Cultures of Economics

A three-part event series by the Federal Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

In light of the current financial crisis, it has become more urgent than ever before to change and improve the way we do business. Economic practice is also a form of cultural practice – and one of particular interest. How has the relationship between economics and culture evolved historically? How does economic practice function in other contemporary cultures? And most importantly, what kind of economic world can and should we strive for in the future? These are some of the questions which leading economists, scholars and cultural artists discussed at the event series “Cultures of Economics” held on three days in May and June 2010.

The first conference “Insights – Marvellous Markets” investigated the facets of changing economic forms. The second event “Shifting Perspectives – Economics in Spite of Ourselves” illustrated the relationship between economy and culture. The third conference “New Vistas – Desire to Win!” encouraged participants to develop utopias for a new culture of economics. 

7 May 2010
Insights – Marvellous Markets

Economic historians differentiate between ancient and modern views of economic activity. Since the end of the Middle Ages, business has become an increasingly integral part of our way of life. This event examined the cultural conditions of current economic forms and their socio-historic transformations.
Moderator: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Bertram Schefold (Frankfurt), chair of Economics at the Johann Wolfgang-Goethe Universität. His research work focuses on capital theory, environmental economics and the history of theory. Guest observer: Frauke Liesenborghs, Managing Director of Global Challenges Network e.V.

Tagung \"Kulturen des Wirtschaftens\" am 7. Mai 2010 im Radialsystem V in Berlin   Prof. Dr. Julian Nida-Rümelin (München) auf der Tagung \"Kulturen des Wirtschaftens\" am 7. Mai 2010 im Radialsystem V in Berlin.
Radialsystem in Berlin                            Karina Smigla-Bobinksi u. Julian Nida-Rümelin


Prof. Dr. Adelheid Biesecker (Bremen)
Ms. Biesecker is a professor emeritus of Economics. She was one of the directors of the Institute for Institutional and Social Economics in Bremen and served as a member of the inquiry committee on the “Future of Civic Commitment” in the German Bundestag. One of her chief areas of research involves developing alternatives to neoliberal globalisation.

Dr. Dambisa Moyo (London / New York)
Ms. Moyo is an economist with postgraduate degrees from Harvard and Oxford University. Her former employers include the World Bank and Goldman Sachs. In 2009 she was distinguished as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum. Ms. Moyo is a critic of current foreign aid policies and develops viable alternatives, which do not rely, for example, on coupling democracy with market economics.   

Prof. Dr. Ingo Pies (Halle-Wittenberg)
Mr. Pies is the chair of Economic Ethics at the Martin-Luther-Universität in Halle. His main areas of research are economic and corporate ethics, global governance and corporate citizenship.

Prof. Dr. Yunxiang Yan (Los Angeles)
Mr. Yan teaches Anthropology at the University of California and is the director of UCLA’s Center for Chinese Studies. His research focuses on the relationship between globalization and patterns of individualization in China where he sees an alternative modernization process underway.

Film programme
Introduction: Florian Wüst Europa im Werden – Der Schuman Plan, Eva Kroll, BRD 1952, 10'
Marketing, Pierre Long, FR/UK 1953, 17'
Mit beiden Füßen auf der Erde, DIE WAAGE, BRD 1959, 3'
Ilha das Flores, Jorge Furtado, BR 1989, 13'
Last Men Standing, Sasha Maja Djurkovic, UK 2005, 17'
Sieben bis zehn Millionen, Stefan Panhans, D 2005, 5'30''

Installation Karina Smigla-Bobinski auf der Tagung \"Kulturen des Wirtschaftens\" am 7. Mai 2010 im Radialsystem V in Berlin.   Installation Karina Smigla-Bobinski auf der Tagung \"Kulturen des Wirtschaftens\" am 7. Mai 2010 im Radialsystem V in Berlin.
Installation Karina Smigla-Bobinski at the opening conference at Radialsystem in Berlin

4 June 2010
Shifting Perspectives – Economics in Spite of Ourselves

Most of us agree that the economy plays a dominant role in almost every area of life. What exactly is the relationship between culture and economics? To what degree do economic factors influence us, and how do religion, politics and human images influence economic forms? This event focused on the interaction between capitalism and cultural ways of life.

Moderator: Christian Schlüter, cultural affairs editor at the Frankfurter Rundschau, Guest observer: Anja Kohl, financial journalist and ARD stock market correspondent

Film programme

Inflation, Hans Richter, D 1928, 3'
Kreislauf, Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband, D 1932, 2'
Free To Choose, Vol. 1 – The Power of the Market: The Pencil, Milton Friedman, USA 1980, 2'30''
Very Nice, Very Nice, Arthur Lipsett, CA 1961, 7'
Product Recall, Carey Young, UK 2007, 4'30''
Funny Bunny, Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband, D 1990, 1'
The Anarchist Banker, Jan Peter Hammer, D 2010, 30' Short discussion with Jan Peter Hammer


Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Brodbeck (Würzburg)
Mr. Brodbeck teaches Macroeconomics at the University of Applied Sciences in Würzburg. As a philosopher, economist, creativity researcher and economic ethicist, Mr. Brodbeck researches monetary theory, business ethics, creativity, society and Buddhist and intercultural philosophy.   

