Deceased Academicians

Hans Tietmeyer


Hans Tietmeyer

Date of birth 18 August 1931

Place Metelen/Westphalia, Germany (Europe)

Nomination 19 January 1994

Field Economics

Title Dipl. Volkswirt

Place and date of death Frankfurt, Germany † 27 December 2016

  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Commemoration

Most important awards, prizes and academies
Doctor Honoris Causa (Dr. h.c.): Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (1994); European Division of the University of Maryland (1997); Université Paris Dauphine, 2000; Honorary Professor of Economics: Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (1996); European Economy Prize (2000); Member of the "Verein für Socialpolitik"; Member of the "Görres-Gesellschaft"; Bearer of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Awarded high honours by the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Italy and the Vatican.

Summary of scientific research
Since 1965 Chairman of the Cusanuswerk e.V., Studienförderung der deutschen Bischöfe. Since 2000 President and since 2009 Honorary President of the European Business School, Rheingau. In the seventies and eighties Chairman of many Committees of the EC in Brussels and of the OECD in Paris. From 1982 to 1990 Deputy-Minister of Finance in Bonn. From 1993 to 1999 President of the Deutsche Bundesbank and from 1994 to 1999 Chairman of the G10 Central Bank Governors and since 2003 Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. Five main areas of research can be named: Studies in the field of the theoretical foundation of economic policy in market-oriented economies, concentrated on questions of economic order and the ethical foundations and implications of economic decision-making. Questions of fiscal policy and budgetary policy, concentrated on the problems of, and limits for, public debt, and the implications of deficit-spending and increasing public-indebtedness for the private sector of the economy. Questions of public debt and inflation, the negative welfare effects of inflation and the ethical problems of high inflation rates. International economic cooperation. The need for, as well as the limits to, coordinating the economic, fiscal and monetary policy stances of major industrialized countries. The implications of international economic and monetary cooperation for the development of the economies involved. European monetary integration and monetary policy questions. Defining major principles and criteria for forming a monetary union. The interrelationship between questions of a monetary and economic order and the major characteristics of a monetary union. Analysis of the German economy, its cyclical situation and structural problems. 

Main publications
With more than 100 publications, it is difficult to list them. The following are some of his contributions: Antizyklische Finanzpolitik?, 1966; "Konzertierte Aktion" - Konzept, Praxis und Erfahrungen, 1969; European Economic and Currency Union - a political challenge, 1971; The influence of economic policy-makers on volition in the firm, 1976; Europäisches Währungssystem und Europäische Parallelwährung, 1979; Las bases históricas y el desarrollo de la economía social de mercado en la República Federal de Alemania, 1980; Die Bedeutung der Finanzpolitik für die Wirtschaftsentwicklung, 1983; Die Rolle des IWF bei der Überwindung der Verschuldungsprobleme, 1984; From state ownership into private hands, 1986; Die deutsch-deutsche Währungs-, Wirtschafts- und Sozialunion. Konzept und Verwirklichung, 1990; The economic integration of Germany. Problems and prospects, 1990;Gründe und Grenzen der Staatsverschuldung, 1991; Economic and Monetary Union. A German perspective. (Ludwig-Erhard Lecture, London School of Economics), 1992; The Value of Monetary Stability in the World Today (Lecture, Cambridge University), 1993; Zur Ethik wirtschaftspolitischen Handelns, 1994; Nicolaus Oresmius und die geldpolitischen Probleme von heute (with Dieter Lindenlaub), 1995;The European economy between global markets and internal challenges (Jean Monnet Lecture, European University Institute, Florence), 1996; Finanzmärkte und Beschäftigung (Lecture, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg), 1996; Ökonomische Globalisierung, 2000; Geld und Moral, 2000; Gestaltung von Rahmenbedingungen für globale Mächte, 2001; Innovative Finanzteschnologien und globalisierte Mächte, 2001. Books (selected articles): Währungsstabilität für Europa, 1996; Economie sociale de marché et stabilité monétaire, 1999; The Social Market Economy and Monetary Stability, 1999; Herausforderung EURO, 2005.

