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Heraeus Interview: The Politics of International Order at Times of Globalization-Skepticism

Picture of Dr. Jürgen Heraeus, Chairman Supervisory Board

On December 1st 2016, Germany has assumed the Presidency of the G20 – the forum of the leading industrial and emerging economies as well as the EU. Jürgen Heraeus is the President of the B20, the official business dialogue of the G20. In an article in the Frankfurter Rundschau, the entrepreneur warns of the worrying trend of increasing popularity of a form of populism that manifests itself in the post-factual rejection of globalization.

“For decades globalization has been the main driving force behind economic growth and rising prosperity”, writes Heraeus. In East- and Southeast Asia, it had lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But with increased connectivity, the world has become more complex: only in a very few cases it would be possible to grapple with the challenges of globalization within individual national borders. But despite extraordinary overall gains, globalization also brings negative side-effects. Some individuals might be afraid to be left behind, if they cannot keep up.

“As the central forum for international economic cooperation, the G20 needs to and will tackle this problem”, promises Heraeus. The overarching goal of the G20 is not only to facilitate growth – but rather to induce growth that is robust, resilient, sustainable and inclusive. According to the B20 President, this is the precondition to successfully shape globalization and to ensure the acceptance of much needed global cooperation. “Inclusiveness – participating in the growth of chances of upward-mobility and income-gains – has to be secured both between and within countries.”

Heraeus is certain: “The more people personally experience the positive effect globalization has on their life, the better. Then, international exchange will lead to increased prosperity and peace-full coexistence – especially in times of increasing uncertainty.”

About the G20

The G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation. Within the G20, 19 leading industrial and emerging economies as well as the European Union coordinate their policies and agree on joint actions and principles. The G20 is increasingly turning into a center pillar of global governance. The G20 members combined hold more than 85 percent of the global economic output, more than 80 percent of global goods and services exports and represent about two thirds of the global population. 

About the B20

The B20 is an integral part of the G20 process and represents the global business community. The B20’s task is to support the G20 by making concrete recommendations for actions, consolidating global businesses’ interests, and lending its expertise to the G20. Beyond this engagement the B20 focusses on advocacy and fosters the international dialogue between governments, civil society, and the business community. Like the G20 presidency, the B20 presidency is a perennial process and rotates on a yearly basis. The leading German business associations BDI, DIHK and BDA took over the B20 presidency on September 4th 2016. Chair of the B20 is Dr. Jürgen Heraeus.

The full Op-Ed (in German) can be found here.
Download this text as PDF here.

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