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Snower: “We Need a New Image of Humanity in Economics”

 

Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in cooperation with Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW)

October 2, 2013

Are humans individualistic, selfish profit optimizers? Or do relationships, compassion and selflessness play a much greater role in decision making than previously thought? These almost philosophical questions were discussed at the Global Economic Symposium (GES) in Kiel. “Our view of the world is about to change radically,” said the President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), Prof. Dennis Snower. “We need a new image of humanity in economics. We are only just about to understand how comprehensively we are all linked and how dependent we are on one another.”

Economists from around the world have joined forces with psychologists, sociologists, neuroscientists and representatives of many other sciences to help establish a realistic image of humanity. “Individuals do not really act individually. We are all interlinked in many ways, often without knowing about it,” said Snower. Economic decisions are also always dependent on the environment in which they are made.

In a world where bare figures are no longer decisive, success also needs to be redefined. And, “Redefining Success” is the central topic of this year’s GES. “The gross national product should no longer be the sole measure of success,” the well-known Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard said. “Social cohesion and interpersonal relationships are the best measure for happiness in a society.” Values such as justice, human rights and transparency need to be given more weight in society, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, added. “These values and principles don’t cost a single cent. But implementing them does.” The Scandinavian model could be seen as a role model for the world.

 

The Global Economic Symposium (GES) 2013 is being organized by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in cooperation with the German National Library of Economics – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW).

Further information is available at http://www.global-economic-symposium.org and on the official GES Blog at blog.global-economic-symposium.org.

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