Apr 09, 2019 10:36 AM

49th St.Gallen Symposium on the topic of “Capital for Purpose”

The 49th St.Gallen Symposium will take place from 8 to 10 May 2019 at the University of St.Gallen. The topic of the conference is: “Capital for Purpose”. The student initiative calls for current and future decision makers to develop approaches to combating short-term profit-centric thinking. Speakers include Professor Niall Ferguson, Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild and Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis. They will be discussing the various forms of capital and how today’s mechanisms of decision-making must be rethought. Martin Wolf, Professor Simon Evenett and Arancha González will speak in a podium discussion about global trade policy.

Recent human history is characterised by progress, growth and increasing wealth. At the same time, we are confronted with injustices, distribution problems and environmental pollution. Climate change, digital transformation and cultural changes — characterised not least by the millennial generation — are all new parameters that must be factored into the sustainable use of capital in the long-term. Against this backdrop, a new light must be shone on the use of capital and resources, and these examined with regard to the future.

Opening programme with Niall Ferguson, Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild and Colin Mayer

To begin the programme, Niall Ferguson, Professor at the University of Stanford, will describe the state of Western capitalism from a historian’s perspective. Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, founder of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, and Professor Colin Mayer from the University of Oxford will debate these questions, discuss why we are talking about the topic “Capital for Purpose” now and suggest concrete measures for turning away from profit-oriented thinking and towards a more prescient and purposeful economy.

Podium: Social responsibility for a sustainable economic and political order

Embedding long-term objectives in the business and political landscape that go beyond the simple pursuit of profit requires courageous decisions and genuine encouragement — from all sectors of society. Dominic Barton, Global Managing Partner Emeritus at McKinsey & Company, and Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Minister of Finance, will discuss concrete approaches for strengthening this necessary sense of awareness within society. Singapore is now implementing concrete measures for better public involvement in this important period of change.

Open debate on trade: the most recent global trade alert uncovers differences in perception

Current changes in global trade policy will be examined during the St.Gallen Symposium as part of a special trade panel and categorised by Arancha González, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, and Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times. Before the panel discussion, Professor Simon Evenett from the University of St.Gallen will present the next Global Trade Alert (GTA) report. This takes up the call by government leaders at the G20 summit of December 2018, which includes an agenda for reform for the attention of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), concerning how to tackle existing problems in international trade. Based on an extensive database covering the previous ten years, the report shows which barriers to trade have actually increased. With that, the GTA stands in contrast to Twitter debates about international trade relationships and the insults directed toward America’s trade partners.

The St.Gallen Symposium offers new formats to the public

Alongside the live broadcasts of the plenaries, on the 9 and 10 of May 2019, there are additional events open to the public in the Audimax at the University of St.Gallen. On Thursday evening Professor Thomas Jordan, President of the Swiss National Bank, speaks about the challenges faced in monetary policy. On Friday afternoon, British moderator and politician Mehdi Hasan will discuss the loss of trust in the media, fake news and the lack of quality control on social media platforms along with three panel guests.

EcoOst St. Gallen Symposium

In cooperation with the Chambers of Commerce for St.Gallen, beide Appenzell and Thurgau, on 27 May 2019 at 6 p.m. a public podium discussion will take place at the Weiterbildungszentrum Holzweid (Holzweid Further Training Centre). Moderated by Arthur Honegger, entrepreneurs and researchers will discuss the question of how businesses manage to overcome short-term profit-centric thinking. In addition, they will explore how businesses attract the best talent from the employment market.

The programme and list of speakers can be found at:

Further programme details will be published after the Easter holidays on 23 April 2019.

Contact for queries and registration:

Lena Kesseli, Media Relations, St.Gallen Symposium

Tel. +41 71 227 20 20, 

Portal for journalists:

Web | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube |#forpurpose


About the St.Gallen Symposium

The St.Gallen Symposium is the leading initiative worldwide for intergenerational debates about economic, political and social developments.

We bring managers, visionaries and promising young minds together to address the opportunities and challenges of our time and develop solutions. Since 1969, we have managed to build an exceptional and wide-reaching community. The St.Gallen Symposium is a student initiative that combines top performance with the power of innovation and offers an event experience of the highest quality. During previous symposia, many personalities have enriched the “St.Gallen debates”: Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund, Jack Ma, Alibaba Group, Tidjane Thiam, Credit Suisse Group AG and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO.



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