Mises private seminar


What the participants say:

To be sure, I am unable to count the immense intellectual benefit taken from the several discussions I have participated to in an academic year. The seminar helped me not only refine and radically change my views on specific economic matters, but also systematically connect this new understanding with areas such as social sciences in general, political philosophy, law, and - not as indirectly as it might seem - ethics. I can nonetheless detect the main sources of this qualitative leap: for one, the particular 'Austrian'/libertarian approach to problems - at the same time methodical and attentive to the deepest details, courageously displaying a critical, philosophical style amidst new fashioned current scientism -; for another, the seminar itself as institution, which assured the "Austrian impact". Because people participate in with a strong motivation and clear interests, the atmosphere is congenial without being superficial. Cristian Comănescu, on the other hand, coordinates the debate with much tact and discretion. Irrespective of their field, those truly curious about social phenomena may expect to acquire at the seminar an incisive and versatile scientific tool as well as memorable pleasant moments.

Ştefan Lucian Cojocaru, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Journalism and Communication Studies, Hyperion University, Bucharest; Student in Philosophy, University of Bucharest.

***

I have attended this discussion group since the autumn of 2000. I found that the issues were debated in a highly technical manner but, although I am not very familiar with economics, I managed to grasp these issues, thanks to the eagerness the moderator of the group had in answering to my questions. Another fact to be noted is that although the participants in this group come from different fields of research (such as economics, philosophy, political theory) Cristi Comănescu succeeded in forming a common background so that the discussions would concentrate on a specific issue and they would usually end with some clear conclusions about the subject matter.

Bogdan Răbâncă, Student in Philosophy, University of Bucharest.

***

I met Cristian Comănescu attending the course of economics he offered at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, and in this quality I was invited to attend the private seminar on Austrian Economics he was coordinating. Although I had already graduated economics at the time I began to attend the seminar, I wouldn't hesitate to designate it as my introduction into economic reasoning. The two years of weekly discussions I have been participating in so far have been the most fruitful period of my formation as economist. The extensive discussion we had around Ludwig von Mises' Human Action provided us with an integrated perspective on economics, that constitutes the fundament for all our future research activity in this area. The seminar isn't just a forum for academic debates, but a true program of study. The high standard set by the presentations and the subsequent discussions, together with the requisite for a detailed analysis, acted as a stimulus for continuous improvement on our part. The invaluable guiding we have received and the profitable exchange of opinions that such a framework allows, was the key for our noticeable progress. Not less worth mentioning is our being informed of the latest Austrian events and standpoints. The participation into such an exclusive forum that keeps alive the very Misesian tradition of reasoned discussion, of rigorous and uncompromising investigation, couldn't be but a privilege.

Florentina Popescu, Researcher, The Institute of National Economy (affiliated to the Romanian Academy); Ph.D. Student in the History of Economic Thought, The Academy of Economic Studies; Student, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest

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I have participated in the private Ludwig von Mises seminar since it started. For me, it has been the most extraordinary intellectual event in Bucharest after 1989. Mises once said that the idea of liberty did not go to the East beyond the walls of Vienna. Fortunately, this is not true anymore (and not only in Romania). Young independent researchers, like Cristian Comănescu, have changed the situation. The private Ludwig von Mises seminar has both reached a high academic level in its debates and has cultivated a genuine passion for the idea of freedom.

Radu Solcan, Associate Professor, Philosophy Department, University of Bucharest; http://www.fil.unibuc.ro/~solcan

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The Ludwig von Mises Private Seminar held by Professor Dan Cristian Comănescu is eligible for the distinction of a Comănescu-Kreis, not because of the formal resemblance to the famous Mises-Kreis (biweekly meetings, members from academia, informality), but for the quality of the social theory discussed there. It is my regular breath of fresh air. I wish for its spirit to reach further and further.

Tudor Smirna, Economist

***

This Seminar has been an unique institution in the Romanian intellectual landscape. It has promoted the reading and analysis of classical texts such as Mises' "Human Action", refreshing thinking and ideas, open and unconventional debate, and, above all, a freedom of spirit which ignores all taboos. A must experience for all those who are intoxicated with mainstream economic mantras.

