---- „It’s the economy, stupid“ (Bill Clinton) ----
Money and the economy determine our life to an overwhelming extent. Money is not everything, but without money almost nothing works.
And just as important - the other side of the same coin, so to speak - is the idea of how the economy and money work. This is taken care of by the economists- the business economists with regard to the companies, the macroeconomists with regard to the entire economy of a country or even the world. The economists also get an idea of how environmental destruction and climate change are related to the economy. (Both, how our economies contribute to environmental destruction and climate change, and what these changes mean for the economy, as well as how we can and must change our economies in order to preserve our livelihoods on our blue planet.) Economists do not agree on one opinion with regard to such complicated problems. This can be seen again and again, for example on television - whether in the news or in discussion rounds - for example.
However, this diversity of opinion is deceptive. Because worldwide - and especially in Germany - a certain teaching opinion dominates both research and teaching at universities and the appearance in the public and the influence in politics.
This dominant teaching style is the neoclassical mainstream, which - simplified - holds the following views:
- all participants in the economy work strictly for their self-interest without regard to any other - and they have perfect knowledge of all prices and how they develop in the future,
- 'the invisible hand of the market' regulates everything optimally; supply and demand are perfectly balanced and there is prosperity for all' - state intervention is fundamentally neither necessary nor desirable,
- the market economy always tends towards equilibrium and full employment - economic crises occur only through disruptive factors from outside the economy - crises arising from the interior of economic activity such as the collapse of the 'New Market' (the dotcom bubble') in 2000 or the crisis after the Lehman bankruptcy from 2008 are theoretically impossible,
- economic growth is extremely important in order to finance our social network, to provide all rising prosperity, in particular to be able to pay the people of the Third World and also to protect the environment - and despite all the environmental pollution still possible (through decarbonisation, ie the decoupling of the economy from carbon dioxide emissions),
- the impact of climate change on our prosperity is negligible (so rather peanuts'): 1 degree global warming means only 1% loss of world social product, and even with 6 degrees global warming it would only be 6% loss of prosperity (similar to what we have seen in economic crises - and can fix it through growth) - this is essentially due to the fact that around 92% of value creation is created indoors, meaning that climate change is not at all exposed (the 8% outside' mainly concerns agriculture, forestry and fisheries)
The prize is intended to give an impetus, to promote the most urgently needed alternatives to these unrealistic ideas and to give them public attention - because our human civilization is more threatened than ever before by the imminent climate catastrophe. (Even the corona pandemic will probably seem like a trifle to us in retrospect.)
We also advertise your support, whether through donations or word of mouth, for our cause, or concrete help for and at events.
That it will be really bad without determined countermeasures, must probably be admitted by everyone who takes without blinkers together what is happening around us, e.g.:
- weeks of heat and drought from spring to late summer with many deaths and bad crop failures in agriculture;
- at other times torrential, sometimes day-long rainfalls with also many deaths and damage costing billions;
- huge forest losses - in our case by the bark beetle, elsewhere by devastating forest fires (still elsewhere by deforestation of huge forest stands, especially the rainforests in Brazil and Southeast Asia);
- the melting of the glaciers of the Arctic and the high mountains, including our Alps - with rising sea levels on the one hand and thus threats to coastal regions, and on the other hand effects on the feeding of our large rivers;
- the thawing of permafrost soils esp. in Siberia, releasing huge amounts of the greenhouse gas methane (which is about 7 times as harmful as carbon dioxide);
- (and last but not least) a very threatening extinction of species, e.g. songbirds, mammal animals, butterflies – and because of the extinction of pollinating species, e.g. bees, food shortages threaten to a huge extent.