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Nicholas Stern

Nicholas Stern

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Nicholas Herbert Stern, Baron Stern of Brentford, Kt
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

, FBA
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

 (born 22 April 1946, Hammersmith
Hammersmith
Hammersmith is an urban centre in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in west London, England, in the United Kingdom, approximately five miles west of Charing Cross on the north bank of the River Thames...

) is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 economist and academic. He is IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment is a research centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science founded in May 2008...

 at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

 (LSE), and 2010 Professor of Collège de France
Collège de France
The Collège de France is a higher education and research establishment located in Paris, France, in the 5th arrondissement, or Latin Quarter, across the street from the historical campus of La Sorbonne at the intersection of Rue Saint-Jacques and Rue des Écoles...

.

Biography


Stern is the son of the late Bert Stern and Marion Stern and nephew of Donald Swann
Donald Swann
Donald Ibrahím Swann was a British composer, musician and entertainer. He is best known to the general public for his partnership of writing and performing comic songs with Michael Flanders .-Life:...

—half of the Flanders and Swann
Flanders and Swann
The British duo Flanders and Swann were the actor and singer Michael Flanders and the composer, pianist and linguist Donald Swann , who collaborated in writing and performing comic songs....

 partnership. Richard Stern, former Vice-President, World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, and Brian E Stern, former Vice-President Xerox Corporation, are his brothers, and his sister is Naomi Opalinska. He was the Chief Economist
World Bank Chief Economist
The World Bank Chief Economist provides intellectual leadership and direction to the Bank’s overall development strategy and economic research agenda, at global, regional and country levels...

 and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank from 2000 to 2003, and was recently a civil servant
British Civil Service
Her Majesty's Home Civil Service, also known as the Home Civil Service, is the permanent bureaucracy of Crown employees that supports Her Majesty's Government - the government of the United Kingdom, composed of a Cabinet of ministers chosen by the prime minister, as well as the devolved...

 and government economic advisor in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. In June 2007, Stern became the first holder of the I. G. Patel
I. G. Patel
Dr Indraprasad Gordhanbhai Patel IAS GCSI popularly known as I. G. Patel, was the fourteenth Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1 December 1977 to 15 September 1982....

. In 2008, he was also appointed Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment is a research centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science founded in May 2008...

, a major new research centre also at LSE. He is also Chair of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at Leeds University and LSE.

After attending Latymer Upper School
Latymer Upper School
Latymer Upper School, founded by Edward Latymer in 1624, is a selective independent school in Hammersmith, West London, England, lying between King Street and the Thames. It is a day school for 1,130 pupils – boys and girls aged 11–18; there is also the Latymer Preparatory School for boys and girls...

, he earned his Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree in mathematics at Peterhouse, Cambridge
Peterhouse, Cambridge
Peterhouse is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. It is the oldest college of the University, having been founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely...

, and his Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 in economics at Nuffield College, Oxford
Nuffield College, Oxford
Nuffield College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is an all-graduate college and primarily a research establishment, specialising in the social sciences, particularly economics, politics and sociology. It is a research centre in the social sciences...

. He was a lecturer at University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 from 1970 to 1977, and served as a Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick
University of Warwick
The University of Warwick is a public research university located in Coventry, United Kingdom...

 from 1978 to 1987. He taught from 1986 to 1993 at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

, becoming the Sir John Hicks
John Hicks
Sir John Richard Hicks was a British economist and one of the most important and influential economists of the twentieth century. The most familiar of his many contributions in the field of economics were his statement of consumer demand theory in microeconomics, and the IS/LM model , which...

 Professor of Economics. From 1994 until 1999 he was the Chief Economist and Special Counsellor to the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their...

. His research focused on economic development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

 and growth, and he also wrote books on Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 and the Green Revolution in India
Green Revolution in India
The introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation are known collectively as the Green Revolution, which provided the increase in production needed to make India self-sufficient in food grains, thus improving agriculture in India...

. From 1999 until 2000 Stern was Chairman of the consultancy London Economics founded by John Kay
John Kay (economist)
John Kay is a leading British business economist of centrist persuasion.Kay was educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh University, and Nuffield College, Oxford...

.

