Saturday, July 01, 2006
Greetings from the former capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire - Vienna. Today everyone lives in harmony under the protective umbrella of the European Union :)
My travels bring me to Vienna for the third annual European Resource Bank (ERB), http://www.rbeurope.org, which is a gathering of free market think tanks from across Europe including several American guests. This year is a unique gathering since the ERB is being held in conjunction with the World Taxpayer Associations, http://www.worldtaxpayers.org, annual conference.
Overall the best value of this conference is re-connecting with old friends and develop new contacts to work with on public policy issues across Europe. Due to numerous factors - cultural, historical, tax law among others - the free market movement is not as extensive as in the USA but there is progress and reason to be optimistic. One such example is this think tank based in Sweden -- http://www.eudoxa.se -- which was founded by a group of true "intellectual entrepreneurs" who can work in at least six languages covering topics such as biotechnology, global warming, and tobacco harm reduction. This is an impressive group of thinkers who clearly did not attend American public schools :)
The conference ends this evening with a black tie Austrian Ball in the Palais Liechtenstein which I am hesitate to attend due to my allergic reaction to all things royal - give me an elected legislative body and executive with all their associated warts and flaws anytime!! Since the conference events have dominated my time here I have not visited many local restaurants but last night a group of us dined at "Sirk" in the Hotel Bristol. Now while the wait staff service was excellent I have to rate them with a "2" (out of 5) since my "roast beef" apparently was a German phrase for "bad steak" although my cucumber and shrimp soup was rather good. The desserts our group shared saved the day though since I really enjoyed my chocolate-banana dish coupled with the selection of chocolates provided compliments of the kitchen so I must revise by bumping Sirk up to a "2.5" rating -- I am a sucker for food bribes I guess.
Always fun to visit Vienna including the gay pride three of us had to walk through today on our return to our hotels.