Media information

Global Economy Prize 2015 Awarded

21.06.2015

On Sunday June 21, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and its partners, the City of Kiel and the Schleswig-Holstein Chamber of Commerce, have awarded the eleventh Global Economy Prize at the Kiel City Hall. The following persons have been honored as masterminds of a cosmopolitan, market-oriented and caring society:

Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet politician and USSR head of state, Nobel Peace Prize laureate 
Sir Christopher A. Pissarides, Cypriot-British scientist and professor of economics at the London School of Economics and professor of European Studies at the University of Cyprus, Nobel Memorial Prize laureate in economics
Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric CEO and economic adviser to U.S. president Barack Obama
Kristine and Douglas Tompkins, entrepreneurs in the textile industry (The North Face, Esprit, Patagonia) and founder of private wildlife sanctuaries in Patagonia.


f.l.: Dennis Snower, Douglas Tompkins, Jeffrey Immelt,
Kristine Tompkins, Christopher Pissarides, Alexander Likhotal
(Consultant of Michail Gorbachev)

“Finding global perspectives based on a solution-oriented approach—this is the central concern of the Global Economy Prize. It will be awarded to those who dare to embrace the future and to look far beyond their own noses, to those always eager to discover new roads and ready to create a unifying set of values in order to solve pressing global problems,” said Professor Dennis Snower, President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, in his opening address. Key driver in this will always be new visions of ethical and moral values as well as new social norms. Mikhail Gorbachev had gathered the courage to implement such a new vision in terms of glasnost (“openness”) and perestroika (“transformation”) and with this he crucially helped to prepare German reunification and to dismantle the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev receives the Global Economy Prize in the category of politics. Especially today we need to listen to Gorbachev’s cautionary words with respect to the conflict-ridden Ukraine, Snower reminded: Both parties, western countries and Russia, need to learn better how to put themselves into the other one’s position, how to recognize the other one’s point of view and, especially, how to appreciate the other one’s perspective, too. “We need to build a sufficiently broad set of shared values in order to cooperate successfully and to solve our global problems,” said Snower.

The courage to stand up for their values—this is what also distinguishes Jeffrey Immelt as well as married couple Kristine and Douglas Tompkins. All three are honored in the category of entrepreneurs. Immelt, a fervent free market defender is convinced that in environmental issues the state has to take the lead in order to enforce the values approved by society in general, particularly against vested economic interests. At the same time, Immelt initiated investments into eco-friendly technologies—which proved to be an economic success at a later stage.

Conversely, in their struggle for a new value system that reconciles both economy and ecology, Kristine and Douglas Tompkins proved that private initiative may be indispensable in order to defend collective values against short-term oriented national interests. Both entrepreneurs in the textile industry (The North Face, Esprit, Patagonia“) had to come to terms with strong resistance of conservative forces and vested economic interests determined to further exploit the rain forests and strongly opposing those private wildlife sanctuaries in Patagonia which now help to preserve the unique nature of this South American region.

Sir Christopher Pissarides is honored today in the category of economic scientists. Together with his colleagues he has invented the concept of search unemployment which actually changed the course of economic mainstream thinking. “Anyone who ever tried to do this will appreciate this achievement,” according to Snower. Until then, economists have been entirely convinced that wage levels alone will determine the rate of unemployment. “The idea that supply and demand are unable to match due to lack of mutual knowledge has been entirely new and has dramatically changed economic science,” Snower said. With these new insights at hand, Pissarides has paved the way for new opportunities of economic policy response to labor market problems—just as much as the other laureates have pioneered new value systems and new approaches to persisting global problems.

Professor Dennis Snower, Ph.D., president of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy:
“Finding global perspectives based on a solution-oriented approach—this is the central concern of the Global Economy Prize. It will be awarded to those who dare to embrace the future and to look far beyond their own noses, to those always eager to discover new roads and ready to create a unifying set of values in order to solve pressing global problems.”

Torsten Albig, Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein:
“In the course of its history of more than 100 years the Kiel Institute for the World Economy has carved a profile for Kiel and Schleswig-Holstein both nationally and internationally. The Global Economy Prize, being awarded today for the eleventh time, meanwhile has become an integral part of the Kiel Week.
A strong unifying feature of all laureates: They distanced themselves from established conventions and struck out in a new direction. In this sense, nominating Michail Gorbachev is entirely self-explaining. After all, perestroika means nothing else than conversion or transformation. In the mid-80s, only Gorbachev’s courageous politics allowed the peaceful revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe to take place.”

Dr. Ulf Kämpfer, Kiel Lord Mayor:
“The Global Economy Prize award ceremony is one of the pre-eminent events during the Kiel Week. It has already established itself as an important stage for the intellectual dialogue among economic science, politics, enterprises, and society. Similarly, the award proves the importance of Kiel as a business location which hosts the Kiel Institute for the World Economy as an outstanding center of economic research. 
Awarding the Global Economy Prize contributes importantly to approach issues arising at the world level. This year’s laureates all developed their own particular way to tackle some these issues. The City of Kiel as state capital of Schleswig-Holstein feels proud and honored to welcome these visionary masterminds.”

Klaus-Hinrich Vater, President of the Schleswig-Holstein Chamber of Commerce:
“Mutual inspiration, knowledge transfer, and joint projects of all three partners—science, businesses and administration—prove to be a fantastic opportunity for our place. Therefore, I am pleased to see that the Global Economy Prize is an idea and a child of Schleswig-Holstein, because as we all know, ideas change the world and children are our future.”

More information about the Global Economy Prize and the Laureates can be found in the press kit and on the website.

For coverage related to the Global Economy Prize, you may download pictures of the awardees here:

Jeffrey 
ImmeltKristine and Douglas TompkinsSir Christopher A. PissaridesMichail
Gorbatschow© GE© Tompkins Conservation© LSE, Nigel Stead© Gorbatschow Foundation, Elena GolosovskayaDownloadDownloadDownloadDownload