Or­askipti vi­ Illuga J÷kulsson

Illugi J÷kulsson birti fŠrslu n˙na Ý morgun:

Ma­ur nokkur fˇr frß Jer˙salem ofan til JerÝkˇ og fÚll Ý hendur rŠningjum. Ůeir flettu hann klŠ­um og b÷r­u hann, hurfu brott sÝ­an og lÚtu hann eftir dau­vona. Svo vildi til a­ prestur nokkur fˇr ofan sama veg og sß manninn en sveig­i fram hjß. „Innvi­irnir eru komnir a­ ■olm÷rkum, Úg get ekkert li­ lagt,“ sag­i presturinn vi­ sjßlfan sig. Eins kom og LevÝti ■ar a­, sß manninn og sveig­i fram hjß. „Vi­ erum n˙ ■egar a­ hjßlpa fleirum en Nor­url÷ndin samanl÷g­,“ hugsa­i LevÝtinn. En Samverji nokkur, er var ß fer­, kom a­ honum og er hann sß manninn kenndi hann Ý brjˇsti um hann, gekk til hans, batt um sßr hans og hellti Ý ■au vi­smj÷ri og vÝni. Og hann setti hann ß sinn eigin eyk, flutti hann til gistih˙ss og lÚt sÚr annt um hann. Daginn eftir tˇk hann upp tvo denara, fÚkk gestgjafanum og mŠlti: „Lßt ■Úr annt um hann og ■a­ sem ■˙ kostar meira til skal Úg borga ■Úr ■egar Úg kem aftur.“ Hver ■essara ■riggja sřnist ■Úr hafa reynst nßungi ■eim manni sem fÚll Ý hendur rŠningjum?
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╔g svara­i:
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Ů˙ gleymir řmsu: 1) Presturinn og levÝtinn voru ˙r flokki ykkar menntamannanna, har­brjˇsta mŠlskumenn. 2) Samverjinn ger­i gˇ­verk sitt fyrir eigi­ fÚ, ekki annarra. Ůi­ vinstri menn geri­ ÷ll ykkar gˇ­verk ß kostna­ annarra. 3) Samverjinn var afl÷gufŠr, svo a­ ■etta var r÷ksemd fyrir ■vÝ, a­ til vŠri efnafˇlk. 4) Ma­urinn var rŠndur, af ■vÝ a­ ekki var haldi­ uppi l÷gum og reglu ß veginum frß Jˇrs÷lum til JerÝkˇ. Ůa­ er einmitt erfitt a­ halda uppi l÷gum og reglu, ■ar sem fj÷lmennir hˇpar ganga Ý li­ me­ stigam÷nnunum, eins og gerist Ý SvÝ■jˇ­ og vÝ­ar ß Nor­url÷ndum. GlŠpatÝ­ni er mest me­al PalestÝnu-Araba, og l÷greglan hŠttir sÚr ekki inn Ý sum hverfi. Viljum vi­ hafa sama ßstand og ß veginum milli Jˇrsala og JerÝkˇ?

Sagnritun dr. Gylfa (4)

W08_Thorvaldur_Gylfason_speaker_ArnarhollNřlega sag­i dr. Gylfi ZoŰga Ý mßlgagni vinstri÷fgamanna, Heimildinni, a­ „margir“ reyndu a­ skrifa s÷gu bankahrunsins upp ß nřtt. Hann ßtti vi­ mig, en Úg hef sett fram ■ß sko­un, a­ bankahruni­ hafi veri­ „svartur svanur“, ˇvŠntur atbur­ur, sem a­eins sÚ fyrirsjßanlegur eftir ß. En au­vita­ er ■a­ rÚtt, sem kom fram Ý skřrslu rannsˇknarnefndar Al■ingis ß bankahruninu, a­ Ýslensku au­j÷frarnir fˇru langt fram ˙r sjßlfum sÚr. Ůegar fyrrverandi rß­amenn eru hins vegar gagnrřndir fyrir a­ hafa ekki haldi­ ■eim Ý skefjum, ver­ur ekki a­eins a­ hafa Ý huga takmarka­ar valdheimildir ■eirra, heldur lÝka hi­ einkennilega andr˙msloft Ý landinu. Ůegar voldugasti au­j÷furinn, Jˇn ┴sgeir Jˇhannesson, sŠtti ßkŠru vori­ 2005 fyrir řmis efnahagsbrot, skrifa­i vinur dr. Gylfa, Ůorvaldur Gylfason: „N˙ vir­ist standa til a­ jafna um Jˇn ┴sgeir og fimm menn a­ra fyrir rÚtti. Hva­ břr a­ baki?“
Rannsˇknarnefnd Al■ingis saka­i Ý skřrslu sinni sj÷ fyrrverandi rß­amenn um vanrŠkslu, ■ˇtt h˙n beitti l÷gum afturvirkt, ■vÝ a­ h˙n vÝsa­i a­eins Ý l÷gin um nefndina sjßlfa, og ■au voru ekki sett fyrr en Ý ßrslok 2008. En spyrja mß: Hvers vegna var ■ß Ingibj÷rg Sˇlr˙n GÝsladˇttir ekki s÷ku­ um vanrŠkslu? H˙n haf­i afgreitt vi­varanir DavÝ­s Oddssonar se­labankastjˇra sem „˙taustur eins manns“ og hvatt bankana Ý septemberbyrjun 2008 til a­ halda ßfram innlßnas÷fnun sinni erlendis. H˙n bar lÝka ßbyrg­ ß ■vÝ, sem var lÝklega eina alvarlega broti­ ß gˇ­um stjˇrnsřsluvenjum Ý a­draganda bankahrunsins, a­ bankamßlarß­herrann var ekki haf­ur me­ Ý rß­um Ý Glitniskaupunum. Og hva­ um Jˇn Sigur­sson, formann stjˇrnar fjßrmßlaeftirlitsins? SamkvŠmt l÷gum ßtti forstjˇri fjßrmßlaeftirlitsins a­ bera allar „meiri hßttar ßkvar­anir“ undir stjˇrnina. Var Jˇni hlÝft, af ■vÝ a­ hann var Šskuvinur f÷­ur eins nefndarmannsins, SigrÝ­ar Benediktsdˇttur? Og haf­i ■a­ einhver ßhrif, a­ varaforma­ur stjˇrnarinnar var gift einum starfsbrˇ­ur annars nefndarmanns, Pßls Hreinssonar? ╔g tek fram, a­ meira mßli skiptir a­ lŠra af reynslunni en leita uppi s÷kudˇlga, og eflaust er dr. Gylfi sammßla mÚr um ■a­. En rß­amennirnir sj÷, sem rannsˇknarnefndin hjˇ til, voru engu meiri s÷kudˇlgar en ■au Ingibj÷rg Sˇlr˙n og Jˇn. Ůetta fˇlk var allt a­ reyna a­ gera sitt besta.

(Frˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 3. febr˙ar 2024.)


Sagnritun dr. Gylfa (3)

DarlingBrown.KenJack:AlamyNřlega sag­i dr. Gylfi ZoŰga Ý mßlgagni vinstri÷fgamanna, Heimildinni, a­ „margir“ reyndu a­ skrifa s÷gu Ýslenska bankahrunsins upp ß nřtt. Hann ßtti vi­ mig, ■ˇtt Úg sÚ ekki a­ reyna a­ endurskrifa s÷guna, heldur hafa ■a­, sem sannara reynist. HÚr skal Úg benda ß fjˇrar mikilvŠgar sta­reyndir um bankahruni­, sem Úg hef bent ß, en a­rir leitt hjß sÚr, ■ar ß me­al dr. Gylfi.
Fyrsta sta­reyndin er, a­ rÝkisstjˇrn breska Verkamannaflokksins ■urfti ekki a­ beita hry­juverkal÷gum til a­ koma Ý veg fyrir hugsanlega ˇl÷glega fjßrmagnsflutninga frß Bretlandi til ═slands. Ůegar haf­i veri­ girt fyrir ■ann m÷guleika me­ tilskipun Breska fjßrmßlaeftirlitsins til Landsbankans 3. oktˇber 2008, ■ar sem bankanum var banna­ a­ flytja fÚ ˙r landi nema me­ skriflegu leyfi fjßrmßlaeftirlitsins og ■riggja daga fyrirvara. (Ůa­ reyndist ekki heldur vera fˇtur fyrir ßs÷kunum um ˇl÷glega fjßrmagnsflutninga Kaup■ings til ═slands, enda ■agna­i allt tal um ■a­ skyndilega.)
Ínnur sta­reyndin er, a­ rÝkisstjˇrn breska Verkamannaflokksins braut samninginn um Evrˇpska efnahagssvŠ­i­, ■egar h˙n bjarga­i ÷llum breskum b÷nkum ÷­rum en ■eim tveimur, sem voru Ý eigu ═slendinga, Heritable og KSF. Me­ ■vÝ mismuna­i stjˇrnin eftir ■jˇ­erni, sem var banna­ samkvŠmt samningnum og lÝka Rˇmarsßttmßlanum. Fur­u sŠtir, a­ framkvŠmdastjˇrn Evrˇpusambandsins skuli ekki hafa gert athugasemd vi­ ■etta.
Ůri­ja sta­reyndin er, a­ ■essir tveir bankar, Heritable og KSF, sem bresk stjˇrnv÷ld loku­u, um lei­ og ■au bj÷rgu­u ÷llum ÷­rum breskum b÷nkum, reyndust eiga fyrir skuldum, ■egar upp var sta­i­. Svo vir­ist sem sumir a­rir breskir bankar, sem fengu a­sto­, til dŠmis RBS, Royal Bank of Scotland, hafi hins vegar ekki ßtt fyrir skuldum, ■ˇtt kapp sÚ lagt ß a­ fela tapi­ og fresta uppgj÷rum.
Fjˇr­a sta­reyndin er, a­ Ýslensku bankarnir ger­ust ekki sekir um nŠrri ■vÝ eins alvarleg brot og til dŠmis Danske Bank, sem var­ uppvÝs a­ stˇrkostlegu peninga■vŠtti, og RBS, sem tˇk ■ßtt Ý ˇl÷glegri hagrŠ­ingu vaxta ß millibankamarka­i. Ůa­ er kaldhŠ­ni ÷rlaganna, a­ Danske Bank og RBS hef­u bß­ir falli­ hausti­ 2008, hef­u ■eir ekki fengi­ lausafjßra­sto­ frß bandarÝska se­labankanum og Englandsbanka.

(Frˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 27. jan˙ar 2024.)


Sagnritun dr. Gylfa (2)

RNA═ nřlegri grein Ý mßlgagni vinstri÷fgamanna, Heimildinni, kve­ur dr. Gylfa ZoŰga marga reyna a­ endurrita s÷gu bankahrunsins. Me­ ■essum „m÷rgu“ ß hann vi­ mig. En mßli­ snřst ekki um a­ endurrita neina s÷gu, heldur hafa ■a­, sem sannara reynist. Gylfi sty­st vi­ skřrslu rannsˇknarnefndar Al■ingis ß bankahruninu. ┴ henni eru margir annmarkar. Einn er, a­ nefndin yfirheyr­i menn ekki Ý heyranda hljˇ­i eins og rannsˇknarnefndir Ý Bretlandi og BandarÝkjunum gera. E­lilegt hef­i veri­ a­ sjˇnvarpa beint frß yfirheyrslunum. Ůess Ý sta­ valdi nefndin sjßlf ˙r ■a­, sem h˙n taldi eiga erindi Ý skřrslu sÝna. Stakk h˙n řmsu forvitnilegu undir stˇl.

Annar annmarki er, a­ nefndin einblÝndi ß innlenda ■Štti bankahrunsins, sem vissulega voru mikilvŠgir, en setti ■a­ ekki Ý al■jˇ­legt samhengi. Ůa­ var h÷r­ fjßrmßlakreppa Ý heiminum, sem skall af meiri ■unga ß ═slandi en ÷­rum l÷ndum.

