In BILD, two Nobel laureates in economics discuss the effects of an immediate embargo on gas, oil and coal. And who do you think can most influence the German government on this issue.
Franco-American Esther Duflo (49) and American of Indian origin Abhijit Banerjee (61) are professors of economics at the famous MIT University in Massachusetts (United States). They won the Nobel Prize in 2019 for their research on poverty reduction. They are married and have two children.
” data-zoom-src=”https://bilder.bild.de/fotos/das-ehepaar-esther-duflo-49-und-abjihit-banerjee-61-gewann-2019-den-nobelpreis-fuer-wirtschaftswi-c510f636027e4b2db5b40c919991d601-79779554/Bild/7.bild.jpg”/> The couple Esther Duflo (49 years old) and Abhijit Banerjee (61 years old) in Boston. When this photo was taken in 2019, the war in Ukraine had not yet escalatedPhoto: Bryce Vickmark/MIT
The couple Esther Duflo (49 years old) and Abhijit Banerjee (61 years old) in Boston. When this photo was taken in 2019, the war in Ukraine had not yet escalatedPhoto: Bryce Vickmark/MIT
BILD: You have researched and published on the subject of poverty alleviation and received the Nobel Prize in Economics for this in 2019. Do you think that Germany would be at serious risk of poverty if it stopped importing raw materials from Russia with immediate effect?
Abhijit Banerjee: “Definitely not. You have to put things in perspective. Germany is a rich country that has the resources to redistribute so that no one becomes poor under the shock of an immediate embargo. Yes, it would cost something, but using the The word ‘poverty’ in this context is downright absurd.”
Esther Duflo: “There would be painful cuts. But we can be sure in Western societies that the most vulnerable are protected. This was possible during the corona pandemic. It will be possible again. And this must be compared with the incredible suffering of the Ukrainian people. It seems inappropriate to worry about our economic costs in this context, although of course it is deeply human. We would like to quote the German pastor Martin Niemöller from 1946 on the dangers of acting too late:
“When the Nazis got the Communists, I kept quiet; I was not a communist.
When they went to get the trade unionists, I kept quiet, I was not a trade unionist.
When they went to get the Jews, I kept quiet, I wasn’t a Jew.
When they took me away, there was no one left to protest.
How do you rate the influence of business and industry on politics in Germany?
Duflo: “Industry appears to be very influential, with trade association reports being cited as evidence of the alleged costs. It’s not a specifically German problem, it’s everywhere. Too many of those who present themselves as “economists” on television are usually not academics, but people who explicitly represent the interests of industry or business. Their advice is of course influenced by their origin. It’s like when an auto repair shop tells you that your car needs a lot of work. It is viewed with some skepticism. It is also striking that the same industry groups that claimed for a decade that German energy import levels from Russia were safe are now saying that stopping those imports would be catastrophic.
” data-zoom-src=”https://bilder.bild.de/fotos/energieintensive-fabriken-wie-diese-spezialgiesserei-in-leipzig-spueren-bereits-jetzt-die-folgen-der-g-6bc6025c5424499db65750c8ffe38e39-79779576/Bild/7.bild.jpg”/> Energy-hungry factories like this special foundry in Leipzig are feeling the effects of rising gas prices. Many manufacturers fear an immediate embargoPhoto: Waltraud Grubitzsch/ZB
Energy-hungry factories like this special foundry in Leipzig are feeling the effects of rising gas prices. Many manufacturers fear an immediate embargoPhoto: Waltraud Grubitzsch/ZB