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Prof. Niall Ferguson holds the Max Schmidheiny Lecture at the 40th St. Gallen Symposium

On 7 May 2010, Prof. Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University & William Ziegler Professor at Harvard Business School, gives the Max Schmidheiny Lecture at the 40th St. Gallen Symposium, to be held at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. The title of Prof. Ferguson’s lecture is "Entrepreneurial Freedom in the New Global Financial System".

The Max Schmidheiny Lecture is dedicated to fostering debate on the fundamental issues relating to sustainable economic policy, and also encourage closer communications between academia and the business world. In particular, it is dedicated to key questions concerning the role of individual freedom and responsibility for economic and social prosperity – the certainty of which in the Western world is all too easily taken for granted.

In making possible the lecture at the 40th St. Gallen Symposium, the Max Schmidheiny Foundation is furthering its tradition of stimulating a dialogue on Ordnungspolitik while at the same time building upon its longstanding association with the St. Gallen Initiative. The Max Schmidheiny Lecture and the invitation to Professor Niall Ferguson are a special gift from the Max Schmidheiny Foundation to mark the 40th birthday of the St. Gallen Symposium.

The global financial and economic crisis has revealed all too clearly how relevant and controversial the questions about a sustained framework for a thriving economy and a prosperous society continue to be. Since the fall of the Berlin wall two decades ago, this has been pushed into the background. From all sides, there has been a call for a new balance between market and state, and between the financial world and the real economy. Amidst the intensity and controversy currently surrounding the global debate on the “new normal“ (Mohamed El-Erian), one thing already seems clear: the lender of last resort in the crisis should regulate more strictly, while the financial sector, which came to the brink of collapse through its grave mistakes, should be severely curtailed. For the most part, critical questions about the limits of the state’s ability to act, about the complex relationship between the financial system and the real economy, or about the basis for individual and social affluence in a global, knowledge-based economy, are being sidelined.

As an historian of world repute and a leading observer of past and present developments in the global economy and financial system, Niall Ferguson is particularly qualified to scrutinize some of these aspects, which have until now tended to be overlooked. In his research and publications, he focuses his attention on the interaction between the evolutionary forces within the financial system and political/social developments, and also on the complex structures of the various participants in the financial markets, in politics, the military, the academic world and civil society.

In the Max Schmidheiny Lecture: “Entrepreneurial freedom in the new global financial system“, Niall Ferguson forges a link between the discussions at the 40th St. Gallen Symposium, which is dedicated to the role of entrepreneurs in a period of economic change, and the core question of the future framework of the global economy.
» Transcript of the Max Schmidheiny Lecture by Prof. Niall Ferguson (PDF)
» Slides of the Max Schmidheiny Lecture by Prof. Niall Ferguson (PDF)
» Video of the Max Schmidheiny Lecture held by Prof. Niall Ferguson (Youtube)
» More information on the Max Schmidheiny Lecture
» More information on the 40th St. Gallen Symposium (external link)
» More information on Prof. Niall Ferguson at Harvard University (external link)