After a position as the World Bank Chief Economist
World Bank Chief Economist
The World Bank Chief Economist provides intellectual leadership and direction to the Bank’s overall development strategy and economic research agenda, at global, regional and country levels...

 from 2000 to 2003, Stern was recruited by Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

, then Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

, to work for the British government where, in 2003, he became second permanent secretary at H.M. Treasury, initially with responsibility for public finances, and head of the Government Economic Service
Government Economic Service
The Government Economic Service was founded in 1964 by Sir Alec Cairncross. It is a professional grouping of public sector economists who work across some 40 government departments and agencies, the Bank of England is also a Corporate Member of the GES. The GES recruits economists on behalf of the...

. Having also been Director of Policy and Research for the Commission for Africa
Commission for Africa
The Commission for Africa, also known as the Blair Commission for Africa, was an initiative established by the British government to examine and provide impetus for development in Africa. Initiated in Spring 2004, its objectives include the generation of new ideas for development and to deliver...

, he was, in July 2005, appointed to conduct reviews on the economics of climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 and also of development, which led to the publication of the Stern Review
Stern Review
The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is a 700-page report released for the British government on 30 October 2006 by economist Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and also chair of the Centre...

. At the time, he ceased to be a second permanent secretary at the Treasury though he retained the rank until retirement in 2007; the review team he headed was based in the Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office
The Cabinet Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for supporting the Prime Minister and Cabinet of the United Kingdom....

.

It was reported that Stern's time at the Treasury was marked by tensions with his boss, Gordon Brown:

[...] several Whitehall
Whitehall
Whitehall is a road in Westminster, in London, England. It is the main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square...

 sources told The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

that Mr Brown did not like some of the advice he received from Sir Nicholas, including some “home truths” about long-term trends in the economy and he never broke into the chancellor's tight-knit inner circle. [...] He subsequently lacked a real role and spent most of his time working on major international reports on global warming and alleviating poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 in Africa. His doom-laden report on the risks of failing to address climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

, published in October, caused tensions within the Government by triggering a debate on environmental taxes and leading to calls for big policy changes.


The Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change
Stern Review
The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is a 700-page report released for the British government on 30 October 2006 by economist Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and also chair of the Centre...

was produced by a team led by Stern at HM Treasury, and was released in October 2006. In the Review, climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 is described as an economic externality
Externality
In economics, an externality is a cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices, incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit...

. Stern has subsequently referred to the climate change externality as the largest ever market failure:

"Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure the world has seen. The evidence on the seriousness of the risks from inaction or delayed action is now overwhelming..The problem of climate change involves a fundamental failure of markets: those who damage others by emitting greenhouse gases generally do not pay.."


Regulation
Regulation
Regulation is administrative legislation that constitutes or constrains rights and allocates responsibilities. It can be distinguished from primary legislation on the one hand and judge-made law on the other...

, carbon tax
Carbon tax
A carbon tax is an environmental tax levied on the carbon content of fuels. It is a form of carbon pricing. Carbon is present in every hydrocarbon fuel and is released as carbon dioxide when they are burnt. In contrast, non-combustion energy sources—wind, sunlight, hydropower, and nuclear—do not...

es and carbon trading
Carbon emission trading
Carbon emissions trading is a form of emissions trading that specifically targets carbon dioxide and it currently constitutes the bulk of emissions trading....

 are recommended to reduce greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 emissions. It is argued that the world economy can lower its greenhouse gas emissions at a significant but manageable cost. The Review concludes that immediate reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are necessary to reduce the worst risks of climate change. The Review's conclusions were widely reported in the press. Stern's relatively large cost estimates of 'business-as-usual' climate change damages received particular attention. These are the estimated damages that might occur should no further effort be made to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

There has been a mixed reaction to the Stern Review from economists. Several economists have been critical of the Review, for example, a paper by Byatt et al. (2006) describes the Review as "deeply flawed". Some have supported the Review,
while others have argued that Stern's conclusions are reasonable, even if the method by which he reached them is incorrect. The Stern Review team has responded to criticisms of the Review in several papers. Stern has also gone on to say that he underestimated the risks of climate change in the Stern Review.

