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Austrian Student Scholars Conference Report


This weekend, I had the pleasure of traveling to Grove City College in Grove City, PA to attend the Austrian Student Scholars Conference.

I was a mere observer at this event – but what I observed was good scholarship and great fun.The Conference kicked off on Friday night with dinner (Beef Stroganoff) and mingling with the fellow scholars. That night, Benjamin Powell presented about statelessness in Somalia. The punchline: Somalia is generally better off without a state than it was with one. Also, Somalia is better off than many of its neighbors that have states.

On Saturday, there were eight sessions (running two at a time – I overheard Walter Block mourning the fact that he couldn’t attend all of them) for student presentations. Being a “Macro” guy, I attended sessions on Revisiting the Great Depression, For and Against Private Law, Austrian Views of Cycles and Investing, and Money.

Papers ran the gamut from a deconstruction of the Eichengreen-Temin argument for why the gold standard caused the Great Depression, to Stateless Law in Guatemala, to discussion of how exchange rates can impact the international production structure – and those were just papers that I heard presented.

Between sessions and during meals there was plenty of time to meet up with old friends and make new ones.

The conference concluded on Saturday night with Dr. Walter Block talking about his 41 years as an Austrian economist. From his humble beginnings as a pinko commie in Brooklyn to his years studying under Becker, the story of Dr. Block’s life unfolded. The talk ended with discussion of various Austrian distinctives and how they impact the way we look at economics. As always, Dr. Block proved entertaining and informative.

If you’re an Austrian student (in undergrad or grad schoool), I highly recommend presenting at ASSC – or, at the very least, attending to observe. You’ll come away from the weekend with new knowledge and new friends.

Lucas M. Engelhardt is an associate professor of Economics at Kent State University's Stark Campus. His work is in macroeconomics, primarily in examining how various assumptions about capital affect business cycle models.

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