Most economists have little or no relevance to political and economic life in Germany, but that’s not the case with Clemens Fuest. Next March, he will replace the retiring Hans-Werner Sinn as president of the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research.
The change in leadership is a turning point. Mr. Sinn is not just any German economist. He is the German economist.
No other economic researcher carries as much weight with the media or wields as much influence in the political arena. The bearded professor of economics and public finance at the University of Munich laid the path for the reforms in Agenda 2010 when he denounced the excesses of the banks.
With his pointed criticisms of the euro bailout policy, he became something akin to the intellectual father of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party until it stumbled into the dark recesses of right-wing nationalism.