Prof. Dr. Eva Illouz (Jerusalem)
Ms. Illouz is a professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Hebrew University. Her main areas of research include the analysis of capitalistic consumer society and media culture, as well as the significance of emotionality and rationality in relation to our economic form.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Pogge (New Haven)
Mr. Pogge is a Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University. His research on innovative concepts of global justice examines the necessary changes to our current world order and a radical transformation of market-based and institutional structures for the benefit of the poor.

Prof. Brigitte Young, PhD (Münster)
Ms. Young teaches Political Economics at the Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität. She served as a member of the “Warwick Commission examining the future of the world trade system” and the inquiry committee on “Globalization of World Economics” in the German Bundestag. Her main areas of research include issues of political and gender-specific configuration of world economics in the context of globalization.

25 June 2010
New Vistas – Desire to Win!

If we have indeed come to a crossroads today, then we should venture beyond analysis and set our sights on innovative forms and cultures of economics. What might a viable and sustainable global economic system look like in the future? Do we need a change of paradigm in order to reflect on and shape the future? This event aimed to counter the widespread perplexity with utopian possibilities.

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Armin Nassehi (Munich), chair of Sociology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität with specialization in cultural sociology, political sociology, and sociology of knowledge and science. Guest observer: Dietlind Klemm, moderator and writer

Film programme

The Birth of the Robot, Len Lye, UK 1935, 7'
Die Natur ist entscheidend, BV-Aral AG, BRD 1954, 2'30''
The World of Buckminster Fuller: Dymaxion House + Dymaxion Car, Robert Snyder, USA 1971, 7'30''
Automania 2000, John Halas & Joy Batchelor, UK 1963, 10'
Catching, Hannaleena Hauru, FI/AR 2009, 12'
Banküberfall, Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit, D 2001, 1'
Kempinski, Neil Beloufa, FR 2007, 15'

Inflation, Hans Richter, 1928, Quelle: Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst, Berlin   The Anarchist Banker, Jan Peter Hammer, 2010
  Film programme on 4 June 2010: Inflation, Hans Richter, 1928: Arsenal –
  Institut für Film und Videokunst, Berlin [left] and The Anarchist Banker, Jan Peter
  Hammer, 2010


Prof. Dr. Rahel Jaeggi (Berlin)
Ms. Jaeggi teaches Social and Legal Philosophy at the Humboldt-Universität with a focus on political philosophy, philosophical ethics and anthropology. Her research addresses, among other things, the topicality and significance of terms like “criticism” and “alienation” and their application in the economic system.

Prof. Dr. Elena Esposito (Bologna)
Ms. Esposito teaches Sociology at the University of Modena-Reggio Emilia. As a systems theorist, she focuses primarily on media and fashion theory, memory research and the formation of economic theories with regard to their impact in and on the future.

Prof. Stephan Klasen PhD (Göttingen)
Stephan Klasen holds the chair of Development Economics and Empirical Economics Research at the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen. He is the coordinator of the Courant Research Center for “Poverty, Equity, and Growth in Developing and Transition Countries” and heads the Ibero-American Institute for Economic Research.

Prof. Dr. Julian Nida-Rümelin, former State Minister (Munich)
Mr. Nida-Rümelin is the chair of Philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and speaker for the executive master’s degree programme in “Philosophy-Politics-Economics”, which he co-established with Karl Homann. He has spent many years studying the relationship between economic rationality and common sense.

Research directors: Julian Nida-Rümelin, Tatjana Schönwälder-Kuntze

25.06.2010 Radialsystem V, Holzmarktstr. 33, Berlin Conference
25 June 2010: Abstracts of the presentations (download pdf file)

Art and film programme

The artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski has developed a changing installation for each conference in the event series. Her work plays on the motif of “joss paper” which is burned at traditional Chinese ancestor worship ceremonies and New Year celebrations. Originally used as paper money, many people nowadays use joss paper to make life-size papier-mâché models of Western brand-name products. The artist has acquired copies of Western consumer goods from the Asian market and will present them here in a new context.

Smigla-Bobinski works with opaque paints as well as light displayed on screens and other projection surfaces. A native of Stettin, Smigla-Bobinski now lives and works in Munich. Her works have been shown at the Venice Biennial (2005) and Busan (2008), the VideoArtBiennial in Barcelona (2009) and the Web Biennial 2010 at the Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum. The installation is kindly supported by CS Wing Fook, Hong Kong.


The film curator Florian Wüst will present three short film programmes, each of which is based on the theme of the corresponding conference. The programme, comprised of historical and contemporary experimental, documentary, advertising and corporate promotional films, contrasts the thematic content of the conferences from an analytical or artistic-ironic perspective. The film programmes blend both the past and present, and fiction and reality, as they examine the economic reconstruction of post-war Europe, the industrial automation processes of the 20th century, changing ethical standards among managers, global labour conditions and the vision of a carbon-free future.


Florian Wüst was born in Munich and now lives in Berlin. As an artist and freelance film curator, he addresses socio-political issues in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany and technical progress of modern times. He has compiled film series for presentation at numerous venues, such as the Tate Modern, London (2009), VideoZone–4, Tel Aviv (2008), the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna (2007), and Kino Arsenal, Berlin (2006).