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Letter from the Dean

to all students, staff and faculty at LMU Faculty of Economics

19.11.2021

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,

Kassandrian prophecies are always true, but never believed. Currently, it becomes clear society should have listened more to those experts that were often framed as spoilsports: If too few people are vaccinated, we will face yet another hard winter. Numbers are rising again; a fact that is as tragic as it would have been preventable. So, let me make one thing exceedingly clear: Be smart! If you have not yet done so, get vaccinated! Get your booster shots! Get a flu shot, too! Take a stand for solidarity. Speak to those around you who are still reluctant to get vaccinated. We as economists and members of the university – an institution whose core values are rationality and scientific thinking – have a special responsibility in this. If you sometimes asked yourself, what the practical use of your theoretical instruction in game theory and statistics is, it is this. Explain basic statistics and evidenced based decision making to doubters. Use your knowledge of game theory and externalities to show people how their individual action matters. Now is the time to be ambassadors of science. This is not only about us as individuals anymore: It is about millions of yet unvaccinated children under twelve, about millions of vaccinated children in schools, about millions of people in nursing homes, about the staff in hospitals and ICUs, about our favorite bars, restaurants, cinemas… Do your part!

Back to Kassandra, the Trojan sage: If her story teaches us one thing, it is – to paraphrase a German figure of speech – that caution is the mother of the porcelain horse. Although our only gradual opening of the university and lectures might have seemed overly cautious at the time, their prudence now goes to show. We sincerely hope that we will not be forced to restrict on-site teaching further but in any case our earlier decisions allow for reliably planning the exam period independent of the further course of the pandemic.

Lastly, a silver lining: Although we might not yet have seen the end of this terrible, terrible time, the vaccines still provide formidable protection against a severe infection on the individual level and booster shots are effective means to refresh protection such that even the spread of virus is substantially decreased for “boostered” individuals.

Let’s hope that spring will be an awakening from this nightmare, and even if everything looks very gloomy right now, we hope for the summer. We do expect to go back to on-site teaching as a default in the summer term, so remember to start looking for a room in Munich, if you are not yet living in the city.

Best,

Florian (Englmaier)