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DaimlerChrysler Chairman Jürgen Schrempp Defends Globalization as an Opportunity (July 2, 1999)

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9. Globalization does not deprive nation-states of their power; rather, it leads to a new partnership between the economy and politics.

Competition is largely foreign to politics. For centuries, governments could rule according to their wishes alone. Today, however, politicians throughout the world are in direct competition with each other. The key question is how can a government’s ability to make political decisions be strengthened by the sometimes variable approaches of the market economy? National governments can only be influenced and controlled to a limited extent. This does not make nation-states superfluous. As guarantors of freedom and the rule of law, they remain the foundation of every new international order – but their role will change.

Overarching thinking and economic action are now needed in order to take advantage of the growth potential of open markets. But just as international companies want national regulatory frameworks in the countries where they operate, they also want the same on a global level. It is precisely those companies that operate internationally that need legal security on global markets – not to tighten the network of regulations, but rather to release the growth potential of open markets. It is clear to us that we, as a company, can only achieve economic success by working with politics and not against it.

10. Our future prosperity cannot be achieved by protecting our vested rights but only by continuing to open up markets.

In the past years, we have made enormous progress in opening up markets. But I am concerned about growing efforts to oppose free global trade. Together with our various countries, we are standing at a major crossroads today. Do we want to shape globalization and make it an employment program for all of Europe, or do we favor protectionism and state interventions that limit market forces? Demands for regulation and individual state isolation are not only a vote of no confidence for Europe and its citizens. Ultimately, they also represent unsocially-minded politics, because open markets are inherently social [since they have the capacity to improve society]. What we now need is joint leadership in politics and the economy in order to break the rising wave of protectionism. Two major tasks take center stage here: the creation of a transatlantic market between Europe and North America, and the Eastern expansion of the European Union. Neither the EU nor the transatlantic market should become an exclusive club. [ . . . ]

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached a milestone in our quest to ensure the future viability and prosperity of our countries and their people in the harsh global competition. I am convinced that, at the threshold to a new century, global corporations not only can, but must contribute to this effort. Thank you.

Source: Rede des DaimlerChrysler-Vorstandschefs, Jürgen E. Schrempp, zur Globaliserung beim 7. Jahreskolloquium der Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft am 2. und 3. Juli in Berlin [Speech on Globalization by DaimlerChrysler Chairman Jürgen E. Schrempp at the 7th Annual Colloquium of the Alfred Herrhausen Society in Berlin on July 2 and 3], reprinted in Internationale Politik, no. 8, 1999, pp. 114-18.

Translation: Allison Brown

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