Ůri­ji annmarkinn er, a­ nefndin veitti ˇfullkomna skřringu ß bankahruninu. H˙n sag­i bankana hafa falli­, ■vÝ a­ ■eir hef­u veri­ of stˇrir. R÷klega er ■essi skřring svipu­ ■eirri, a­ gler brotni, af ■vÝ a­ ■a­ sÚ brothŠtt, e­a ˇpÝum svŠfi vegna svŠfingarmßttar sÝns. StŠr­in var nau­synlegt, en ekki nŠgilegt skilyr­i fyrir bankahruninu. Svissnesku bankarnir hrundu ekki, og var stŠr­ ■eirra ■ˇ tÝf÷ld landsframlei­sla. SamkvŠmt ˙treikningum dr. Gylfa sjßlfs var stŠr­ Ýslenska bankakerfisins fyrir hrun ■ess um 7,8-f÷ld landsframlei­sla.

Fjˇr­i annmarkinn ß skřrslu nefndarinnar er, a­ h˙n vildi sefa almenning me­ ■vÝ a­ leita uppi s÷kudˇlga Ý hˇpi rß­amanna, en fann enga (■ˇtt gagnrřni hennar ß bankamenn vŠri um margt rÚttmŠt). Ůess vegna skapa­i nefndin s÷kudˇlga me­ ■vÝ a­ vÝkka ˙t vanrŠksluhugtak gildandi laga, svo a­ h˙n gŠti saka­ sj÷ rß­amenn um vanrŠkslu. L÷gfrŠ­ingarnir Ý nefndinni, Pßll Hreinsson og Tryggvi Gunnarsson, vissu, hva­ ■eir voru a­ gera. Ůeir tˇku ŠtÝ­ fram, a­ vanrŠkslan vŠri Ý skilningi laganna um nefndina, sem sett voru eftir bankahruni­. Til ■ess a­ sefa almenning beittu ■eir l÷gum afturvirkt.

(Frˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 20. jan˙ar 2024.)


Sagnritun dr. Gylfa (1)

Dr. Gylfi ZoŰga prˇfessor birti nřlega grein um bankahruni­ Ý mßlgagni Ýslenskra vinstri÷fgamanna, Heimildinni. Ůar segir hann marga hafa reynt a­ skrifa s÷guna upp ß nřtt. Ůeir haldi ■vÝ fram, a­ hi­ sama hafi gerst erlendis og hÚr ß landi, a­ Bretar og Hollendingar hafi komi­ illa fram vi­ okkur og a­ innlend stjˇrnv÷ld hafi sta­i­ sig vel eftir bankahruni­. Hann telur sannleikskorn Ý ■essum ■remur sko­unum, en a­alatri­i­ sÚ a­ koma Ý veg fyrir nřtt bankahrun.
Taleb_mugLÝklega ß Úg a­ taka snei­ina til mÝn. En Úg hef ekki reynt a­ skrifa s÷guna upp ß nřtt, heldur hafa ■a­, sem sannara reynist. ╔g held, a­ bankahruni­ hafi or­i­ fyrir samverkan margra ˇlÝkra ■ßtta, sem af řmsum ßstŠ­um togu­u allir Ý s÷mu ßtt. Ůetta hafi veri­ „svartur svanur“, eins og Nassim Taleb kallar ■a­: mikill, ˇvŠntur og ˇlÝklegur atbur­ur, sem ver­ur ekki fyrirsjßanlegur, fyrr en hann er or­inn. Eins og skßldi­ sag­i: Ůa­ var ekki fyrr en eftir hruni­ sem allir sßu ■a­ fyrir.
Ůessir ■Šttir voru: 1) Eigendur bankanna h÷f­u teki­ lßn fyrir hlutabrÚfum sÝnum og sßu ver­mŠti ■eirra snarminnka Ý kreppunni frß hausti 2007. 2) ═slendingar h÷f­u komi­ sÚr ˙t ˙r h˙si Ý Danm÷rku, og Danske Bank vann gegn ■eim. 3) Eigendur bankanna nutu lÝtils trausts erlendis. 4) Vogunarsjˇ­ir ve­ju­u ˇspart gegn b÷nkunum. 5) Se­labankar G-10 rÝkjanna sammŠltust um ■a­ Ý maÝ 2008 a­ veita ═slandi ekki lausafjßra­sto­. 6) Innlßnas÷fnun bankanna erlendis mŠltist illa fyrir. 7) Se­labanki Evrˇpu kraf­ist betri trygginga en bankarnir gßtu veitt. 8) BandarÝkin skeyttu engu um ÷rl÷g ═slands. 9) ForsŠtisrß­herra og fjßrmßlarß­herra Breta voru bß­ir Skotar og vildu sřna kjˇsendum sÝnum, a­ sjßlfstŠ­i vŠri varhugavert. 10) Lehman Brothers fÚll, sk÷mmu ß­ur en stˇrt lßn Glitnis var ß gjalddaga, svo a­ kreppan har­na­i og bankinn gat ekki ˙tvega­ sÚr fÚ. 11) Kaup rÝkisins ß Glitni mistˇkust, ekki sÝst ■egar a­aleigendurnir fˇru Ý herfer­ gegn ■eim. Trausti­ minnka­i Ý sta­ ■ess a­ aukast. 12) Samfylkingin var h÷fu­laus her, ■vÝ a­ forma­ur hennar lß ß sj˙krah˙si.

(Frˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 13. jan˙ar 2024.)


Nř sřn ß g÷mul deilumßl

David_Friedman_by_Gage_Skidmore┴ri­ 2023 fˇr Úg vÝ­a og hlusta­i ß marga fyrirlestra. Tveir voru frˇ­legastir. Prˇfessor David D. Friedman, sem lauk doktorsprˇfi Ý e­lisfrŠ­i, en hefur l÷ngum starfa­ sem hagfrŠ­iprˇfessor, tala­i ßárß­stefnu Ý Lissabon Ý aprÝl. Hann mi­ar r÷krŠ­unnar vegna vi­ spßlÝk÷n millirÝkjanefndar Sameinu­u ■jˇ­anna um hlřnun jar­ar, en reynir a­ bera saman kostna­ og ßbata af hinni hugsanlegu hlřnun. Ni­ursta­a hans er, a­ erfitt sÚ e­a ˇkleift a­ sřna fram ß, a­ kostna­urinn ver­i meiri en ßbatinn. Frˇ­legt var a­ hlusta ß hann fara yfir mßli­ og vitaskuld forvitnilegt a­ gera ■ennan samanbur­, en einblÝna ekki ß a­ra hli­ina.

