On 4 April 2017, the Rafael del Pino Foundation organised the Master Conference "Economic Globalisation: Curse or Blessing? Donges, Professor Emeritus at the University of Cologne (Germany).
Juergen B. Donges is Emeritus Professor of Economics and Director of the Institute for Economic Policy and the Otto Wolff Institute for Economic Studies, both located in Cologne.
Professor Donges was Vice-President of the Kiel Institute for World Economics and Chairman of the Commission for the Deregulation of the Economy, set up by the German Federal Government. From 1995 to 1997 he was a member of the German Federal Government Commission on Public Sector Reform and subsequently Chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts.
Juergen B. Donges is scientific advisor to several institutions and trustee of several scientific and cultural foundations, including the Fundación ICO, Madrid, corresponding academician for Germany of the Real Academia de Ciencias Económicas y Financieras, Barcelona. - Member of the Academy of Sciences of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf and advisor to the Rafael del Pino Foundation.
On 4 April 2017, the Rafael del Pino Foundation hosted a keynote lecture by Juergen B. Donges, Professor Emeritus at the University of Cologne. Donges, professor emeritus at the University of Cologne, under the title "Economic globalisation: curse or blessing? Donges began his lecture by recalling that criticism of globalisation is not a new phenomenon. On the contrary, they were already present in the 1990s, except that at that time those in power stood firm in defence of market freedom. Now, however, it is the political leaders themselves who are joining in the criticism. First it was Hollande who, after the first protests, said that TTIP was dead. Then came the German finance minister with the same. And then came Donald Trump. Why is this happening? First of all, because of cognitive dissonance, i.e. the tendency to perceive the negative as much worse than it is and the positive as normal. If companies close down because of globalisation, because they are not adapted to it, this is perceived as a drama; good things, such as smartphones or the possibility of travelling the world, on the other hand, are seen as normal. This is because politicians and the media have done very little education to correct these perceptions. Secondly, there is the unholy alliance of groups with very different ways of thinking: populists, NGO activists, trade union leaders (who are not looking for the real reasons for unemployment), consumer protectionists, environmentalists, churches, private economic groups (farmers, cultural industry...), etc. They have now been joined by Mrs May with Brexit, which is aimed at a system of bilateral trade treaties that fragments the liberal order. And also Trump, with his American First. There has never been such a protectionist in the United States, who does not care about the consequences of his actions. The arguments they put forward are that globalisation restricts national sovereignty, that tax competition is not good, that globalisation encourages relocations and increases inequalities, that it erodes social rights, that it damages the environment... The reality, however, is more complex and very different from what is said. The advanced countries are recording acceptable levels of growth and employment and governments are implementing social policies, Third World countries are getting ahead thanks to globalisation, the North-South gap has narrowed, poverty levels have fallen and the causes of most countries' economic problems are local. The problem is that, these days, verifiable facts do not count, with the result that, today, neo-liberalism is for many people the cause of all ills, when those who launch such criticisms do not know what liberalism is. If we want economic growth, we have to have structural changes. Declining sectors and unskilled people will have a hard time, but it must be borne in mind that structural changes are not due to globalisation, but to technological progress, and this will continue to be the case, contrary to what the critics of globalisation claim. The best thing a country can do is to specialise in what it can do best. This is what advanced countries have done and these are their advantages, even if there are losers. Protectionism does not solve the problem. In this sense, experience teaches us that we can end up in a trade and exchange war. The answer has to go the other way. First, governments must create the right conditions for innovation so that jobs can be created. In addition, globalisation imposes a healthy pressure on governments to pursue sound economic policies. And we must bear in mind that we can take up these challenges, not only through policy, but also through our own efforts. Globalisation, therefore, is not a curse, but a blessing.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.
The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.