ for some imagined greater public good.

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by Nicole Kardell

The FBI wants to search through your electronic life. You may think it’s a given that the government is in the business of collecting everyone’s personal data — Big Brother run amok in defiance of the Constitution. But under the limits of the Fourth Amendment, nothing it finds can be used to prosecute its targets. Now the FBI is taking steps to carry out broad searches and data collection under the color of authority, making all of us more vulnerable to “fishing expeditions.”

The investigative arm of the Department of Justice is attempting to short-circuit the legal checks of the Fourth Amendment by requesting a change in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

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by Nima Sanandaji

How can Scandinavians tax so much? This is the question that Henrik Jacobsen Kleven, professor of Economics at London School of Economics, explores in a new paper. The author gives a number of valuable insights. To begin with, Scandinavian welfare policies are not as progressively tilted towards income distribution as foreign observers might assume. Much of public spending is “subsidization of goods that are complementary to working”. This means that governments pay for programs such as care of children and the elderly, so that working age individuals can focus more effort on their careers.

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See the Austrian Economics Center (AEC) at the 8th Annual International Students For Liberty Conference February 13-15, 2015 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington D.C.! At ISFLC, the AEC will be tabling at the liberty fair and distributing materials.

 As the premiere libertarian event of the year, the International Students For Liberty Conference (ISFLC) brings together the world’s biggest crowd of pro-liberty students for a weekend celebration of the cause of freedom. Last year’s ISFLC had over 1,200 attendees from all seven continents and this year’s conference is expected to be bigger and better than ever with more than 1,600 attendees.

 Students will hear from speakers such as Dr. Ron Paul, Judge Andrew Napolitano, and Congressmen Justin Amash and Thomas Massie and will participate in a live taping of the STOSSEL Show. Other highlights include a liberty fair, an art show, and a history exhibit! Registration opens on Friday at 2 pm. Click here for more information and to register.

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