- 22 June 2015
Public Program | Summer Party of the Aspen Institute Germany and the „Verein der Freunde des Aspen Instituts“ 2015: "Export above all else? Germany’s chances and risks in a globalized world“
On the occasion of this year’s summer party on June 22, Rüdiger Lentz welcomed Dr. Markus Kerber, Director General and Member of the Presidential Board of the Voice of German Industry (BDI) as guest speaker. Together, they discussed chances and risks of globalization for Germany.
Kerber called Germany a Janus-faced country. On the one hand, it has practically no raw materials, stretches over a comparably small territory and is home to only one percent of the world population. On the other hand, Germany generates about five percent of global GDP. It is world’s the second largest export nation after China and front runner in many areas. This gives the most populous EU country an extraordinary position, says Kerber, especially as Germany’s economy has been included into the open system of globalization for decades, leading to its current prosperity. Therefore, he is very astonished by Germany’s strong need for a special path/way and the rising refusal of globalization and free trade.
At the same time, there is a strong demand in the international community of states for Germany to play a bigger role. Several countries would, e.g. in terms of climate protection, rely on Germany to make the first step ahead. As the U.S. has tried to be more restrained and cost effective in the world for several years, other countries automatically gain more responsibility. With the higher level of responsibility also come higher “costs of leadership”, which Germany would have to inevitably master now. Germany produces more than it consumes and is therefore dependent on free trade and globalization for its economic survival. Having benefited so much from globalization, Kerber said that now was the time for “pay back“: Fiscally and as an agenda setter, militarily and civilly, Germany is destined take on more of a leading role, Kerber predicted.