New Economy Must Coexist with Old, Schroeder Says

BERLIN (05/24/2000) - The "new" economy is driving society into the future, but its leaders must be careful not to leave anyone in the past, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in a keynote address here at Sapphire 2000 today.

"The new economy can and will be a motor for the modernization of our society," he said. "People will share in both profit and knowledge."

"But all the successes of the new economy should not lead us to the neglect of traditional industry," he added, noting that only about 5 percent of employees in Germany work in the information and telecommunication technology industries.

If handled correctly, "the logical developments in this society will make the transition between the industrial society and a knowledge-based society," said Schroeder, who spoke in German as his speech was translated to the audience.

"There are very close relationships between the 'new' industry and 'old' industries, especially here in Germany," he said, pointing out that the IT industry has long been part of traditional industries such as automotive and toys.

In this knowledge-based society, he added, people will be able to use their capabilities and skills even more than in the past.

He also spoke of the relationship between government and business in the new society, noting that "unless politics and business work together, we will countersteer," increasing the risk of people getting left by the wayside because they lack skills needed in a technological society.

"In the future, we will not just be concerned with new technology, but with a new corporate culture as well," the chancellor said.

If people are careful not to leave anyone behind, there are many benefits to be had in the IT industry -- "the most international of all industries," in Schroeder's words.

"It sets the scene for more jobs and growth, not only in the (IT) industry, but in all industries," he said.

Sapphire, in Berlin, continues through Friday. More information can be found on the Web at http://www.sap.com/sapphire/berlin/.

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