Phil Gramm, sem var lengi bandarÝskur ÷ldungadeildar■ingma­ur, en ■ar ß undan hagfrŠ­iprˇfessor, tala­i ß rß­stefnu Ý Bretton Woods Ý nˇvember. Hann lei­ir r÷k a­ ■vÝ, a­ t÷lur frß bandarÝsku hagstofunni um tekjudreifingu veiti ekki rÚtta mynd af kj÷rum BandarÝkjamanna. ËlÝkt ■vÝ sem gerist vÝ­ast annars sta­ar sÚu tekjurnar ekki rß­st÷funartekjur, reikna­ar eftir skatta og bŠtur. Skattar lenda af miklu meiri ■unga ß tekjuhßu fˇlki, en bŠtur renna Ý miklu meira mŠli til tekjulßgs fˇlks. Ůegar teki­ er tillit til ■ess, ver­ur tekjudreifingin miklu jafnari. Gramm bendir ß, a­ heildarneysla tekjulŠgsta hˇpsins samkvŠmt t÷lum bandarÝsku hagstofunnar nemi um tv÷f÷ldum heildartekjum hans fyrir skatta og bŠtur.

Gramm segir, a­ samkvŠmt nřjustu opinberum t÷lum sÚu tekjur 20% tekjuhŠsta hˇpsins Ý BandarÝkjunum um 17-faldar tekjur 20% tekjulŠgsta hˇpsins. En bili­ minnkar stˇrkostlega, eftir a­ reikna­ hefur veri­ me­ sk÷ttum og bˇtum. Ůß sÚu tekjur 20% tekjuhŠsta hˇpsins um fjˇrfaldar tekjur 20% tekjulŠgsta hˇpsins. Gramm heldur ■vÝ fram, a­ Ý raun hafi fßtŠkt minnka­ Ý BandarÝkjunum sÝ­ustu ßratugi og tekjudreifing or­i­ jafnari.

(Frˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 6. jan˙ar 2024.)


Deila okkar Evu Hauksdˇttur um PalestÝnu-Araba

╔g setti fŠrslu ß Facebook:

Ůa­ er ˇ­s manns Š­i a­ hleypa fleiri PalestÝnu-Ar÷bum inn Ý landi­. Danir hleyptu inn 321 ßri­ 1992, og n˙ er komin reynsla af ■vÝ. 204 hafa hloti­ dˇm fyrir margvÝsleg afbrot, og 176 eru ß opinberu framfŠri. T÷lur frß Nor­url÷ndunum, ■ar ß me­al SvÝ■jˇ­, sřna, a­ glŠpatÝ­ni er mest hjß PalestÝnu-Ar÷bum, en nŠstmest hjß Sřrlendingum. Au­vita­ mß ekki dŠma heila ■jˇ­ eftir ■essu, en ■a­ ■rÝfst einhver ofbeldismenning hjß ■eim, sem vi­ rß­um illa vi­. (╔g geri ekki rß­ fyrir, a­ neinn taki mark ß ■essum varna­aror­um mÝnum, en Úg vil geta rifja­ ■au upp eftir nokkur ßr.)

Eva Hauksdˇttir spur­i:

┴ttu vi­ a­ ef fˇlk er Ý lÝfshŠttu ■ß eigi lÝkurnar ß ■vÝ a­ ■a­ muni brjˇta af sÚr og ■iggja framfŠrslustyrki Ý framtÝ­inni a­ rß­a ■vÝ hvort bj÷rgunara­ger­ir ver­i reyndar? E­a ß ■a­ eing÷ngu vi­ ef ■a­ eru arabar sem eru Ý hŠttu?

╔g svara­i:

Ůa­ vŠri eflaust ofsagt, a­ Ýb˙arnir ß Gasa svŠ­inu bŠru einhverja hˇpßbyrg­ ß ˇdŠ­um Hamas li­a, enda tel Úg, a­ hˇp- e­a samßbyrg­arhugtaki­ sÚ ofnota­. Menn bera a­allega ßbyrg­ ß eigin ger­um og ekki annarra. En ■a­ breytir ■vÝ ekki, a­ ■essir Ýb˙ar vir­ast langflestir sty­ja Hamas li­a, ekki a­eins mi­a­ vi­ fagna­arlŠtin ß torgum ˙ti eftir ßrßsina ß ═srael 7. oktˇber, heldur lÝka samkvŠmt sko­anak÷nnunum, sem Pew og fleiri gera. Vi­ erum engir a­ilar a­ ■essari deilu, sem ß rŠtur sÝnar Ý, a­ ArabarÝkin neitu­u a­ taka ß mˇti flˇttam÷nnum frß ═srael. Vi­ ■urftum ekki a­ taka ß mˇti ■eirri einni milljˇn Grikkja, sem flř­u frß Tyrklandi eftir 1920, ■eim 400 ■˙sund Finnum, sem flř­u frß KarelÝu ßri­ 1944, ■eim 700 ■˙sund fr÷nskumŠlandi AlsÝrb˙um, sem flř­u frß AlsÝr ßri­ 1962, og okkur ber ekki skylda til a­ taka ß mˇti m÷rg hundru­ ■˙sund Armenum, sem ■urfa n˙ a­ flřja frß Nagorno-Karabak, e­a ÷­rum eins fj÷lda Afgana, sem ■urfa n˙ a­ flřja frß Pakistan. Ůa­ stendur ÷­rum nŠr. Grikkland tˇk ß mˇti Grikkjunum, Finnland tˇk ß mˇti Finnunum, Frakkar tˇku ß mˇti AlsÝrb˙unum, ArmenÝa er a­ taka ß mˇti Armenunum, og Afganistan ver­ur a­ taka ß mˇti Afg÷nunum. Af hverju taka ArabarÝkin ekki ß mˇti ■essum flˇttam÷nnum? Eru ■etta ekki allt Arabar? Hva­ um brŠ­ralag m˙slima? Nˇg eiga ■essi rÝki af fÚ eftir a­ hafa okra­ ß olÝu ßratugum saman. Af hverju bera hßvŠrustu gagnrřnendur ═sraels ß ═sland, ■Šr Helga Kress, Pia Hansson og Sema Serdaroglu, a­eins umhyggju fyrir sumum, en ekki ÷llum?


