For 8 May 2023, the Austrian Institute in cooperation with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna invited Prof. Peter J. Boettke (George Mason University) to a public lecture in English entitled “Capitalism, Socialism and Our Future” at the “Haus der Industrie,” Vienna. The lecture was followed by a conversation between Prof. Boettke and the internationally renowned Hayek specialist Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Klausinger from the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU).
We had only learned at short notice that Prof. Boettke had to cancel his planned trip to Vienna for health reasons. Thanks to the support of those responsible for the technical equipment at the venue, the lecture, including a conversation with Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Klausinger, could be held in person, followed by a buffet. The keynote speaker was connected to the big screen via video conference. The video documents the entire event.
On the topic of the lecture
Criticism of capitalism and the market economy has intensified over the last years in the wake of financial crises, rising wealth inequality and inflation. Therefore, to many people, socialist solutions tend to appear more and more attractive. These solutions are often perceived by the general public as more “social” and as promising more stability.
Against the background of this intensified conflict between free and state-regulated or even planned economies, Peter Boettke revisits the classic debate between capitalism and socialism. In doing so, it is important to take into account the technological progress that has taken place in relation to the times of earlier debates and the changing historical context.
However, the question also arises today in a no less fundamental way: What is the future of market capitalism and liberal economic policy? This is a debate that is essentially about how wealth is created— and this, as the classical economists since Adam Smith have emphasized, not for the powerful and the producers, but for the consumers, i.e., for the great mass of people and thus precisely for the economically weakest layers of society.
Much depends on this debate for our future as well as for whether capitalism, the market economy and liberal economic policy remain the fundamental paradigm, especially for social reasons. If this debate is not conducted, however, our modern, liberal democracies will find themselves flying blind with an uncertain destination.
In an article by Stefan Beig on our Website, you will find a summary of the lecture and the following conversation as well as some athmospheric pictures.