Global Instability

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2005-03-09 Print this article Print

The final speaker of the night, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, also discussed reunification as a huge positive event, but also as a way to explain his countrys uneven GDP (gross domestic product) growth. "We were fortunate enough to see German reunification, and the task we had to face up to was on a state and government level, and on an economic and societal level." But reunification is not complete yet—"only about 50 percent of where we have to go." And that translates into another 15 years of economic drain.
"It cost us money; it cost us growth," Schroeder said. "Every year, we spend 4 percent of our gross domestic product, 80 to 90 billion euros, on tasks we have to do in the east."
But rather than complain, Schroeder looked at this rebuilding as an area of strength. "Every year, we transfer this money from east to west. No other economy in the world has to do that, and very few economies in the world could do that." However, Schroeder and the other three speakers also spent much of their allotted time apologizing for Germanys shortcomings. Second speaker Willi Berchtold, president of the German Association for IT, was blunt as he addressed not the crowd, but Chancellor Schroeder directly. SAP is restructuring its executive board to realign software development and product innovation into separate camps. Click here to find out more. "We need a greater sense of urgency" in adopting new technologies, he said. He focused on a digital ID card, a universal health card and, "above all, deploying new media in our schools." He also was vocal about what Germany didnt need. "We dont need copyright levies on PCs. We dont need depreciation periods for software, and we dont need license fees on cell-phone usage." That last item elicited a thunderous round of applause. Kagermann, too, spoke directly to the chancellor. "In Europe, we spend less than a third of the money on research" compared with the United States, he said. "We need an adaptation of the educational policy, teaching and more." Schroeder responded to his critics directly, promising that regulations would not deteriorate Germanys competitive position compared with other countries. He reiterated, though, that "there is a right to intellectual property, and we have to pay for the use of that property." But Schroeder used his time not to focus on technology but to highlight world instability, and how it could negatively impact Germanys economy. He focused on three key areas, all centered in the Middle East:
  • Raw materials: "A one-dollar increase per barrel increases the German cost by one billion euros. Political stability in the Middle East is of huge consequence for us."
  • Iraq: "Regardless of ones opinion back then on the military conflict, whats important is stability and supporting the democratic development of the country."
  • Irans nuclear weapons: "We want to conduct negotiations to convince the Iranians that they should forgo production of nuclear weapons. The U.S. is expressly supporting us, and we must make this a success for political and economic reasons." Suddenly, Hannovers Congress Center seemed more like a meeting of a parliament than a gathering of geeks. Schroeder quickly wrapped up by saying, "Its a great pleasure for me to declare CeBIT 2005 open," and we all repaired to the basement for beer and snacks. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

    With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

    While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

    As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

    When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

    In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

    In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

    In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

    In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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