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The authors' annual meeting with its topic "Globalisation: Patterns and Challenges" is taking place in a period of big challenges for them: for economic policy, but also for Economics as a social science. They are experiencing the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression eighty years ago. None of them expected this development one year ago; they all expected somewhat reduced but still positive economic growth rates for this year and the next. The general public has blamed them for failing to foresee this development. Consequently, there is not only an economic crisis; they can also perceive a considerable reduction in the public reputation of the profession, and, as is claimed at least by many people, a crisis of Economics as a science as well.
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