Commemoration by Prof. José Raga

“You will be able to tell them by their fruits” [Mt. 7:16]

On December 27th 2016, Hans Tietmeyer, founding member of this Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, was called to his home by the Lord, at the age of eighty five [born on August 18th in Metelen (Westphalia)]. He led a fruitful life at the service of knowledge, of man, of his country [Germany], of Europe, of the world, ultimately at the service of universal society and, with particular and irrefutable availability, at the service of the Catholic Church.

Thank you Lord for allowing us to know him and live in close proximity to him, for permitting us to follow his example throughout a significant part of his itinerary; years that were distant from pressures and sorrows, with abundant, precious space for reflection, affording him the opportunity to spread the profundity of his thoughts amongst those of us who knew him.

He leaves behind him a rich human, family and professional legacy, which of necessity pales before the dimensions of the man he was. In his memory, we take refuge in the enormity of his heart, the righteousness of his acts, the delicacy of his always respectful words and the kindness so permanently shared and witnessed in the company of his wife Maria-Therese.

In December 2016, those who, when confronted by death, like to enter into the particularities and specific data of a life lived with greater and lesser successes, unleashed an array of eulogies, honours, acknowledgments, gestures and tributes of great importance to recognise his contribution to supranational cooperation, but few, if any, emphasised the man he was over and above his accomplishments.

Few raised their voices to bear testimony to the light that emanated from his behaviour, or to highlight the benefit that his example set for those of us who knew him beyond his curriculum vitae

Personally, when I became aware of his person, of the fineness of his criteria, of his knowledge, of his determination, a determination that resides in one who knows where he is and where he wants to go, and invests effort and wisdom in order to get there, I never realised that one day, a day that would not be so distant, I would feel privileged by the way he welcomed me, his friendship, his participation and cooperation in a common project, his way of being and wisdom, in both the big and the small things in life.

A privilege that was not based on my merits, merits which I lacked, but rather a privilege that was exclusively based on his kindness. So much so, that when communicating his loss for those of us who continue our pilgrimage in this world, as long as God so wills, I tried to characterise what he meant to me as a person, leaning upon this as if it were a way of reinforcing my security.

No words seem insufficient to describe his profile. Today, four months after the sad event, I still see Hans Tietmeyer, both as member of the Academy and friend, as a person in whom resided generosity, kindness, intelligence, honesty and prudence, and all of this within behaviour free of arrogance, and full of humility and respect for all humanity.

Those of us who, for reasons of providence, have devoted our lives to economic studies and the monitoring of economic policies perceived at the beginning of the decade of the 1990s that a person, a German professor who spoke with scientific authority and moral conviction, entered into our work on practically a daily basis.

It was Professor Tietmeyer, at that time President of the Deutsche Bundesbank, who, with the auctoritas afforded him by his knowledge and clarity of vision, became, without seeking such a role, and with great naturalness, the monetary confessor of the presidents and governors of central banks in the majority of countries wishing to embark upon the path of convergence that would give rise to the single currency.

At the seminars and scientific meetings on what was known as the European Monetary Union, doubts and controversies were frequently addressed with the recurring question: What does Tietmeyer say? His wise opinion dissipated any doubts in those matters and in many other matters, which, at that time, some of us could not even imagine.

Thus, at the outset, with a modesty that would subsequently become evident, the personality of the President of the German central bank would be reduced, albeit it with significant eloquence, to the objectives of Monetary Union, in both academic and political forums, and particularly in those forums in which the focus was on weighing up the pros and cons of a project requiring a deep commitment from countries who opted to form part of it.

His great capacity for the task, which made him one of the most significant architects in the construction of the Euro, and his enthusiasm for the initiative did not prevent him from seeing the difficulties that would arise from the implementation of the Monetary Union.

His warnings were clear and unequivocal and candidates for membership of the Monetary Union were aware, from the very beginning that the path would demand great efforts and sacrifices from those countries wishing to embark upon it. The theoretical and practical advantages of a single currency were hidden to nobody but, thanks to his forecasts, all were aware that the task would not be easy, particularly for a number of economies accustomed to having currencies with very little stability.

