Dear friends and colleagues,
One of the basic assumptions underlying what we do as Forum New Economy is that the mantra of the power of markets to change things for the better, which has prevailed for decades, will not solve either the climate crisis, nor the wealth gap, living conditions that have drifted apart, financial markets that are out of touch with reality, or doubts about globalization. This realization also resonates somewhat through the coalition agreement that the traffic light partners ended the Merkel era and the year 2021 with. It is less prevalent in some recent personnel decisions – and how they are commented on in Germany. Keyword: Bundesbank. Praise for someone who is good because he upholds the “old stability-oriented” tradition does not yet sound quite convinced of the need for innovation – although a redefinition of the role of central banks in times of climate change and inequality is obvious, as Adam Tooze and Moritz Schularick argue in their studies (coming soon here). After all, central bankers always have an impact on climate and inequality with their actions – contrary to what the old mantra posited.
In our second year, we have tried to absorb such new economic ideas, accelerate them, and translate them into practice – whether in workshops where Harvard economist Dani Rodrikdiscussed a redefinition of globalization with Siemens manager Joe Kaeser; or in seminars on how to finance the new government’s necessary major investments without breaking the debt brake. We’ve had Mariana Mazzucato talk to Wolfgang Schmidt (now head of the Chancellor’s Office) about mission-oriented policies; Barry Eichengreen about Bidenomics; Minouche Shafik, head of the London School of Economics, about a new social contract – and Stormy-Annika Mildner about the Cornwall Consensus, which could replace the Washington Consensus. We commissioned studies on how best to reduce the inequality of income and wealth in Germany – or on how a new paradigm could protect against financial scandals.
In addition, symposia were held to find a clever answer to the emotional question of whether the economy should grow or shrink – an idle dispute over principles. The study on this very question is forthcoming. And we discussed all about the cornerstones of a possible new grand paradigm, apt to replace its market-liberal predecessor. Finally, we tried to find out which new narratives are already circulating by conducting surveys on key maxims of the parties that participated in the federal election campaign – with the evidence indicating that new narratives already exist, and are in fact well received.
If there was one constant in all this, it was the feeling that something new is urgently needed – and the demand for it great. Even if not every personnel decision in Berlin matches this feeling yet. In the new year, we’ll be tracing the same arc again. In 2022, we plan to explore why the Frenchhave such a strong inclination to want to elect right-wing presidents – and whether the (socio-economic) reasons behind their choices are so different from those in Germany. We are planning a large workshop on what exactly the new role of the state should look like – so as not to simply end up with more bureaucracy and debt. Among others, Paul de Grauwe, Moritz Schularick, Nick Stern, Laurence Tubiana and Jens Südekum have agreed to participate. Save the date: on May 24 and 25 in Berlin and hopefully “in person”.
To kick off the year, among others, we are joined by Steve Keen for a New Economy Short Cut on January 19 to discuss his new book “The New Economics: A Manifesto”. During 2022, we will also be updating our Knowledge Base, which should become a reference for those who want to know what the latest research and knowledge is on solving the major crises. Stay tuned! Everything else and much more then in the new year – may it be the year in which the pandemic finally passes under the pressure of Karl Lauterbach!
Until then, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Thomas Fricke and the Forum team