The Market Economy of the 21st century

Thursday, 17. October 2013 | 8:30 Uhr


Heiner Flassbeck


UNCTAD, Geneva


Professor Heiner Flassbeck of UNCTAD Geneva pointed out that the world – and not just the economy – is facing tremendous challenges. Crises are rocking the system. Not only the financial crisis, the Euro crisis, and the crisis of high unemployment and increasing inequality, but also the threat of a trade war in Europe and beyond are creating new uncertainties. From all this arises a sovereign debt crisis and a crisis of confidence that makes many people shudder about the outlook for their children’s welfare.
Like a soccer game, a market economy cannot exist without strict rules and engaged referees. Not only does every game in every market have to be directed by the state; the state must consistently and in all respects decide whether a market exists at all, whether the conditions for a market are given, and whether the market gives rise for a reasonable solution. In addition, the state must absolutely and permanently control the entire macro-economic system.
This results in an overall system in which the market may be just a minority. But there is no harm in this. The question is not whether we’re favoring the market or the state, the question is only whether or not we can find a reasonable solution for a specific problem. He added: “Despite globalization and economic crisis, we must go through the expense of supporting the welfare state; otherwise, globalization will no longer work.” Check out the entire presentation..

Heiner Flassbeck

Mr. Heiner Flassbeck has served since 2006 as Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He is the principal author and the leader of the team preparing UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report. The Trade and Development Report is the flagship annual publication of UNCTAD covering both recent and longer term issues in the world economy, with particular emphasis on the implications for developing countries.
Mr. Flassbeck is a member of international fora dealing with prospective development issues or with burning topics facing the world economy. He is a member of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, he participates in “The Shadow GN” meetings (chaired by Professor Joseph Stiglitz) and he is a guest speaker in many academic institutions. He is the author of numerous books and articles on macroeconomic issues, in particular on the current financial crisis and its impact on the real economy.
Prior to joining UNCTAD in 2000, Mr. Flassbeck worked with the German Council of Economic Experts, Wiesbaden between 1976 and 1980, followed by the Federal Ministry of Economics until January 1986. He was chief macroeconomist in the German Institute for Economic Research between 1988 and 1998, and State Secretary (Vice Minister) from October 1998 to April 1999 at the Federal Ministry of Finance responsible for international affairs, the European Union and IMF.
He graduated in April 1976 in economics from Saarland University, Germany and he obtained a Ph.D. in Economics from the Free University, Berlin, Germany in July 1987. In 2005 he was appointed honorary professor at the University of Hamburg.

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