_ Yuri Kofner, economist, MIWI Institute. Speech given at the Cross-Continental Conservative Congress in Belgrade, 4 November 2023.
The real levers of power are only to a limited extent to be found in parliaments, but rather in universities, the media and research institutes. This is where tomorrow’s sovereignty of opinion is formed. The left has known this since Antonio Gramsci, and unfortunately the right still has to internalize it. This is why the support of and cooperation between alternative conservative think tanks is so important.
The economic policy of any government is a crucial factor in determining the success or failure of that government and the political ideology behind it. In recent years, right-wing parties have gained increasing popularity, and many of them propose implementing alternative economic policies. This essay will discuss the need for a coherent economic theory for the right-wing parties and the shortage of both think tanks and skilled cadres in this field.
In his “12-point plan for a successful Christian conservative government”, presented in 2022, Victor Orban, the president of Hungary, emphasizes the need for an effective economic policy that benefits all voters. He also stressed the importance of institutions that can survive changes in government. This is a crucial point, as politicians come and go, but institutions stay and provide the basis for re-election. Something that
Right-wing parties must guarantee economic growth
After the issue of mass immigration, returning to economic prosperity is the most pressing topic for the future failure or success of right-wing movements and parties in the Western countries. The ongoing inflation crisis, widening skilled labour shortage, bureaucracy and taxation overload, and energy crisis are just some of the challenges that nations face. The people are fed up with the status quo and, thus, are open to a populist change. The right-wing parties offer drastically alternative solutions in their economic policy approach, very different from what the system parties can offer. For example, they propose radical reforms of the European Union, returning powers to the nation states. However, they first need to find a common denominator on their view of the future of the European economic community and the degree of European economic integration they all can agree on. Yet this is a difficult task under the massive external pressure by the globalist political-media complex, and no established economic policy research institute is willing to help the right-wing parties in formulating their economic agenda. Therefore, right-wing parties need to develop their own economic policies that address the unique challenges facing their nations while maintaining a level of economic integration that benefits all parties involved.
Right-wing economics needs to be developed
Right-wing parties need to develop their own conservative-right economic theory in order to provide a coherent and effective alternative to the dominant economic paradigms of liberalism and socialism. The main tenants of libertarian economics, such as free markets and individual freedoms, have been well established, as have the main tenants of leftist economics, such as state intervention and collective ownership. However, there is a lack of a coherent economic theory that represents conservative-right ideals, such as the importance of tradition, community, and national identity.
This task is made more difficult by the scarcity of right-wing economic think tanks, especially in Europe. There are some honourable exceptions, such as, e.g., the Machiavelli Centre in Italy, the ID-Foundation in France, and the Oeconomus Foundation in Hungary. In order to develop a coherent conservative-right economic theory, these and other conservative think-tanks must work out the right balance between liberal values such as freedom and competition, on the one hand, and collective traditional identities such as family, culture, nation, and religion, on the other hand, as well as defining the appropriate role of the state, corporations, and markets.
Sufficient trained specialists for right-wing government administration
Right-wing parties in Western Europe face a critical shortage of skilled cadres in the fields of economics and finance. This is particularly problematic as they gain more and more government responsibility, but do not have enough skilled experts to fill all positions. For example, in Eastern Germany, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has gained significant support and has the potential to form government in several states in 2024. However, this would mean that the AfD would need to fill at least 300 highly paid positions in the state ministries, which it currently lacks the skilled cadres to do so. At the same time, a right-wing FPÖ government is possible in Austria under a Federal Chancellor Herbert Kickl. This will lead to a further cannibalization of the few qualified German-speaking and politically right-wing cadres available. Right-wing parties must address this issue by investing in training and developing skilled cadres to fill these critical positions. This would require a concerted effort to invest in education, training, and recruitment in the fields of economics and finance.