Welcome to Switzerland
The recent past has shown that IARIW’s major fields of interest – definition, measurement and analysis of national income and wealth – are at the top of the agenda both of politics and economics. The Report of the Stiglitz commission and the initiatives “Measuring the progress of societies” by the OECD and “Beyond GDP” by the European Union clearly and rightly point out that the fields of economics and society are strongly interrelated. Thus both economic and social issues – in addition to ecological aspects – have to be taken into account by policy makers. These moves on the international scene provide a new motivation and a stronger political endorsement to the themes covered by IARIW.
There are at least two reasons why I am very proud that – for the second time since 1992 – the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO) can host this year’s IARIW General Conference. One reason is the long and successful tradition of IARIW General Conferences. They provide an ideal platform for experts from all over the world to discuss and exchange views and thus to learn from each other about the issues of income and wealth. I am sure that the themes covered in this General Conference will be particularly pertinent given the context of this year 2010. The other reason is that this Conference coincides with the 150th anniversary of the creation of the FSO. The development of the FSO over the last 150 years parallels the ever-increasing complexity of society and the related need for statistical information in all fields of society. This long history also shows us that our work is a long-term project.
I wish you a stimulating conference that creates new insights, refreshes old and enables new contacts and I hope that you will enjoy Swiss hospitality in this city situated between the Alps and the Lake of Constance.
Dr Jürg Marti
Director General, Federal Statistical Office (FSO)