For more than a decade now the abbreviation LIE has been flickering on TV screens whenever Alpine competitions are broadcast. Since the 1980 Winter Olympics, what LIE stands for is generally known; in the meantime even the American public knows the location of the little country enshrouded in secrets that made headlines around the globe from Lake Placid.
Over Liechtenstein itself, however, only little – and usually erroneous – is known. Most people imagine the principality to be an enchanted idyll, a country known from stamp albums or postcards as a tax paradise. The fact that Liechtenstein represents a model state, a social example from which fundamentals can be learned, becomes quite evident for the first time in This is Liechtenstein by Manfred Schlapp, Professor at the Vaduz Gymnasium.
This book provides food for thought in many respects for its readers, especially those interested in social affairs and economics, for the Principality of Liechtenstein, a central European mini-state – the last of the 343 representatives of the former Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation – embodies in the mantle of a monarchy a living democracy in which every citizen plays his part.
This economy prospers within such a structure. With the motto “Green Light for Go-Getters”, the principality successfully changed within a few decades from a poor agricultural country to the most highly industrialized nation on earth. Economic experts call Liechtenstein “the Kuwait of Europe”. After all, the prosperity of Liechtenstein rests upon the pillars of a high performance industry which is active worldwide and exports its high technology products to more than 100 countries.
The Secret to such affluence lies in an entrepreneurial philosophy oriented towards a market economy which gives free reign to private industry. Governmental regimentation or patronizing treatment is out of place. Private initatives take precedence and are fostered, regardless of whether they are active within economic, cultural or social surroundings. People with enterprising ideas are guaranteed a full and unrestricted development of their powers.
It is the aim of the book to present to a broad public the diversified Liechtenstein of today for what it is: a dynamic and flourishing commonwealth and community in which the individual citizen has the optimun right to speak up and ideal possibilities for self-actualization – a unique model for humane and suitable solutions to problems of worldwide importance.
This is Liechtenstein is a book devoted thematically to this organicially developed living space, the only one of its kind on earth. The author has succeeded in presenting the Principality of Liechtenstein as a genuine example of that which deserves the accolade of the prominent English liberal E.F. Schumacher: “Small is beautiful.”
“This is Liechtenstein” is an attractively presented book – a just as objective as comprehensive depiction.