Institute of the Weltethos Foundation
at the University of Tübingen

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Jeffrey Sachs pays tribute to Hans Küng and the Weltethos Institute

On April 8, one of the world’s most renowned economists was awarded the Alexander-Rüstow-Plakette by the Aktionsgemeinschaft Soziale Marktwirtschaft (ASM) for his commitment to free and humane social orders. In his acceptance speech, he paid tribute to Hans Küng and the Weltethos Institute. Sachs became known as an advisor in the Eastern European transformation processes as well as an advisor to developing countries and director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Two days after Küng’s death, Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s most renowned economists, reminded us how fruitful Hans Küng’s intellectual legacy is for the economy. In his acceptance speech at the awarding of the Alexander-Rüstow-Plakette of the Aktionsgemeinschaft Soziale Marktwirtschaft (Action Group Social Market Economy), Sachs acknowledged Küng’s mission of working toward an economy that brings peace and recognized the importance of the Weltethos Institute at the University of Tübingen. “We need more cooperation and less conflict (…) Last but not least: We need a global ethic. Professor Hans Küng was a brilliant, inspiring scholar, a leader who helped the whole world understand that we really do have a global ethic if we look for it. And in a lifelong quest, he revealed the core foundations that we share in all societies around the world. The Global Ethic Institute in Tübingen continues this great effort, and this is so important for our time. So, due to the recent passing of Professor Küng, let us remember the profound contribution he made and the relevance of his teaching to us now.”

In his list of the five most important things we need for sustainable development in the sense of a social market economy, Jeffrey Sachs named a global ethic as the unifying and central final point (from minute 53).

After the awarding of the Alexander-Rüstow plaque, he went on to say: “The social market economy means a humane economy, an economy for people. I think the ethos of the social market economy still plays an essential role today.”

Most recently, Professor Sachs came to Tübingen in 2019, as a speaker at the anniversary celebration of the “Global Economic Ethic” manifesto. A joint Position on the Social Market Economy as a Global Peace Project was published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in December 2019.

About the speaker:

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs is professor of economics and director of the Center of Sustainable Development at Columbia University. In the past, he has served as Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia, President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and Special Advisor to UN Secretaries General Kofi Annan, Ban Ki-Moon, and Antonio Guterres. A prolific author and world-renowned economist, he has studied and advised governments and organizations on the transition from centrally managed economies to market economies, public health challenges, poverty and strategies to escape poverty, and global climate change.