Friday, March 2, 2018

Wilhelm Röpke’s Relevance in a Post-Totalitarian World

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

A paper of mine on “Wilhelm Röpke’s Relevance in a Post-Totalitarian World,” recently has been published as a chapter in the volume, “Wilhelm Röpke (1899-1966): A Liberal Political Economists and Conservative Social Philosopher,” edited by Patricia Commun and Stefan Kolev (Springer Publishers, 2018).

A PDF of my chapter may be accessed (for free) at through the following link:'s_Relevance_in_a_Post-Totalitarian_World

Wilhelm Röpke was one of the most influential free market-oriented German economists of the twentieth century.  As a young man, he took a principled and highly moral public stand in Germany against Nazi tyranny right after Hitler came to power in 1933. Forced into exile, he finally ended up at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, where he lived and taught until his death when only 65 years of age.

 In my chapter, I explain Röpke’s criticisms of all forms of collectivism – communist, fascist, Nazi – and their fundamental denial of the autonomy and liberty of the individual; and that personal, social and economic freedom can only prevail in a liberal order of free markets and limited government. Though not a proponent of strict laissez-faire liberalism, he insisted that human beings could only flourish and prosper in a market-based society.

I also offer my interpretation of what Röpke’s views might be, today (based on his prolific writings during his lifetime), on the modern welfare state, the viability of the European Union, the challenge of contemporary waves of global immigration, and the threats from religious totalitarianism in the form of Islamic fanatics.

In my opinion, half a century after Röpke’s death, the character of his life and the insightfulness of his ideas still have much to teach and inspire us in these early decades of the twenty-first century.



No comments:

Post a Comment