Future Social Market Economy
The social market economy was first established during the “economic miracle” that took place in postwar Germany, and for a long time it was seen as critical for ensuring economic prosperity and social justice. For many, it holds the promise of “prosperity for all.” As a result of developments in recent decades, however, including the most current financial and economic crisis, many people have lost faith not only in the business community, but in this economic model as well. In early 2008, for example, only 31 percent of all Germans said they had a “good opinion” of the social market economy, a figure that had risen to 38 percent by the beginning of 2010.
For the Bertelsmann Stiftung, that was reason enough to initiate an in-depth dialogue -- at the national, European and global levels -- on the fundamental principles and guidelines needed to create a future-ready social and economic model. It’s a discussion of critical importance, given that any attempt to overcome the current crisis and respond to future challenges demands a consensus on the institutions and regulations that ensure social justice and sustainable economic activity -- social goods that must necessarily be based on common values and ideals. Germany’s model of a social market economy offers an effective framework for achieving these goals, one that must be revisited in light of globalization and the changes it continues to bring.
With its multi-year Future Social Market Economy project, the Bertelsmann Stiftung wants to revitalize this model by updating its fundamental ideas and principles, thus making it future-ready and suitable for use at the European and global levels. The project has been given an interdisciplinary structure within the foundation, drawing on the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s own expertise and that of its partners, as well as on synergies stemming from its other projects and its offices in Brussels, Barcelona and Washington DC.
In its various segments and program areas, the project is focusing its activities on three modules, each at different levels: “The Social Market Economy in Germany,” “The European Economic and Social Model,” and “Global Economic Sustainability.”