Economist Wambach: Structural change will come faster

Released on 15.09. 2021

  • Achim Wambach, President of the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW), expects a rapid structural change. Photo: Christoph Soeder

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Climate protection, digitization, minimum wages: Big issues for politics and business. How does the President of the ZEW Research Institute look at it?

Berlin (dpa) – The President of the ZEW Research Institute, Achim Wambach, sees the German economy facing major upheaval – structural change will come much faster than many think.

) “He will hit many very hard,” said Wambach of the German press agency. “The structural change worries me more than the economic development,” said Wambach. The greatest challenge is the energy transition. “Now it will also cause noticeable costs. The energy market must therefore become more efficient. We do not yet have a coherent energy policy. ” Security of supply will be a huge issue.

The problem with climate policy is that measures are being taken on many levels – but they are not synchronized. “In Germany there is no need for stricter expansion targets than at EU level if these lead to the Paris targets being achieved. We are now at the stage where we should be as efficient as possible. We need an international approach to climate protection. This requires an international climate club and an agreement between the major economic regions. ”

Digitization and minimum wage

Digitization has long been a part of companies arrived, but not yet sufficient in the public administration, said the President of the Leibniz Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim. “They’re still running behind at the moment. That is where the ball lies. Public administration, schools and the health system have to be digitized. ”

On the demands of the SPD, the Greens and the Left to raise the minimum wage, said Wambach: “Our criticism is that the minimum wage is being politicized.” The minimum wage should not be instrumentalized in election campaigns. “That’s why politicians set up an independent commission. And what happens? The minimum wage is taken up in the election campaign. But there should be no political race for higher minimum wages. ”

Wambach also made it clear that he had sympathy for a model that would link retirement age to increasing life expectancy. “It’s not so clear that life expectancy keeps increasing. In the USA it is falling. As far as life expectancy increases, one could say that for every additional year of life expectancy one gets four months more pension and works eight months. There is something logically compelling about that. ” One must also strengthen private, funded old-age provision. The preferred form of investment in Germany is still the savings account. “And some are proud of it.”

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