In the past decades, the industrial countries experienced a growing wealth of enormous dimensions. Nevertheless, about two billion people on our planet live on less than two dollars per day. They lack basic human needs, such as clean water, nutrition, health care and education, because of the inability to afford them.
The irrational behaviour of the financial markets has created a crisis of confidence which money alone cannot resolve. The scepticism with regard to our economic structures is spreading to undermine confidence in democracy itself.
Due to huge differences in income, people all over the world are leaving their home countries in search of higher wages. Governments are under massive pressure as waves of economic refugees buffet their borders. And classic economic theory is no longer adequate to explain the fundamental economic processes that have been set in motion.
If we are going to find answers to these developments, economists are going to have to ask completely different questions. A first class interdisciplinary research platform is needed:a platform that will allow modern economic theory to draw on the latest innovations from economics and other disciplines such as psychology and neurobiology. But is there a place in Europe where such a platform could flourish? Is there a city with insights to offer that would nurture a new economic theory?
Four Nobel Prize Winners agreed that Zurich is an ideal place for this research platform. And with the help and engagement of visionary entrepreneurs and philanthropists, the Excellence Foundation Zurich for economic and social research has been founded to support this ambitious goal.