Rannsˇknarskřrsla mÝn fyrir 2023

Ritrřnd ˙tgßfa me­ al■jˇ­lega skÝrskotun

Kápa.FourIcelandicSagasThe Icelandic Sagas. Collection of Four Short Sagas. Almenna bˇkafÚlagi­, ReykjavÝk 2023. ┌tdrßttur ß ensku ˙r The Saga of Burnt Njal (Brennu-Njßls saga), 48 bls., The Saga of Gudrid (EirÝks saga rau­a og GrŠnlendinga saga), 42 bls., The Saga of Egil (Egils saga), 35 bls., og The Saga of Gudrun (LaxdŠla), 34 bls. ┴samt stuttum inngangi a­ hverri s÷gu. S÷gurnar fjˇrar eru settar saman Ý eina ÷skju.

Nordic Liberalism. An Anthology. Ritstjˇrn og inngangur. Brussels: New Direction [loki­ 2023, vŠntanlegt Ý ßrsbyrjun 2024].

European Conservative Liberalism: North and South. Brussels: ECR, European Conservatives and Reformists [loki­ 2023, vŠntanlegt Ý ßrsbyrjun 2024].

Ritrřnt ˙tgßfa fyrir sta­bundi­ frŠ­asamfÚlag

RŠtur frelsisins. Greinasafn. ReykjavÝk: Almenna bˇkafÚlagi­ [loki­ 2023, vŠntanlegt Ý ßrsbyrjun 2024].

Frˇ­leiksmolar ˙r s÷gu og samtÝ­. ReykjavÝk: Almenna bˇkafÚlagi­ [loki­ 2023, vŠntanlegt Ý ßrsbyrjun 2024].

Erindi ß al■jˇ­legum rß­stefnum

European Culture from a Conservative-Liberal Point of View. Erindi ß menningarhelgi ECR, European Conservatives and Reformists, Ý Split Ý KrˇatÝu 31. mars–1. aprÝl 2023.

Reforming the European Union. Erindi ß al■jˇ­legri rß­stefnu European Resource Bank 14.–16. aprÝl 2023 Ý Porto Ý Port˙gal.

Champions of Liberty: Hannes H. Gissurarson.áDagskrß helgu­ mÚr Ý tilefni sj÷tugsafmŠlis mÝns ß 600 manna al■jˇ­legri rß­stefnu, European Students for Liberty, ÝáLissabon 23. aprÝl 2023.

HHG.12.05.2023.2Lokaor­ ß al■jˇ­legri rß­stefnu FÚlagsvÝsindasvi­s Hßskˇla ═slands mÚr til hei­urs 12. maÝ 2023.

Can liberals and conservatives still get along? Erindi ß al■jˇ­legri rß­stefnu New Direction og annarra rannsˇknastofnana Ý Madrid 21.–22. september 2023.

Erindi ß mßlstofum og fundum

The Conservative-Liberal Approach to Some Current Problems. Erindi ß rß­stefnu ECR Ý Lund˙num 14. jan˙ar 2023.

GeirHHarde.HHG.OgmundurLandsdˇmsmßli­. Erindi ß rß­stefnu Stofnunar stjˇrnsřslufrŠ­a og stjˇrnmßla 16. jan˙ar 2023.

Towards a better future. Erindi ß mßlstofu, Free Market Road Show og University of Bristol Liberty Society, Ý Bristol-hßskˇla 17. aprÝl 2023.

The Role of Entrepreneurs and Venture Capitalists in the Free Market Order. Erindi ß mßlstofu, Free Market Road Show, Cobden Centre og Ayn Rand Centre, London 18. aprÝl 2023.

Piketty and Redistribution: A Critique. Erindi ß mßlstofu, Free Market Road Show og IREF (Institute of Research in Economic and Fiscla Issues), Ý Sorbonne-hßskˇla, ParÝs 19. aprÝl 2023.

Rawls and Redistribution: A Critique. Erindi ß mßlstofu, Free Market Road Show og Neederlands Instituut voor Praxeologie, Amsterdam 20. aprÝl 2023.

Nordic Conservatism in a European Perspective. Erindi ß rß­stefnu norrŠnna Ýhaldsst˙denta Ý Helsinki 20. maÝ 2023.

Nordic Conservatism. Erindi ß sumarskˇla New Direction, Oikos og Konservativa f÷rbundet Ý Sundbyholm-h÷ll 16.–18. j˙nÝ 2023.

Greinar Ý ritrřndum tÝmaritum

The 1941 Hoff-Frisch Correspondence. Ůř­ing ß ensku ßsamt inngangi ß brÚfaskiptum dr. Trygve Hoff og prˇfessors Ragnars Frisch ßri­ 1941 ß norsku um sˇsÝalisma. Sam■. til ˙tgßfu Ý Econ Watch Journal.

The Impeachment of Geir H. Haarde, Part I: Political Machinations and Legal Manoeuvres. The European Conservative, May 2023.

The Impeachment of Geir H. Haarde, Part II: A Flawed and Biased Process.áThe European Conservative, May 2023.

The Impeachment of Geir H. Haarde, Part III: Conclusions.áThe European Conservative, May 2023.

VÝsindami­slun ß fagsvi­i starfsmanns

1. ╔g skrifa­i fastan dßlk Ý veftÝmariti­ The Conservative:

Conservatives and Classical Liberals: Natural Allies.áEuropean Diary: The Escorial, June 2021. The Conservative 20. oktˇber 2023.

The Right Responses to the Left.áEuropean Diary: Lisbon, September 2021. The Conservative 23. oktˇber 2023.

Balzac Refutes Piketty.áEuropean Diary: Paris, October 2021. The Conservative 27. oktˇber 2023.

Vices, Not Crimes.áEuropean Diary: Akureyri, October 2021. The Conservative 27. oktˇber 2023.

The City of His Dreams.áEuropean Diary: Vienna, November 2021. The Conservative 12. nˇvember 2023.

Poland’s Road from Communism.áEuropean Diary: Warsaw, November 2021. The Conservative 26. nˇvember 2023.

