CONVOCO! Forum 2018


On Saturday, July 28, the Convoco Forum 2018 on “The Multiple Futures of Capitalism” gathered together 290 guests from the worlds of economics, academia, politics, and culture at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg.

The founder of Convoco, Corinne Michaela Flick, opened the conference with her introductory speech in which she emphasized the impact that today’s electronic globalization has on capitalism. She pointed out that markets were living institutions that have been shaped by historical, cultural, and normative circumstances, and that they were therefore products of civilization. After the introductory speech, the former Chief Economist of the World Bank, Justin Yifu Lin (Beijing University) gave the keynote on “The Rise of China and Its Implications for the World”. He spoke about different versions of capitalism—including the Chinese one—and about the impact that China’s rise has on the world.
In the following panel discussion which was moderated by historian Albrecht Ritschl (LSE London), China was also a crucial topic. Entrepreneurs Roland Berger and Stefan Oschmann (CEO of Merck) and the economist Monika Schnitzer from the LMU Munich discussed the topic “Capitalism in a Globalized World”.
Herbert Reitsamer (Professor of Neurophysiology, University Salzburg) concluded the first part of the Forum with his lecture on “The Physiology of Greed”. He showed how greed is physiologically formed in human beings and he raised the question of what will happen when there are no more natural limits to the desire for more in the age of digital capitalism.

After the break, Lucio Baccaro (Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies) described “The Politics of Growth Models” in his lecture. He compared the different growth-stimulation programs in Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, and Italy. Stefan Korioth (LMU Munich) moderated the following panel discussion: Wolfgang Fink, CEO of Goldman Sachs Germany and Austria, Jörg Rocholl, Ph.D. (ESMT Berlin), and Rudolf Mellinghoff, President of the Federal Fiscal Court, discussed the topic “Capital and Market”. They underlined the absolute necessity of growth, analyzed the interdependencies of the public sector and the market, and spoke about the tasks that banks have in a market system.
The next item on the agenda was the Convoco Art Conversation with the international curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and the documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis on the topic “The Plague of Stability: What Prevents Us from Having Visions of the Future?” They emphasized the importance for society of visions and deplored the lack of visions at the moment—to the detriment of the acceptance of capitalism among the broader population.
Wolfgang Schön (Director of the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance) gave the last lecture of the conference with the title “The Digital Capitalism and its Fiscal Consequences”. He emphasized the extent to which the fiscal system has changed through digitalization and he spoke of the challenges that the system now has to face. In the final panel discussion, the participants were asked about their own visions for capitalism. With Roland Berger as panel moderator, the Director at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance Kai A. Konrad, Carl Benedikt Frey (Co-Director Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment), and the CEO of Klöckner, Gisbert Rühl spoke about their own “Ideas for the Future of Capitalism”.

Convoco is very grateful to Vöslauer and Audi for their generous donations in kind.



Die Zukunft des Kapitalismus – Kai A. Konrad, Focus – 33/2018

Kongress der Woche – Markus Hurek, Focus – 32/2018

Festspiele für kluge Köpfe – Bunte – 35/2018


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