he FMRS keynote presentation and discussion in Belgrade attracted people both in-person and online via Zoom and thus reached a broad audience across Serbia, beyond the Faculty of Economics at the University of Belgrade.
Professor Gissurarson opened the series of keynote presentations with a concise introduction to the conservative liberal tradition and pointed out that conservative liberalism is not a political ideology, but rather a set of principles, carefully matured over the past 800 years. The great economist Adam Smith built on the foundation of these principles and developed the discipline of economics as we know it today. Following on from this pioneering advance in thought, three Austrian economists, namely Menger, Mises and Hayek, utilized conservative liberal principles to explain spontaneous development, the impossibility of socialism as a means of production and to coherently explain the achievements of Western Civilization despite our ignorance. At this point, Professor Gissurarson reminded the audience that the attempts to radically and rapidly reconstruct society through revolution have but all been unsuccessful, as can be observed with the Russian and French revolutions. The successful English and American revolutions, however, have one thing in common; they sought to restore liberties.
Professor Gissurarson provided a detailed account of the most critical individuals who contributed to this tradition in his recent book “Twenty-four conservative liberal thinkers”.
Dr Kolm elucidated the foundations of sound money and provided a discussion on what its future might hold in light of the recent development, concerning monetary and fiscal policy decisions and inflation levels in Europe. Dr Kolm warned that the solutions of the past might not work for the problems we face today and that we must rely on sound economic principles and have regard for price signals. We must focus on increasing productivity and, as such, may have to accept a cut in wages. Times like this, call for turning off the money printing press and “a starving of the beast”.
The last keynote speech, given by Professor Lingle, pointed to the importance of private property in order to enable individuals to respond to market and price signals instantaneously, adapt to new circumstances and create value for society. He alluded to the problem that central planning offices and heavily government-regulated market segments are static and react very slowly to market stimulus. Unrestricted free trade offers consumers the greatest variety of fast and high-quality solutions and provides fertile ground for entrepreneurs and businesses alike, to create efficient answers to ever-emerging problems.