“Crisis and speculation – they are original components of the global economic system and are not only a threat to it.” This thesis was proposed by Prof. Dr. Michael Hüther (Fig. 1), honorary professor at the European Business School and Director and Member of the main board of the Cologne Insitute for Economic Research, on the occasion of the 138th Höxberg Talk, which took place at the vocational college in Beckum/Germany on 11 November 2010. About 350 participants had accepted the invitation of the Employers’ Association Cement and Building Materials (azb) that called into being the Höxberg Talk to deal with very different topics of current interest more than 35 years ago.
Hüther, who has comprehensively dealt with the reasons and consequences of the crisis, said that the reasons for the crisis were the speculations of the banks and an exaggerated growth euphoria. In the future, cyclical fluctuations should be taken as a normal phenomenon. Hüther judged very positively the actions of the politicians, i.e. passing of business-boosting programs, rescues packages for banks and the extension of short-time work. Logical conclusions have been drawn from the crisis, i.e. the regulations concerning the equity ratio of banks, provisions for rating agencies as well as the strengthening of financial supervision. However, he recommended an independent authority for the financial supervision, similar to the cartel office.
The lecturer was welcomed by the new chairman of the azb, Dr. Jürgen Winkelmann (Fig. 2). The full-time job of 57-year old Winkelmann, who was unanimously elected for two years in Kiel on 11 June 2010, is Vice President Human Resources of the Ratingen-based CEMEX Deutschland AG.
The 139th Höxberg Talk will take place on 2 February 2011. The topic will be “The ocean of the future – too high, too warm, too acid?” The lecturer will be Prof. Dr. Martin Visbeck, vice director of the Kiel-based Leibnitz Institute of Marine Sciences IFM-GEOMAR.