Stern's approach to discounting
Discount rate
The discount rate can mean*an interest rate a central bank charges depository institutions that borrow reserves from it, for example for the use of the Federal Reserve's discount window....

 has been debated amongst economists. The discount rate allows economic effects occurring at different times to be compared. Stern used a discount rate in his calculation of the effects of "business-as-usual" climate change damages. A high discount rate reduces the calculated benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Using too low a discount rate wastes resources because it will result in too much investment in cutting emissions (Arrow et al., 1996, p. 130). Too high a discount rate will have the opposite effect, and lead to under-investment in cutting emissions. Most studies on the damages of climate change use a higher discount rate than that used in the Stern Review. Some economists support Stern's choice of discount rate (Cline, 2008; Shah, 2008 Heal, 2008) while others are critical (Yohe and Tol, 2008; Nordhaus, 2007).

Another criticism of the Stern Review is that it is a political rather than an analytical document. Writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, columnist
Columnist
A columnist is a journalist who writes for publication in a series, creating an article that usually offers commentary and opinions. Columns appear in newspapers, magazines and other publications, including blogs....

 Charles Moore
Charles Moore (journalist)
Charles Hilary Moore is a British journalist and former editor of The Daily Telegraph.-Early life:He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge where he was awarded a BA in History and was a friend of Oliver Letwin.-Career:A former editor of The Spectator , the Sunday Telegraph and The...

 compared the Stern Review to the UK Government's 'dodgy dossier
Dodgy Dossier
Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation was a 2003 briefing document for the Blair Labour government...

' on Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i weapons of mass destruction
Weapons of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

.

In a speech given in 2007 at the Australian National Press Club
National Press Club (Australia)
The National Press Club is an association of primarily news journalists, but also includes academics, business people and members of the public service, and is based in Canberra, Australia. It was founded in the 1960s as the National Press Luncheon Club by a few journalists with the backing of the...

, Stern called for one per cent of gross global product to be employed in global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

-related environmental measures. He also joined the Cool Earth
Cool Earth
Cool Earth is a UK based international non-governmental organization that protects endangered rainforest to combat global warming, protect ecosystems and provide sustainable jobs for local people...

 advisory board. In 2009, Stern linked recovery from the global economic crisis
Global economic crisis
Global economic crisis may refer to:*Economic events of the late 2000s:** Financial crisis ** Late-2000s recession*A global recession*Earlier global economic events, such as:...

 with an effective response to climate change. His book, Blueprint for a Safer Planet, was published in April 2009. ISBN 978-1847920379

In 2009, he published the non-fiction literary work, The Global Deal: Climate Change and the Creation of a New Era of Progress and Prosperity. The book examines climate change from an economist's perspective, and outlines the necessary steps toward achieving global economic growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 while managing climate change. In 2009, he also became a member of the International Advisory Council of the Chinese sovereign wealth fund
Sovereign wealth fund
A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property, precious metals or other financial instruments. Sovereign wealth funds invest globally. Some of them have grabbed attention making bad investments in several Wall Street financial...

 China Investment Corporation
China Investment Corporation
China Investment Corporation is a sovereign wealth fund responsible for managing part of the People's Republic of China's foreign exchange reserves. CIC was established in 2007 with approximately US$200 billion of assets under management, making it one of the largest sovereign wealth funds...

.

Stern is an advocate of vegetarianism
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

 as a climate change mitigation element.

He is a member of the scientific committee of the Fundacion IDEAS, Spain's Socialist Party's think tank.

Awards and recognition


Stern was elected a Fellow of the British Academy
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

 in 1993; he is also an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Economic Association
American Economic Association
The American Economic Association, or AEA, is a learned society in the field of economics, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. It publishes one of the most prestigious academic journals in economics: the American Economic Review...

. In the 2004 Birthday Honours List he was made a Knight Bachelor
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

, for services to Economics. On 18 October 2007, it was announced that Stern would receive a life peer
Life peer
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles cannot be inherited. Nowadays life peerages, always of baronial rank, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as...

age and was to be made a non-party political peer (i.e. would sit as a cross-bencher
Cross-bencher
A crossbencher is an independent or minor party member of some legislatures, such as the British House of Lords and Australian Senate. They take their name from the crossbenches, between and perpendicular to the government and opposition benches, where crossbenchers sit in the chamber; compare...

 in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

). His full title is Baron Stern of Brentford
Brentford
Brentford is a suburban town in west London, England, and part of the London Borough of Hounslow. It is located at the confluence of the River Thames and the River Brent, west-southwest of Charing Cross. Its former ceremonial county was Middlesex.-Toponymy:...