Dan Dionisie, Economist

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I have been participating at the Ludwig von Mises seminar in Austrian Economics coordinated by Cristian Comănescu since my second year at the Academy of Economic Studies. This proved to be the opportunity to learn the sound economic reasoning which I could have learned nowhere else in Romania. A high level of intellectual debate was assured by the quality of the participants and the interesting subjects challenged from an interdisciplinary point of view, that led to an appropriate framework for an intellectual formation in the liberty tradition. It really is a life-changing experience.

Diana Costea, Teaching Assistant at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Bucharest; Ph.D. student at the Academy of Economic Sciences, Bucharest.

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I joined the seminar two years ago. I already had some knowledge in Austrian economics, but I was then missing an "Austrian-friendly environment". With this seminar, I met a lot of people dedicated to the study of economics and philosophy from a different perspective than the mainstream one. We enjoyed what we were doing, and we successfully attracted new people every year. I flatter myself that we succeeded in maintaining the Austrian tradition alive, here, in Romania.

Cosmin Rogojanu, Teaching Assistant at the Chair of Economics, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania.

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I can say that the Mises seminar actually helped me to evaluate my plans and concerns in economics - especially in Austrian economics - and political philosophy. I'd like to take part further on in this seminar and I think it really can support me in my endeavors to study economics and political philosophy.

Ionela Mînzu, Ph.D. student in Political Philosophy, Philosophy Department, University of Bucharest

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I have joined the seminar two years ago and the time spent with my colleagues debating the Austrian vs. mainstream economics and trying to understand better the writings of Mises, Rothbard, etc., represented the most exciting academic experience I have had. Now, as a young faculty member, I am still happy to participate and to discuss the theory as well as the actuality of the Austrian School.

Bogdan Glăvan, Teaching Assistant, Romanian-American University

***

Cristi Comănescu's seminar on Austrian Economics was a one year intellectual experience that completely reoriented my research program toward free market ideas. I found an environment of debate and polemic on ideas that structured the thinking of Mises, Rothbard and other libertarians, ideas that have become increasingly active in the West since the 70's and the 80's. The seminar is a chance for Romanian students and not only, to get familiar to great Austrian thinkers and to learn sound alternatives to mainstream economic analysis.

Carmen Pavel, Ph.D. Candidate, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

***

The Seminar has been both interesting and useful for me, from a professional point of view. The study of the free-market economic theories advocated by the Austrian School of Economics gave me the opportunity to acquire a sound economic thinking, essential for my job of financial analyst. I believe the results of the seminar are spectacular, taking into account the progress achieved by the participants. In the beginning, the main purpose of the seminar was an initiation in the Austrian economic theory. However, more sophisticated issues were approached as well. The permanent shift from simple issues to more complex ones challenged and motivated the participants to greatly improve their standards.

Mihai Macovei, Program Assistant, U.S. Treasury

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Mr. Comănescu is not only an accomplished scholar but also an intellectual possessing the very scarce and valuable ability of organizing an intellectual movement at the highest level. The seminar which he leads in Bucharest is the proof. Perhaps the fate of the Austrian School would have been different if Mises had succeeded in teaching to the Austrian circle in Vienna (Mises Kreis) the very basis of our theorizing: praxeology. I know of no other circle in Europe where the praxeological method of approaching social phenomena is held in a higher esteem. He made us conversant with Mises, Rothbard, Hoppe, Huelsmann, Salerno, Huerta de Soto etc. He is the one who taught us the paramount importance ethics plays in judging social phenomena. From my own point of view, he is the man who made me see that the market is all about justice, not about efficiency. The latter is only the result of the former. And almost everything I know in the field of political philosophy (the nature of the State) is due to his unsurpassed scholarship.

Marius Spiridon, Teaching Assistant & Ph.D. Candidate, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest

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No matter how hard I'll try, I don't think I can overemphasize the importance that the Mises Seminar in Bucharest had both for my personal life and for my generation. Chaired by Dan Cristian Comănescu, the seminar was a lighthouse of clear economic and political thinking, and overall, of intellectual honesty. I hope that the principles and honesty learned there will be with me my entire life. I consider myself extremely fortunate that I had the privilege to be involved in the Mises Seminar.

Octavian Vasilescu, Graduate Research Assistant, Clemson University, College Of Business and Public Affairs