Commercial Society Creates, Not Only Dissolves.áEuropean Diary: Budapest, November 2021. The Conservative 26. nˇvember 2023.

Snorri Sturluson as a Conservative Liberal.áEuropean Diary: Reykjavik, December 2021. The Conservative 26. nˇvember 2023.

When Prometheus Becomes Procrustes.áEuropean Diary: Prague, November 2021. The Conservative 26. nˇvember 2023.

Threats to Digital Freedom.áEuropean Diary: Rome, December 2021. The Conservative, 8. desember 2023.

Small States Feasible, Efficient, and Desirable.áEuropean Diary: Ljubljana, May 2022. The Conservative 14. desember 2023.

Catholicism and Capitalism Are Compatible.áEuropean Diary: Zagreb, May 2022. The Conservative 16. desember 2023.

An Early Critic of Unlimited Government.áEuropean Diary: Reykholt, April 2022. The Conservative 8. desember 2023.

Make Trade, Not War.áEuropean Diary: Sarajevo, May 2022. The Conservative 28. desember 2023.

Liberty Made Inspiring Again. European Diary: Belgrade, May 2022. The Conservative 30. desember 2023.

2. ╔g skrifa­i ■rjßr langar greinar Ý Morgunbla­i­:

SÚrsta­a og samsta­a: Tveir ßsar ═slandss÷gunnar. Morgunbla­i­ 17. jan˙ar 2023.

Afareglan um aflahlutdeild. Morgunbla­i­ 19. oktˇber 2023.

Adam Smith enn Ý fullu fj÷ri! Morgunbla­i­ 5. desember 2023.

3. ╔g skrifa­i fastan dßlk Ý Morgunbla­i­:

Ne bid in idem.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 7. jan˙ar 2023.

In dubio, pars mitior est sequenda.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 14. jan˙ar 2023.

Tveir frˇ­legir fundir.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 21. jan˙ar 2023.

Atvik ˙r bankahruninu.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 28. jan˙ar 2023.

Lund˙nir, jan˙ar 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 4. febr˙ar 2023.

ReykjavÝk, jan˙ar 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 11. febr˙ar 2023.

Sj÷tugur.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 18. febr˙ar 2023.

StighŠkkandi tekjuskattur.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 25. febr˙ar 2023.

Refsa­ fyrir rß­deild?áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 4. mars 2023.

S÷gulegar deilur.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 11. mars 2023.

NÝ­vÝsan ■jˇna­i tilgangi.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 18. mars 2023.

Landsfe­ur, lei­togar, frŠ­arar, ■jˇ­skßld.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 25. mars 2023.

Danskur ■jˇ­arandi.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 1. aprÝl 2023.

Split, aprÝl 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 8. aprÝl 2023.

Nř sřn ß gamalt mßl.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 15. aprÝl 2023.

H÷fn, aprÝl 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 22. aprÝl 2023.

Br˙arstŠ­i, aprÝl 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 29. aprÝl 2023.

Lund˙nir, aprÝl 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 6. maÝ 2023.

ParÝs, aprÝl 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 13. maÝ 2023.

Ëhappamenn frekar en fri­flytjendur.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 20. maÝ 2023.

Lissabon, aprÝl 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 27. maÝ 2023.

Fˇlksfj÷lgun og hlřnun jar­ar.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 3. j˙nÝ 2023.

Amsterdam, aprÝl 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 10. j˙nÝ 2023.

Helsinki, maÝ 2021. Frˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 17. j˙nÝ 2023.

Eskilstuna, j˙nÝ 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 1. j˙lÝ 2023.

JˇrvÝk, j˙nÝ 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 8. j˙lÝ 2023.

Westminster-h÷ll, j˙nÝ 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 15. j˙lÝ 2023.

NorrŠna lei­in: Montesquieu.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 22. j˙lÝ 2023.

NorrŠna lei­in: Molesworth.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 29. j˙lÝ 2023.

Undrunarefni Sigur­ar.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 5. ßg˙st 2023.

ŮrÝr norrŠnir spekingar.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 12. ßg˙st 2023.

Gamansemi Grundtvigs um ═slendinga.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 26. ßg˙st 2023.

Upprifjun um alrŠmdan sjˇnvarps■ßtt.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 2. september 2023.

NorrŠnar lausnir.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 9. september 2023.

MŠlanleg mist÷k.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 16. september 2023.

Tvenn ÷rlagarÝk mist÷k.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 23. september 2023.

Drßp Kambans.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 30. september 2023.

Hitt drßpi­.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 7. oktˇber 2023.

TilverurÚttur ═sraels.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 14. oktˇber 2023.

Eru PalestÝnumenn ■jˇ­?áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 21. oktˇber 2023.

Jafna­armerki­ ß ekki vi­.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 28. oktˇber 2023.

Lř­rŠ­isumrŠ­urnar Ý Danm÷rku.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 5. nˇvember 2023.

Madrid, september 2023.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 11. nˇvember 2023.

Hugt÷kin nřlendustefna og ■jˇ­armor­.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 18. nˇvember 2023.

Ífgam˙slimar.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 25. nˇvember 2019.

Bretton Woods,ánˇvember 2023. Frˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 2. desember 2023.

Nřja JˇrvÝk,ánˇvember 2023. Frˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 9. nˇvember 2023.

Gy­ingahatur.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 16. desember 2023.

Jˇlasveinarnir.áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 23. desember 2023.

Hva­ olli synjuninni?áFrˇ­leiksmoli Ý Morgunbla­inu 30. desember 2023.

á


Liberty Made Inspiring Again

European Diary: Belgrade, May 2022

Belgrad.DanubeSava.shutterstock_2129440943Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers as well at the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkan Peninsula. It is therefore not surprising that it is a very old city, indeed one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe and in the world. Belgrade means White City, and it is named after its fortress, which was built on a white ridge of strategic importance. After the fall of the Roman Empire it was conquered and controlled and sometimes destroyed by various invaders, such as the Huns, Goths, Hungarians, and Byzantines. In the 13th century it became the capital of the so-called Serbian Despotate but in 1521 it fell to the Ottomans. After the Serbian wars for independence, Belgrade became in 1841 the capital again of Serbia, first the principality and then the kingdom. In 1918 the city became the capital of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes which was in 1929 changed into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This was an artificial country, jumbled together at the end of the First World War. It was basically a hostile takeover by Serbia of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Hercegovina, Northern Macedonia, and Montenegro. It was therefore not surprising that Yugoslavia broke up soon after the death of the communist leader Josip Broz Tito who had for decades ruled these diverse territories with an iron hand. But Belgrade itself has gained from diversity as I discovered when I was áthere in May 2022. It is a lively and pleasant city. Being a meeting place of many cultures, it is however hard to tell whether it belongs to the East or the West.

