Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf Lectures at ZEW

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On March 14, 2012, the Abbot Primate Dr. Notker Wolf, Abbot Primate of the Order of Saint Benedict and Chancellor of the Pontifical University of St. Anselmo in Rome, gave a lecture on financial markets and ethics at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim, Germany. ZEW President Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang Franz was pleased to welcome almost 400 guests to the event, which took place within the framework of the Mannheim Economics and Currency Dialogues (Mannheimer Wirtschafts- und Währungsgespräche) at ZEW. The Mannheim Economics and Currency Dialogues, a series of lectures on banking and finance topics, are supported by the association of banks Rhein-Neckar Mannheim (Bankenvereinigung Rhein-Neckar Mannheim).


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The Abbot Primate’s central thesis has been his conviction that liberal behaviour is a social good that is to be protected. “We are only creative, innovative, and competitive if we live in freedom”, Wolf said. But, wherever there is freedom there is also human error, he urged. This has been again evident during the recent financial market crisis. Here, the completely justified human pursuit of profit had turned into greed. Therefore, freedom should only exist within a legal and moral framework. But the state cannot relieve each individual of the responsibility for its own behaviour. Humans must evaluate their behavior within its context and they should take into consideration the consequences for other beings. This is a tension, he said, that has to be tolerated and leveled each day. But, how can the human being find and keep the right degree of freedom? He puts all his trust in the youth, Wolf proved his optimism. Young people do have a strong sense for justice and they have the strength to tackle things and change them. Older generations should support the younger and should give good example. “God gave us freedom to do good”, Wolf said at the end of his lecture. 


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