The relationship between Europe and the USA has never been free of conflicts. For decades, most controversies were glossed over by the presence of a common enemy: communism. Today, these conflicts emerge more and more frequently, most of them concerning economic topics like issues of free trade, environment or the question of (economic) sustainability. Recently open differences in foreign and security policy affairs have surfaced as well. The "Alpbach Economic Symposium" at the European Forum Alpbach 2003 is devoted to a comparison of the economic systems in Europe and the USA. The aim is to identify congruent and dissenting system factors as well as providing an analysis of strengths and weaknesses of each of the two economic regions.