On the Bank of the Danube

In Belgrade I was presenting my book in two volumes on Twenty-Four Conservative-Liberal Thinkers at a seminar organised jointly by the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna and the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at the University of Belgrade. The evening before the seminar I went for a stroll from my hotel down to the Danube. I stood for a while and watched this magnificent river which flows through four European capitals, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade. Originating in the Black Forest in southern Germany, it empties into the Black Sea through the Danube Delta between Romania and Ukraine. It is the second-largest river in Europe, after Volga in Russia. Indeed, the Habsburg Empire was sometimes called the Danubian Empire. Although a famous waltz by Johann Strauss Junior is called ‘On the beautiful blue Danube’, in fact the river is not blue: it is gray or even muddy. Nevertheless, the Danube was and is a great European waterway, connecting east and west, south and north. Italian writer Claudio Magris has written a book about the river, Danube: A Sentimental Journey from the Source to the Black Sea. He uses the Danube as a metaphor for life, as it winds safely from its source to the sea.

As I stood there on the river bank, I could not but reflect on the fact that sometimes history can be a burden. There are in the Balkans so many historical sources of enmity, so many battles to remember, so many betrayals to avenge, between Christians and Muslims, Catholics and Eastern Orthodoxes, Serbs and Croats, Slavs and Albanians, and so on, and between traditional allies and enemies of nearby powers, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, and their successor states. It is only if and when the many and diverse peoples of this European frontier territory can find and develop the appropriate arrangements and political units, preferably as small as possible, that history for them will become less a burden than a blessing, full of inspiring and meaningful moments, myths, legends, songs, and tales, unifying them, enabling them to identify with a community, creating a sense of belonging.

The Courage to Be Utopian

At the seminar, I chose a somewhat different topic from what I have been talking about before in many European cities. What I now emphasised was that liberty had to be made exciting again, seen as an intellectual adventure, recognised as a precondition for innovation and entrepreneurship. I recalled Hayek’s observation in his celebrated essay on ‘The Intellectuals and Socialism’:

The main lesson which the true liberal must learn from the success of the socialists is that it was their courage to be Utopian which gained them the support of the intellectuals and therefore an influence on public opinion which is daily making possible what only recently seemed utterly remote. Those who have concerned themselves exclusively with what seemed practicable in the existing state of opinion have constantly found that even this had rapidly become politically impossible as the result of changes in a public opinion which they have done nothing to guide. Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost.

Indeed, Hayek and another renowned economist, Milton Friedman, made economic liberalism inspiring again. Paradoxically, their courage to be (or at least appear) utopian turned out to be both economically practical and politically successful. Friedman once said to me: ‘First, they try to ignore you. Then, they try to ridicule you. Finally, they say that of course money matters, but that everybody already knew that.’

In the chapter on Friedman in the second volume of my book I describe the theory and practice of what is sometimes called ‘neoliberalism’: the reconstruction of Germany, Austria and Italy after the Second World War (led by Ludwig Erhard, Reinhard Kamitz, and Luigi Einaudi, respectively, all members of Hayek’s Mont Pelerin Society); the comprehensive economic reforms in countries as diverse politically as Great Britain under the Conservatives, Chile ruled by a military junta, and New Zealand at the initiative of social democrats; and the return to normalcy in Central and Eastern Europe, guided by Mart Laar in Estonia, Vaclav Klaus in the Czech Republic (both members of the Mont Pelerin Society) and other economic liberals. Speakers at the seminar included Dr. Barbara Kolm of the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna and Professor Christopher Lingle of Francisco MarroquÝn University in Guatemala. Professor Sinisa Zaric was the Chair.

An Evening in Belgrade

After the seminar, on my last evening in Belgrade, I went with a friend to one of the city’s finest Michelin-star restaurants, Salon 1905, close to the Sava River as it joins the Danube. We walked from the hotel. I found it extraordinary that a street on the way, Gavrila Principa, is named after the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo in 1914. Gavril Princip committed one of the foulest crimes of the twentieth century, with terrible consequences. Be that as it may, the restaurant itself is in a magnificent, ornate house in the old town, built in 1905. This house was then the headquarters of a bank, directed by one of Serbia’s greatest capitalists at the time, Luka ─†elovi─‡. The food was delicious and the service impeccable. Capitalism has returned to Serbia. Hopefully it will connect East and West, and turn the burden of history into a blessing.

(The Conservative, 30 December 2023.)


Make Trade, Not War

European Diary: Sarajevo, May 2022

Sarajevo.CityHall.shutterstock_788937649Sarajevo! The name reminds us all of the First World War (originally called the Great War) which broke out after the heir to the Habsburg throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in the city on 28 June 1914, with his wife, Duchess Sophie von Hohenburg. The perpetrator was a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, a young, fanatical nationalist with close ties to the Serbian secret service (which supplied the weapons to him and his accomplices). Serbian nationalists were hostile to Franz Ferdinand because he wanted to turn the Danubian Monarchy into a federal union which probably would have greatly reduced discontent among the many Slavic peoples under Habsburg rule, such as Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenes, Croatians, Bosnian Serbs, and Bosnian Croats. Serbian ultra-nationalists had in 1903 stormed the Royal Palace in Serbia’s capital, Belgrad, shot the pro-Austrian king, Alexander I Obrenovich, and his wife, Draga, stripped their bodies and mutilated them, before throwing them out of a second-floor window into a pile of garden manure. A long-time enemy of the Obrenovi─‡ family, Peter Karachorchevich, was proclaimed king of Serbia as Peter I. He was hostile to the Austrians, and pro-Russian. After this macabre event, Serbia pursued aggressive nationalist policies, aimed at creating a Greater Serbia by extending her rule to all Slavic peoples in the Western Balkans, then under Habsburg rule. Since Serbian participation in the assassination of the Archduke and his wife was considered almost certain, after the assassination Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia which was not met, whereupon Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, followed by her ally, Imperial Germany. France and Russia subsequently declared war on Austria-Hungary and Germany.