, of Elsted
Elsted
Elsted is a village in the Chichester district of West Sussex, England. It lies within the civil parish of Elsted and Treyford. The village is on the Midhurst to South Harting Road 4.5 miles west of Midhurst....

 in the County of West Sussex
West Sussex
West Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering onto East Sussex , Hampshire and Surrey. The county of Sussex has been divided into East and West since the 12th century, and obtained separate county councils in 1888, but it remained a single ceremonial county until 1974 and the coming...

 and of Wimbledon
Wimbledon, London
Wimbledon is a district in the south west area of London, England, located south of Wandsworth, and east of Kingston upon Thames. It is situated within Greater London. It is home to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and New Wimbledon Theatre, and contains Wimbledon Common, one of the largest areas...

 in the London Borough of Merton
London Borough of Merton
The London Borough of Merton is a borough in southwest London, England.The borough was formed under the London Government Act in 1965 by the merger of the Municipal Borough of Mitcham, the Municipal Borough of Wimbledon and the Merton and Morden Urban District, all formerly within Surrey...

, but he is usually addressed as Lord Stern, or Lord Stern of Brentford.

In 2006, he was elected as an Honorary Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge.

Stern was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Warwick
University of Warwick
The University of Warwick is a public research university located in Coventry, United Kingdom...

 in 2006, an Honorary Doctor of International Relations degree by the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations
Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations
The Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations is a private university located in Geneva, Switzerland. The campus is situated on the grounds of the , an old manor with a park and view of Lake Geneva...

 in 2007, an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Sheffield
University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield is a research university based in the city of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. It is one of the original 'red brick' universities and is a member of the Russell Group of leading research intensive universities...

 in 2008, an Honorary Doctor by the Technische Universität Berlin in 2009 and also in 2009 an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Brighton
University of Brighton
The University of Brighton is an English university of the United Kingdom, with a community of over 23,000 students and 2,600 staff based on campuses in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings. It has one of the best teaching quality ratings in the UK and a strong research record, factors which...

.

Lord Stern participated at one of the showings of The Age of Stupid
The Age of Stupid
The Age of Stupid is a 2009 British film by Franny Armstrong, director of McLibel and Drowned Out, and founder of 10:10, and first-time producer Lizzie Gillett...

 at The RSA. At the after-showing webcast
Webcast
A webcast is a media presentation distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology to distribute a single content source to many simultaneous listeners/viewers. A webcast may either be distributed live or on demand...

 panel discussion was director Franny Armstrong, journalist George Monbiot
George Monbiot
George Joshua Richard Monbiot is an English writer, known for his environmental and political activism. He lives in Machynlleth, Wales, writes a weekly column for The Guardian, and is the author of a number of books, including Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain and Bring on the...

, economist Nicholas Stern, and the Met Office
Met Office
The Met Office , is the United Kingdom's national weather service, and a trading fund of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills...

 head of climate impacts Richard Betts. In 2009 Nicholas Stern lent his support to the 10:10
10:10
Drono Acharya composed the film's songs and Ritam Sen, Sandip Chakrabarty, Padmanabha Dasgupta, Rana Basu Thakur and Rangeet wrote the lyrics.-External links:* IMDB Title* * *...

 project, a movement encouraging people to take positive action on climate change by reducing their carbon emissions .

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award was awarded to Lord Stern in January 2011 for his "pioneering report [that] shaped and focused the discourse on the economics of climate change" and provided "a unique and robust basis for decision-making."

Statements


“Where we can, we have to go to zero carbon, because of a growing population and a rising middle class in developing countries which wants the same standard of living the developed world already enjoys. GHGs must be cut by at least 50% around the world by 2050, with the rich, developed countries cutting by 80%, compared to 1990 levels. We are at the beginning of a technical revolution of the magnitude of the railway, the motor car ... The economic crisis is an opportunity to lay the foundation for the future … You can tell a very positive story here.”

External links