Hans Christoph Binswanger Prize

The University of St.Gallen (HSG) awards the Hans Christoph Binswanger Prize every two years. It is intended for young academics in the social sciences and humanities and is a reminder of the importance of economics as a science serving life.

The economist Hans Christoph Binswanger (1929–2018) was professor of economics at the University of St.Gallen (HSG) from 1969 to 1994 and was one of the most important unorthodox economists of the twentieth century in the German-speaking countries. Binswanger's work was decisively shaped by the vision of HSG - promoting integrative thought and action in business and society. The main focus of his work and research was on environmental and resource economics, monetary theory, history of economic theory, the role of agriculture in the current economy and European integration. His main interest was in the connection between economics and ecology and the relationship between nature and money. Binswanger was convinced that a modern monetary economy was subject to a "growth imperative" and "growth pull". It had to grow because the financial profits of companies were linked to growth. Without growth, the economy fell into a downward spiral, which quickly resulted in an economic crisis. However, the growth imperative led to a fundamental dilemma, since endless growth on a finite planet was not permanently possible.

Binswanger's most important works included the "NAWU-Report: Wege aus der Wohlstandsfalle" [NAWU report: ways out of the prosperity trap] (1978), "Arbeit ohne Umweltzerstörung" [Work without environmental destruction] (1983) and "Geld und Magie" [Money and magic], published in 1985, an economic interpretation of Goethe's "Faust", who according to Binswanger, as the protagonist stood for the modern money economy. The work "Die Wachstumsspirale" [The growth spiral], published in 2006, amounted to a type of theoretical synthesis. Binswanger was not only critical of the mainstream of economics, but also constantly went beyond the boundaries of his own discipline in his research. During his life, the social relevance of his research and its practical feasibility was of great importance to him. For example, Binswanger is regarded as one of the fathers of the idea of an ecological tax reform, but he was also actively involved in local political life.

Aim of the prize

The prize, worth CHF 3,000, is intended for young academics in the social sciences and humanities who do not yet have a permanent academic position (tenure). Works of an integrative character in fields to which Hans Christoph Binswanger made important contributions are honoured:
•    Importance of nature in economic processes
•    Functions and characteristics of money in the economic system
•    Discussion of the growth imperative in modern monetary economies 
•    Economic interpretation of decisive works in literature and art
•    Proposals for the transition to a more sustainable economy, taking into account the growth dynamics of modern monetary economies

Eligible for submission are both published and unpublished papers, as well as monographs. Text should be  written in German or English and should not be more than five years old. Master's or bachelor's theses are excluded. Special emphasis is given to originality and social relevance. Works of several authors will be considered if they can all be regarded as young academics. Please make a statement in this regard in the self-assessment (see below)


The application documents consist of:
•    Curriculum vitae (CV)
•    Summary of the results of the work submitted (max. two pages)
•    Self-assessment of the applicant as to why the work deserves the prize
•    Sworn declaration that the work was composed independently (or in the case of co-authorship, that your own contribution was significant), is not older than five years, and in the case of dissertations or habilitations, that at least the written part of the academic examination procedure was passed successfully.
•    The work itself

Applications can only be made digitally, using the online form during the application period 6 March 2023 to 21 May 2023. The documents submitted will be treated confidentially.

The jury

•    Prof. Dr. Johannes Binswanger, University of St.Gallen
•    Prof. Dr. Mathias Binswanger, Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz
•    Dr. Arthur Braunschweig, E2 Management-Consulting, Zurich
•    Prof. Dr. Martin Kolmar, University of St.Gallen
•    Prof. Dr. Marco Lehmann-Waffenschmidt, TU Dresden
•    Prof. em. Dr. Ernst Mohr, University of St.Gallen
•    Prof. Dr. Judith Ströhle, University of St.Gallen

The jury will reach its decision during a closed session. The jury's decision is final.

Notification of winning and award ceremony

The participants will be confidentially informed of the jury result at the latest by 25 August 2023. Up until the official announcement by the organisers, a blocking period will apply in which they are obliged to preserve confidentiality regarding the result. The 2023 award ceremony will take place on 15 September 2023 as part of the conference "Universities in an Age of Uncertainty". The prizewinner will be invited to present their work in a workshop.


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