People - 23.01.2018 - 00:00 

In memory of Hans Christoph Binswanger

Hans Christoph Binswanger was active in teaching and research at the University of St.Gallen from 1957 onwards. He died on 18 January 2018. An obituary by Ernst Mohr.

23 January 2018. Hans Christoph Binswanger’s work was always ahead of his science, economics, by decades. His work on the natural foundations of economic activity made him the doyen of the entire German-language environmental economics. Today, his work on the monetary economy would be labelled "behavioural finance". His, "growth spiral", for instance, has again been of breathtaking topicality since the financial crisis: he predicted that with zero interest rates, it would be impossible to conceive of the economy in the previously customary manner. His work on neoclassical economics from the perspective of the history of dogmas made him an authority on alternative economics.

His intellectual style can be described with one word: authentic. He did not only live what he wrote and taught, but it showed in his actions. He had grown up in the Swiss-German bohemian world on Lake Constance, and tolerance was never a convention, but a living commitment. His humorous criticism of academic practice never had the slightest doggedness about it. His affinity with art manifested itself in the manner of his scientific argumentation. He found that the idol-like character of the monetary economy was predicted in world literature. For him, cultural knowledge supplanted number crunching. He was always more than solely his work, but his academic work was always completely him.

Hans Christoph Binswanger taught and researched at the University of St.Gallen and maintained close links to it throughout his life. We were able to meet him working on his manuscripts over a cup of coffee among students until very recently. While he showed the physical signs of age, he participated in academic life with a clear mind and bright eyes to the last. At the age of 88, an economic humanist and humane economist passed away.

Prof. em. Dr. Hans Christoph Binswanger – the person
Hans Christoph Binswanger worked in teaching and research at the University of St.Gallen from 1957 onwards – to begin with as a member of the research staff, and from 1969 as a Full Professor of Economics. From 1977 to 1979, he was Dean of the Department of Economics. He was Managing Director of the Institute of Economics (FGN-HSG) from 1980 to 1992; subsequently he was the Director of the Institute of Economy and the Environment (IWÖ-HSG), which he had established himself. In addition, he was responsible for the close contacts with the Vienna University of Economics and Business, which appointed him Honorary Senator in 1995.

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