TV Lectures

Lecture series with video documentation by Hans-Werner Sinn (in German)

The Green Paradox - Theses on Climate Change 

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Thesis 1: Human beings are making the earth increasingly warmer.

Carbon dioxide itself is non-poisonous. It is only a problem if it accumulates in too great concentrations in the atmosphere. Then the greenhouse effect arises, and it becomes increasingly warmer. Since the beginning of the industrial age, an enormous increase in the carbon dioxide concentration has occurred, reaching an 800,000 year peak. In only a few decades the earth’s temperature will be higher than ever before in this period of time.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 14.01.2010, approx. 28 minutes;

Expert discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 21.01.2010, approx. 29 minutes.

Thesis 2: Germany spends lots of money for Green electricity and still achieves little with this support because Europe already has an emissions market that has determined the amounts of emissions.

Germany is a model country worldwide in the promotion of green electricity thanks to massive state subsidies. There is no greater concentration of wind turbines and solar-energy installations than in Germany. The energy tax, the feed-in rates for wind and solar electricity, support for combined heat and power (CHP) and many other measures cost billions of euros. However, this support has not been able to reduce the output of carbon dioxide in Europe because this is already predetermined by the emissions trading system. We only subsidise the dirty electricity of the other EU countries with these measures.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 28.01.2010, approx. 29 minutes,

Expert discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 04.02.2010, approx. 29 minutes.

Thesis 3: Giving the tank priority over the plate creates poverty and unrest in the world.

For the production of biodiesel and bioethanol, gigantic expanses of farmland are used that could also be used for food production. The world hunger crises in 2007 and 2008 are due to the dramatic expansion of bioethanol production in the United States, which came about because of the rising oil prices. With the coupling of oil and food prices, mankind has entered a new, dramatic phase of its development, which later will be understood as a turning point.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 11.02.2010, approx. 29 minutes,

Expert discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 18.02.2010, approx. 29 minutes.

Thesis 4: Germany is a wrong-way driver in terms of atomic energy and has no good arguments for this course.

Germany is the only country worldwide that is adhering to a policy of withdrawal from atomic energy. France remains loyal to atomic electricity; in other countries the withdrawal has been rescinded. Currently, new atomic reactors are being built around Germany in many countries. Whoever condemns atomic electricity should not overlook the disadvantages of the other energy sources. Wind and solar electricity involve an extensive use of land. Electricity from coal requires gigantic subterranean storage for the carbon dioxide that is released to prevent it from harming the climate. Such storage is not available in sufficient amounts and it is not harmless. The final storage problem for liquid carbon dioxide is far greater than the final storage problem for atomic power waste.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 25.02.2010, approx. 29 minutes,

Expert discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 04.03.2010, approx. 29 minutes.

Thesis 5: European climate policies have accelerated climate change because they have given the resource owners cause to extract their fossil fuels faster in anticipation of a further worsening of their sales options by policy-makers.

European countries are spending lots of money to improve energy efficiency, to expand green electricity, to advance atomic energy, to build more economical cars and on other technical solutions with which they can curb their demand for fossil fuels. Green demand policy is ineffective, however, as long as other countries do not participate and as long as the resource owners do not reduce their supply. In fact, if the resource owners fear that green policies will become increasingly greener over the course of time and will reduce the rate of price increases for fossil fuels, green policies will even speed up resource extraction and climate change.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 11.03.2010, approx. 30 minutes,

Expert discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 18.03.2010, approx. 29 minutes.

Thesis 6: Only a universal, worldwide emissions trading system and a source tax on the capital gains of the resource owners are suitable for effecting a postponement of resource extraction an for slowing down climate change.

Apart from afforestation, there are only two ways to stop climate change: either the carbon remains in the ground or it is returned to the ground after combustion. The most important method for trapping carbon in the ground and supporting sequestering is a worldwide system of emissions trading as is already practised in Europe. A recommended supplementary method is a source tax on the capital gains of the resource owners since this would give them a stimulus to leave their resources in the ground instead of transferring their gains to Swiss bank accounts.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 25.03.2010, approx. 30 minutes,

Expert discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 01.04.2010, approx. 30 minutes.

Can Germany Still be Saved? - Theses on the Future of the Republic

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Thesis 1: How we Lost our Competitiveness

Globalisation is inducing more and more German firms to shift labour-intensive portions of the production chain to low-wage countries. Even prominent medium-sized German companies are increasingly relocating production to other countries. Asian countries and more recently also East European countries have become Germany’s competitors in industrial production. Germany is a champion in both labour costs of industrial workers and exports. How is this possible?

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 30.03.2005, approx. 29 minutes,

Discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 05.04.2005, approx. 30 minutes.

Thesis 2: Labour Markets in the Choke-hold of the Unions

The factor labour has become too expensive in Germany and is the main cause of the waning competitiveness of German economy. Industry-wide collective agreements and protection against dismissal are restraining structural adaptations. The results of the union’s high-wage policies are felt in society as a whole because of the welfare state.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 13.04.2005, approx. 28 minutes,

Discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 19.04.2005, approx. 25 minutes.

Thesis 3: The Welfare State: Businesses’ Most Powerful Competitor

The welfare state furthers unemployment. With its substitute wages it creates a virtual minimum wage that the private sector must exceed in order to find labour. In this way the welfare state robs the less qualified of their labour market chances.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 27.04.2005, approx. 29 minutes,

Discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 03.05.2005, approx. 27 minutes.

Thesis 4: The Wilting of the East

Successful economic convergence requires suitable starting conditions and a good degree of flexibility. The collective bargaining conducted by union leaders from the west on behalf of their eastern German colleagues at the beginning of German unification led to high wages for the east German enterprises and took away all their competitiveness. East German businesses have only partly overcome the constraints of industry-wide collective agreements by not applying the collectively bargained wage rates.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 11.05.2005, approx. 27 minutes,

Discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 24.05.2005, approx. 26 minutes.

Thesis 5: The Tax-and-Spend State: A Bottomless Pit

The state absorbs 57% of national income for its own purposes. It takes two thirds of wages for additional work, and it burdens future generations with its debts. Forty percent of German voters receive their income in the form of social benefits or pensions from the state.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 25.05.2005, approx. 27 minutes,

Discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 07.06.2005, approx. 25 minutes.

Thesis 6: The Geriatric Country

In terms of population Germany has the least number of newborns in the whole world. This is one reason why pensions in thirty years will only be half as high as today in terms of gross wages. The different causes of increasing childlessness will be discussed including how the current pension system socialises the economic results of childlessness.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 08.06.2005, approx. 30 minutes,

Discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 21.06.2005, approx. 25 minutes.

Thesis 7: Game Without Boundaries: EU Enlargement, Migration and the New EU Constitution

The wages of the new EU member states is only one seventh of wages in western Germany and one fifth of wages in eastern Germany. The inflexible domestic labour market does not make it possible to counterbalance the migration stimulus of wage differences, and immigration is forcing less qualified employees to revert to the social net. The new EU Constitution, including the regulations on the freedom of movement, creates a social union and facilitates immigration.

Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 22.06.2005, approx. 29 minutes,

Discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 05.07.2005, approx. 25 minutes.