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Martin Wolf

Room for Discussion is proud to announce that they will be hosting an interview with Martin Wolfchief economics commentator of the Financial Times – on the 15th of May at 13:00 in E-hall. In 2000 Mr. Wolf was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) “for services to financial journalism”. The interview will be dedicated to the importance of economic and financial journalism and the economic challenges of the coming decade.

Mr. Wolf was educated in London and in 1967 moved to Oxford, where he studied Classics before starting the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Course. As a graduate student, Mr. Wolf moved on to Nuffield College, also at Oxford, which he left with a master of philosophy degree in economics in 1971.

Directly after graduating Mr. Wolf joined the World Bank’s young professionals program, becoming a senior economist in 1974. By the start of the eighties, the Bank’s policy was directed on for increased capital flows to developing countries, which had resulted in many of them suffering debt crises by the early 1980s. Seeing these results of misjudged intervention by global authorities, Mr. Wolf shifted his views towards the right and the free market.

Mr. Wolf left the World Bank in 1981, to become the Director of Studies at the Trade Policy Research Centre, in London. He joined the Financial Times in 1987, where he has been an associate editor since 1990 and chief economics commentator since 1996. Up until the late 2000s, Mr. Wolf was an influential advocate of globalization and the free market.

In 2008 Mr. Wolf witnessed the results of the disillusioned theories that had promoted an excessive reliance on the private sector. After that Mr. Wolf’s views partially shifted away from the free market back to the Keynesian ideas he had been taught when young. He became one of the influential drivers of the 2008–2009 Keynesian resurgence. In late 2008 and early 2009, he used his platform on the Financial Times to advocate a massive fiscal and monetary response to the financial crisis of 2007–2010.

In 2012, Mr. Wolf stated in remarks for the Financial Times that public goods are the building blocks of civilization: security and safety, knowledge and science, a sustainable environment, trust, and economic and financial stability. The discussion on 15th of May revolves around economic challenges of sustaining some of the public goods mentioned above and discusses the importance of economic and financial journalism in this process.

In September 2008 the Great Financial Crisis, triggered by the collapse of Lehman brothers, shook the world. Our world has become increasingly financialized and the consequences of this development were felt during the financial crisis. Ten years following the crisis the global economy is still awash uncertainty. Over the past decade, a whole industry of books, articles, documentaries, and even films was trying to explain the causes and consequences of the crisis. Yet, there is no universe explanation and will probably never be. Therefore, the questions arise: What role does financial journalism play in keeping the financial sector in check? And to what extent does the attack on established media outlets affect the FT?

With the release of the latest United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) report, it has become increasingly clear that an appropriate response to climate change must be taken within the coming decade. We as individuals can strive to reduce fossil fuels emissions and plastic usage. But how can we achieve global awareness of the problem? What is the role of young economists in climate change debate, and what policies make economic sense?

The other issue that destabilizes the world economy and brings uncertainty is the USA-China trade war that has been dominating economic headlines. The question remains whether it is really only about trade balances or can we expect more economic wars as the liberal world order will be increasingly challenged?

These and more questions will be answered during the interview with Mr. Wolf on the 15th of May in E-hall. Come yourself to ask questions or read out the follow-up article covering the interview.   


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