Dr Oliver Hartwich: economic recovery lessons we can learn from Germany

coronavirus 04/05/2020

The Covid-19 pandemic is an economic crisis the likes of which New Zealand has never seen before.

So what lessons can New Zealand take from overseas? 

One unlikely corner of insight might come from Germany, and their recovery from World Wars I and II.

Dr Oliver Hartwich is the NZ Initiative Executive Director (a pro-free-market public-policy think tank and business membership organisation in New Zealand), and was born in West Germany in 1975.

He joins Ryan Bridge on the show to discuss what lessons from Germany we can learn for our economic recovery.

Dr Hartwich recently made a speech to the Epidemic Response Committee, outlining his vision for New Zealand's social, political and economic future - here's an excerpt from his speech.

"I was born in 1975 and raised in West Germany. So I come from a country that, in its history, has not only experienced many crises. It is a country that has brought great suffering to the world, including its own people.

And yet, despite the great disasters of two lost World Wars, I grew up in one of the most prosperous, democratic and liveable countries in the world.

From what my parents and grandparents have told me, the immediate post-War time was tough. My parents were born in 1946 and 1947. It is hard to understand how my grandparents were optimistic enough to have children in bombed-out cities, in which food was rationed, and in which life was literally in ruins.

And yet, it was also a time of hope.

Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard knew that Germany would only recover if the recovery grew from the bottom up. It could not be planned for by the government.

Economic policy is not about propping up some big companies. It is not about preserving the privileges of the few. It is not about the government picking winners and controlling the economy.

No, the ultimate goal of economic policy is to bring hope and prosperity to all people."

You can read his full speech here, and listen to the full interview above.