Forum Newsletter #33 – Wrap-up from the New Economy

Test Case Autowende – To Grow or Not to Grow – A Job at the Forum.


Dear friends and colleagues,


For a long time, it seemed difficult for the average person to imagine if, when and how Germany’s legendary car industry would move into a new age – a time when cars would no longer be powered by petrol or diesel and thus would be far more compatible with the continued existence of planet earth. Even experts tended to work with abstract scenarios of how things might turn out rather than with any kind of reliable findings, which in turn was also due to the fact that the car industry seemed to be banking on the fact that it would eventually somehow find out what would power the cars in the future.

In these weeks and months, such scenarios seem to be turning into an increasingly recognisable reality – whether with decisions like Volkswagen’s to now also focus on electric mobility, or the emphasis with which it is being promoted to buy an electric car. Or with the fact that in the US big corporations are now following suit – since Joe Biden has begun to lead the country back to climate policy. This means that for the first time it is no longer necessary to rely on projections, and possible to estimate and predict quite concretely what this big car turnaround will mean for Germany, for employment and value creation in the country and above all for its car regions.

This is exactly what we want to explore with experts and practitioners – in our next seminar on 24 February under the title: “Awakening or Abandonment – What the Car Turnaround Means for the Economy and Jobs in the Country”. New estimates will be presented by car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer and experts from Boston Consulting. Lower Saxony’s prime minister Stephan Weil will speak on the significance of the change for the regions. Jens Südekum, economics professor and regional policy expert from Düsseldorf, will also be present. The event is open to invited guests – please let us know if you are interested.

What appears to be an industry talk is, of course, part of the reflection on a new economic paradigm – which must find other answers than the earlier simple mantra that such transformations will be regulated by the market. What happens when you leave something like this to the market was shown in the US Rust Belt, where an entire region collapsed.

Are economies allowed to grow at all today – or is that incompatible with saving the climate and biodiversity? A project that we have started with The New Institute in Hamburg deals with such major issues. In the first rounds, we have selected experts discuss the big question of growth (which is not so easy to answer after all). We will present the results here shortly. If you don’t want to wait that long to get some impressions of the state of the debates, we recommend you to stop by the OECD on Monday, where British economist Michael Jacobs will present the German version of his report “Beyond Growth” and discuss it with Christoph Schmidt from the RWI Institute in Essen, among others. Worth a look.

In the meantime, a small note on our own behalf: we are looking for fellow travellers on the road to the New Economy – a staff member for our team. Click here for the job advertisement.


Best regards,

Thomas Fricke


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