Gerhard Schick | Photo: Finanzwende e.V.
On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Bürgerbewegung Finanzwende, we asked Gerhard Schick, its co-initiator as well as executive director, to explain to us in three answers why his commitment to a fair financial system is so important.
1) Dear Gerhard Schick, at the turn of the year 2018/19, you resigned from your seat in the Bundestag to confront the powerful financial lobby. How much anger has this step required of you - and how much courage?
At the beginning, I didn't really realize what a radical step this was, that no member of parliament had ever done this before. I only became aware of this gradually. The decisive motivation was to finally change the balance of power after so many defeats at the hands of the financial lobby. When constitutional court rulings are pushed aside because billionaires want to defend their privileges in inheritance tax, then you can't just carry on as a member of parliament. And I have always been motivated by personal encounters with people who have lost a lot through financial fraud, or with whistleblowers or experts who have indignantly told me about the inner workings of this financial sector, about greed and arrogance and criminality.
2) What should every child know or learn about money?
It's certainly important for people to know how money works. And that an offer for a loan or financial investment that sounds so much better than others probably has a nasty catch. But it's important to me that people don't put everything on their own responsibility. Many financial products are made deliberately complicated so that no one understands them. You can provide as much financial education as you want, but you'll never be able to reach that level of expertise. That's why we are committed to designing the financial market and its rules in such a way that not everyone has to be an expert, but that ordinary people don't get ripped off.
3) If you were the heir to a fortune, what would you do with the money?
I never thought or had to think about that. My father would have said, "I guess you weren't paying enough attention when you were choosing your parents." But if I let myself indulge in the thought: I would probably - in addition to one or two ecological or cultural projects - actually use the money for exactly what I'm also working on today, to build up a counterweight to the big money lobby, to the finance lobby. Because climate protection and fair development opportunities for all, also the safeguarding of freedom and democracy have no chance as long as we do not confront with enough power those who see almost everything in this world only as a way to make even more money out of money.More news