Mobil in Deutschland eV in an interview with Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Sinn:
Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Sinn is one of the best-known economic researchers in Germany and was President of the renowned Ifo Institute for many years. Dr. Michael Haberland, President of the Automobilclub Mobil in Deutschland eV, recently met the German “luminary in economics” in Munich and asked current questions about cars, mobility and politics:
Dr. Michael Haberland: What was your first car?
Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Sinn: That was a VW bus that I bought for 300 marks when I was 18 years old and then repaired it. With that I went to the North Cape.
Haberland: What does mobility mean for you?
Sense: Freedom. But also convenience and security. I don't really enjoy using mass transport, I prefer to sit in the car.
Haberland: How important is the German auto industry in Germany as a whole?
Sense: The auto industry is the key industry for manufacturing. It is a kind of glowing core around which everything is entwined and around which the rest of the economy, the entire service sector and the state are warming up. Incidentally, this is a picture that Gabor Steingart once used. I think that's pretty good.
Haberland: What happens if parts of this industry collapse?
Sense: A lot depends on our auto industry. We are talking about over a million jobs that would be directly affected. It would also have a massive impact on the rest of the economy. The breakdown of this industry would be fatal. Germany is particularly strong in the metalworking industry. A diesel engine consists of 4.000 parts. There are alloys with special properties that no one can reproduce. That was and is a German domain that is being polished at the moment. Due to the tendency towards the electric car, which does not come from consumers but is imposed by politics.
Haberland: What does the automotive industry have to learn? What did she do wrong?
Sense: She cheated. The auto industry has fallen into the trap set by the American environmental agency. But what does this moral rejection have to do with the industrial structure and the future development of our country? Nothing at all. And it is completely wrong to argue moralizing here when it comes to millions of jobs.
Haberland: The Greens want to ban flies, forbid eating meat and get rid of cars at the same time. Is such a party a real partner for a government?
Sense: I find this approach unbearable. We are a society of free people who want to choose freely. We don't want any rules about what we can do. Of course, the market does not solve the environmental issue; an appropriate policy is required. That would then be an emissions trading scheme with a uniform CO2 price where everyone could make an effort to reduce their emissions. But this imposition of behavior is nonsensical. This is a dictatorship of opinion that is not relevant and is not justified by the problem. This creates a new central planning socialism. Sometimes the greens actually give birth as if they were socialists, just with a green paint job.
Haberland: What about the future of the German automobile?
Sense: Bad. Let's not kid ourselves: We are currently in the process of ruining our automotive industry and thus also the heart of the German economy. These dirigistic specifications that one can hardly buy combustion engines - because that is what the CO2 regulation means - destroy the German auto industry. And I am firmly convinced that there is an interest in industrial policy behind this.
Haberland: What do you think of a speed limit on German autobahns?
Sense: If it's the right speed limit, fine me. Today the cars are so much better than they used to be. You could set a speed limit, but that would have to be pretty high. And what some have in mind at 130 km / h, I don't think that's okay. If you start this discussion, however, in the end the green do-gooders and the moralists will prevail. They spoil driving until it is no longer fun and the car has become useless. It can't be that either.
Haberland: What would you give the bosses of the German automobile manufacturers on their way?
Sense: Don't just adapt. Profit maximization is not enough, you also have a social responsibility to help shape this discourse about what politics does. Far too many bosses follow the trend and are now trying to hook up with the Greens and Co. so that they can do their business in the new green world. That's not how it works.