Josef Ackermann on the Global Economic and Financial Crisis

Deutsche Bank CEO Dr. Josef Ackermann visited the Atlantic Council for a frank discussion about the global economic crisis.

  The talk was the second in the Council’s Mapping the Economic and Financial Future series; EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes spoke at the series’ inaugural lecture.  Atlantic Council chairman Senator Chuck Hagel offered introductory remarks, and Frederick Kempe, the Council president and CEO, moderated the Q&A session.

In particular, Ackermann focused on how the crisis has changed the social contract between governments and citizens, noting that the pendulum has swung back in favor of state involvement in market structures after the “Reagan-Thatcher revolution” of the 1980s.  He stressed that “better rules and stronger institutions” are ultimately needed after the crisis rather than a larger role for the state in countries’ economies.  Ackermann argued that discrepancies between nation-based economic rules and institutional action at the global level resulted in the current crisis, adding that the two need to be brought in sync.

He also spoke out against protectionism, warning that it poses a threat to global markets.  Global integration is not inevitable, Ackermann said: “Globalization is not a natural force.  It is manmade and can be undone with our own hands.”

Ackermann closed by predicting that although discussions about alternatives to the Western capitalist model may intensify as a result of the present crisis, a truly new model is unlikely to emerge.  He also cautioned that the EU must keep Eastern Europe, especially hard hit by the crisis, connected with Western Europe no matter what the cost.  Finally, Ackermann urged for more transatlantic economic cooperation, stating that the EU and the U.S. should use strengths from each of their economic models to create new and better regulations for addressing the crisis.


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The Mapping the Economic and Financial Future Series is generously supported by Deutsche Bank.