All of this was very clear and well known to both, theorists and practitioners of monetary policy. Abundant information was available and numerous studies addressed the issue, which was an attractive project in itself, as well as a further step in the itinerary that has existed in Europe since the Treaty of Rome to create a stronger union that might one day culminate in full political union.

The work of Professor Tietmeyer, the result of magnanimous thought and limitless generosity, was a project to which a good number of countries would commit to, in full knowledge of the foreseeable constraints and difficulties. A project for Economic and Monetary Union in which the fraternity and solidarity amongst the people and nations committed to it shone through from the very beginning.

My great surprise and source of personal and permanent admiration would occur when, years later – in 2001– within the framework of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, I would meet Professor Tietmeyer in person, who generously offered his sincere friendship. The differences between the two of us in terms of science, experience and know-how were abysmal. However, this in no way affected our personal relationship and was even less significant when the occasion of working together came about.

I learned, from his person, that what was decisive in human life – in whichever of its aspects – is precisely that: the person in all his integrity. It is in the person as such where all remaining facets and activities converge but, more than ever, it is in the person where the parable “You will be able to tell them by their fruits”, becomes a reality.

Hans Tietmeyer was an implacable model of coherency of works and thoughts. His life, I would dare to say, was supported by a tripod which, as a geometric figure, enjoys the greatest of stability. The three points of support of this tripod, the confluence of so many other internal and external aspects of the human figure, were, in the case of Tietmeyer: humanity, humanism and science.

And let us add to these dimensions others, such as the capacity to love, loyalty to principles, people and institutions, unconditional commitment, introspection and reflection, the shaping of a life of greatness in the eyes of God and men.

That tripod could not produce anything but fascination. I would be so bold as to say that those determined to see in Tietmeyer a great economist, or even more, a prophet in the intricacies of monetary policy, are missing the most significant part of his personality. A rich personality, more than anything else: rich in thought and in commitment to the transcendental dimension of the human person.

He always aspired more to the reward of the spirit, of the soul, than to any reward he could have obtained in the material world, for which he was more than well endowed with knowledge and capacities. He was, ultimately, a Catholic living in the world of today and a shining example to those of us who knew him.

His great Catholic faith, his knowledge of and commitment to the Church was not sporadic but rather was immersed within his doctrine and in the practice of the virtues consecrated within the messages of the Sacred Scriptures. Nobody could be surprised, or I at least was not surprised, to learn that his first university studies were not in the field of economic science but in the field of Catholic Theology.

Could we possibly imagine a firmer foundation on which to build a human life project than Theology? Reminding ourselves of and paraphrasing the parable of Our Lord Jesus Christ [Mt 7:24-25, Lk 6:48], we might say that he who builds his life in this way is like he who builds his house on rock, which is solid and cannot be destroyed by winds, rains or the onslaughts of storms.

Rain, wind and multiple storms often fall upon men in their personal, family, professional and social lives, above all on those who, because of their capacities and knowledge, are more in demand for the undertaking of tasks, and public and private activities that entail a risk of collapse.

Only those who build their house on rock, who nurture their knowledge and conscience with solid principles, differentiating at all times between what is permanent and what is transitory and forging their will accordingly, feel secure and show us by their example, their works, their testimony, their confession, the opportunities that the world itself can offer for an itinerary of perfection: the practice of Christian virtues.

Those of us who had the fortune to know and share with Hans his attitudes could only marvel at his way of being, his humanity, his modesty; and we saw in a person of flesh and blood the reality of what it is to lead a dignified life, which is not merely a life with rights but also one with responsibilities.

May the Lord God hold him in his Glory and may He give us the strength, the consistency of principles and coherency of action to guide us towards his Glory. And, meanwhile, the moment has arrived to demonstrate through prayer our gratitude for the many lessons received from one who also did so much for our Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which was certainly his Academy; our brother Hans.

Ways to Improve the Order and Governance in Globalising Economic and Financial Markets (PDF) 2012

What Kind of Regulation? (PDF) 2010

Globalisation and the Present Crisis (PDF) 2009

Comment (PDF) 2007

Comment on Conceptions of Human Beings Implicit in Economics and in the Practice of Economic Policy (PDF) 2005