ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research

09/20/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/20/2018 06:54

ZEW President Achim Wambach in Conversation with Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier

The digital revolution is currently in full swing, creating new business models and transforming our workplaces, while internet giants like Google and Facebook dominate the market. In light of all these changes, ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach and co-author of the book, Dr. Hans Christian Müller, editor at Handelsblatt, examine how the basic principles of the social market economy can be successfully translated into the digital age to ensure that all of society benefits from the latest technological developments. The authors are particularly concerned by the internet economy's tendency towards monopolization and call on governments to protect competition and ensure that no single company becomes too powerful, thus helping to create digital prosperity for all members of society.

At the book launch at Urania, Minister Altmaier commented: 'The social market economy has to continually prove its value in the face of new challenges and to fulfil its promise of prosperity for all. The digitalisation of both our work and private lives is certainly one of these challenges and the social market economy is more than up to meeting it. We just need to translate its principles into the internet age whilst ensuring that we have fair competition and a smart, ethical regulatory framework so that everyone receives some form of digital dividend. In their book, Achim Wambach and Hans Christian Müller show us what form regulatory policy might take in the digital age and in doing so make a valuable contribution to the discussion of what Germany's future should look like.'

In their book, the authors also describe how the digital revolution has turned the way we do business on its head and how the intelligent networking of humans and machines is making our economy more and more productive. In addition, they pursue the question of what these developments mean for working people and discuss the extent to which the safeguards previously employed by the social market economy to protect the prosperity-enhancing forces in our economic system are still fit for purpose today. This includes a look at the changes to competition and social policy that will be necessary to ensure that the whole of society can benefit from technological progress.

These were some of the main topics discussed at the book launch by Minister Altmaier and ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach in a Q&A with the audience. The discussion was moderated by Christine Watty, managing editor and presenter at the radio station Deutschlandfunk.