Man plans and God laughs

Editor's LetterThere are very few sure things these days. Throughout the early months of this year, media headlines celebrated the weak euro, telling investors “Europe is the top stock pick for 2016.” But while the pundits see euro-products as a good bet and predict the currency’s eventual recovery, no one can ignore the unanimous mood of caution.

With Europe’s low interest rates continuing to fall, political tension across the Union, and a general rise in market volatility, even the experts are at a loss. In Austria these sorts of challenges are nothing new. Here, planning for the future means gradually testing the waters, rather than plunging right in. If history has taught Austrians anything, it’s that uncertainty comes of its own accord, unbidden, so one should err on the side of caution.

Today we wonder how the stock market will react and where it will leave the euro in the long-term. We speculate on how the influx of refugees will affect society and the economy. How should we plan? How can we prepare?

Our Central European correspondent Martin Ehl writes about the inability to plan in CEE, where the rules are constantly changing. To give an idea of how Austrians feel, we’ve looked into their history. Our cover story looks at 120 years of economic upheavals and how they have shaped financial behavior. We also venture into social banking projects that broaden access to financial services. In times like these, Austrian caution could be just the ticket, so check out “How to… invest like an Austrian”.

Chocolate may be sweet but the business is tough; the Austrian Josef Zotter has made it sustainable. In our Profiles we meet long-term thinkers; a family-run bespoke shoemaker, a renowned local artist in the 2nd generation, a labor-market analyst and an urban planner. You’ll find out why the 20th century Austrian School’s influential economic theories leave most contemporary Austrians cold. And learn how these ideas have played out in Europe post 2008 in the review of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea. Then in City Life, Kemal Smajic – a Bosnian who came to Vienna with the wave of refugees in the 1990s – shows what today’s integration efforts can learn from the past.

Finally we’ve given the Last Word to Killian Kleinschmidt, formerly the manager of the world’s second largest refugee camp in Jordan. He wrote to us about how the newcomers will impact society and the economy.

In the interest of your long-term happiness and wellbeing we have gathered the best, freshest and most relevant events, insights and reviews.

Since we never know what tomorrow will bring, enjoy today and…

don’t be a stranger,