A World Lost

The French were not really concerned about Serbia: they wanted to take revenge on the Germans for their humiliation in the 1870 Franco-German war and to regain the territories then lost. Nevertheless, this would have remained mostly a Balkan affair, if the United Kingdom had not made the fateful decision to join France and Russia in supporting Serbia, with the United States entering the war on their side in 1917. This turned an almost certain swift victory of Austria-Hungary and Germany over Serbia and Russia into a prolonged, vicious, sanguinary world war, leading to the collapse of four empires, and the Bolshevik Revolution and the disintegration of the liberal international order. In retrospect, it is amazing not only how catastrophic the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife turned out to be, but also how entirely evitable it was. The Archduke was supposed to be opening the state museum in Sarajevo which had as the capital of Bosnia flourished under Austrian rule since 1878. On his way from the Train Station to the Town Hall a bomb was thrown at his car, bouncing off its back hood and exploding under the next car in the motorcade, wounding the people in it. The Archduke and his wife escaped unharmed. After a reception at the Town Hall (depicted above), the Archduke wanted to visit the victims of the bombing. On the way to the hospital, his driver made a wrong turn, and when he realised this, he applied the brakes, stopping the car on a side street just where one of the would-be assassins, Princip, happened to be. Princip could therefore shoot the couple at short range.

The collapses of the Russian and Ottoman Empires were certainly not to be lamented, as many oppressed nations now were able to establish their own states. (For better or worse, a nation may require a state. What is the difference between a language and a dialect? That the language is supported by a navy.) The collapse of the Danubian Empire meant however the disintegration of a large area of free trade and common currency in Europe’s midst, under a relatively liberal regime. One of Princip’s co-conspirators, the Bosnian Serb Vaso ─Œubrilovi─‡, only seventeen at the time, was released from prison at the end of the war and became a historian and in Communist Yugoslavia a government minister. Looking back after fifty years, he expressed regret about the conspiracy. ‘We destroyed a beautiful world that was lost forever due to the war that followed.’ This was a world eloquently described in Stefan Zweig’s The World of Yesterday. On the 100th anniversary of the assassination, a prominent journalist, the Bosnian Croat Fedzad Forto, denounced it in an interview with the BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation. The Bosnians had been much better off under the Habsburgs than under the Yugoslavian (Serbian) kings and the communists, he said. ‘You can look at the historical records and see how Austria-Hungary cared about issues like the rule of law. We lost so much in 1918.’

Two Ways of Keeping Peace

It was therefore appropriate that I discussed trade, war and peace at a seminar on 12 May 2022 in Sarajevo, organised by the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, SSST, and the Austrian Economics Center in Vienna. I repeated my argument, made elsewhere, that small states may be feasible and, in many cases, more efficient and desirable than larger political units, but that they are vulnerable, as the recent Russian attack on Ukraine showed. The events that unfolded in Sarajevo more than a century ago demonstrated this, as Czech writer Milan Kundera once commented:

The Austrian empire had the great opportunity of making Central Europe into a strong, unified state. But the Austrians, alas, were divided between an arrogant Pan-German nationalism and their own Central European mission. They did not succeed in building a federation of equal nations, and their failure has been the misfortune of the whole of Europe. Dissatisfied, the other nations of Central Europe blew apart their empire in 1918, without realising that, in spite of its inadequacies, it was irreplaceable. After the First World War, Central Europe was therefore transformed into a region of small, weak states, whose vulnerability ensured first Hitler’s conquest and ultimately Stalin’s triumph.

Being vulnerable, small states must form alliances with one another and with stronger states.

There are essentially two pillars of peace, I observed in Sarajevo. One is free trade. Your propensity to shoot at your neighbour diminishes, if you see in him a potential customer. And, when goods are not allowed to cross borders, soldiers will. There is truth in this observation, but it is not the whole truth. The other indispensable pillar of peace is preparedness, as the Romans knew: Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war. (Or as the Anglo-Irish army officer and writer William Blacker exclaimed: ‘Put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry!’) The free countries of the world, under the leadership of the United States, must be powerful enough that nobody dares attack them. This was the main idea behind NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the defence alliance of the West. If we do not all hang together, we shall all hang separately. What we are faced with now, I said in Sarajevo, is that China and Russia seem to reject democratic capitalism, with its tolerance, decentralisation, diversity, and respect for human rights and with the peaceful means of replacing bad rulers with better ones. The very existence of individual freedom and democracy is seen by oriental despots as external threats.

What We are Defending

I concluded my talk in Sarajevo by stressing that the West has to know what it wants to defend. I have myself recently published a book about Twenty-Four Conservative-Liberal Thinkers who had since the Middle Ages articulated the political tradition of limited government, private property, and free trade. It was a tradition which included philosophers and economists as different as St. Thomas Aquinas and Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises and Robert Nozick, Herbert Spencer and Karl Popper, not to mention its two best-known modern proponents, Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman. It was, and is, a tradition which has encouraged economic growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, but also the development of individual skills, abilities and talents, enabling individuals to live meaningful lives and flourish. It was a tradition which recognised the many intermediate institutions, habits, manners, conventions and customs which had developed spontaneously in the moral space between individuals and the state, and the several ties, commitments and attachments they inherited and formed, outside the realm of contract.

Other speakers at the Sarajevo seminar were Austrian economist Dr. Barbara Kolm on globalisation, American businessman Terry Anker on business regulations, and American Professor Christopher Lingle on entrepreneurship. ProfessoráVjekoslav Domljan, Dean of the Economics Faculty of the SSST, chaired the meeting. Sarajevo, the capital of a Bosnian kingdom in the Middle Ages, under the Ottomans between 1461 and 1878 andá the Habsburgs between 1878 and 1918, now seems peaceful. But a visitor can sense how strongly many Bosnians want to be a part of the West.

(The Conservative, 28 December 2023.)


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