Austria – Past, Present, Future: a Book Presentation by Hannes Androsch at the Embassy of Austria

bridges vol. 31, October 2011 / Noteworthy Information

Androsch_books_small.jpg On September 7, 2011, Hannes Androsch, former Austrian finance minister and vice chancellor under Bruno Kreisky, presented the book Austria - Past, Present, Future at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC. In the book, which was edited by Androsch, a team of noted scholars, experts, and journalists take on the task of providing different perspectives on Austria and its people. With insightful essays and a wealth of carefully selected pictures, this deluxe edition provides an authoritative and comprehensive view of Austria. Austria - Past, Present, Future provides ample evidence that love for Austria does not preclude criticism of it, that patriotism must not automatically mean glossing over the facts, and that is essential to regularly survey how Austria sees itself as well as how it is perceived by outsiders. 

{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick – all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest} Androsch presentation_small.jpgAndrosch not only presented and signed the book during the evening but also offered his analysis of the economic recession in the form of a lecture followed by a Q&A session. He traced the origins of the current recession back to 2007, when the housing bubble in the US began to deflate, and to 2008, when an ill-judged handling of the banking crisis - in particular the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008 - triggered a meltdown in the architecture of the financial system. According to Androsch, initial skepticism about the international implications of this crisis in the US was quickly proven wrong, with the meltdown soon engulfing Europe in what was to become a transatlantic financial and banking crisis that soon spread to trigger the worst economic recession since the global depression of the 1930s. While the very worst could be averted by state invention, these necessary rescue measures exacerbated the already precarious fiscal imbalances of many states.

Androsch advocated for a long-term, dual strategy, consolidating precarious public finances using combined measures that are compatible with sustainable, long-term growth. This requires, however, political courage and determination, along with the technical ability to translate such a strategy into real-world policy.

Androsch sees these qualities as being in short supply at the present, both in the US and in Europe. As for Europe, his talk called for a European policy approach that focuses on unity and cooperation, rather than relying on an illusory notion of national sovereignty. He reminded the audience that, thanks to the Marshall Plan after WWII, European integration has been pursued very successfully over many decades. During that time, Europe has been experiencing a prolonged period of peace, security, and prosperity that could scarcely have been imagined beforehand, and which we should continue to foster and to protect.

Please click here to visit the picture gallery of the event.