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Abstract

Hans Christoph Binswanger, 1929-2018, was a professor of economics at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. His major interests and contributions were in the areas of macroeconomics, monetary economics, growth economics, development economics, ecological economics and the history of economic thought. He also made significant contributions to the field of economics and literature, as well as taxation. He was a co-founder of the Institute for Economy and Ecology at the University of St. Gallen and headed it from to 1992 to 1995. He co-founded the (German-language) association of ecological economics. He was awarded many prizes and his impact on society was significant, not least via his impact in the area of literature, through which he reached a broad audience. Professor Binswanger recognised the role of banks as creators of money and criticised the fictional economic theories that fail to include a central role for money, banking and credit. One of his best-known books is Money and Magic, recently re-published in English with a foreword by Lord Adair Turner (Binswanger, 2016), in which he contends (and argues that Goethe contended) that the modern economy is the human attempt to achieve eternity, via the alchemical (i.e. ‘magic’ and deceptive) monetary process, which results in dislocations and harm to the environment, but is ultimately doomed to failure.