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ePub Wilhelm Ropke: Swiss Localist, Global Economist (Library of Modern Thinkers) download

by Dr John Zmirak

ePub Wilhelm Ropke: Swiss Localist, Global Economist (Library of Modern Thinkers) download
Dr John Zmirak
Intercollegiate Studies Institute (January 31, 2002)
Professionals & Academics
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Wilhelm Ropke is probably the most unjustly neglected economist and social critic of the twentieth century. John Zmirak provides a fresh and fair look at Wilhelm Röpke.

Wilhelm Ropke is probably the most unjustly neglected economist and social critic of the twentieth century. Exiled by Hitler's regime. He unearths writings that are sometimes ignored, particularly those relating to international economics, to show that Röpke's "Third Way" compromises neither freedom nor the moral sense. What emerges is a brilliant and complex thinker: a cosmopolitan liberal in the classical tradition who believed firmly in the free economy, sound money, local rights, and the old bourgeois virtues.

Start by marking Wilhelm Ropke: Swiss Localist, Global Economist as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Swiss Localist, Global Economist. Additional Information.

Many of the political and economic reforms outlined by Röpke in the books he wrote in the 1940s served as the inspiration for th. .

Many of the political and economic reforms outlined by Röpke in the books he wrote in the 1940s served as the inspiration for the market-oriented policies introduced into West Germany starting in the late 1940s.

Library of modern thinkers.

Wilmington, Del. : ISI Books, 2001. Physical description. xii, 229 p ; 22 cm. Series. Library of modern thinkers. SAL3 (off-campus storage).

Wilhelm Ropke is probably the most unjustly neglected economist and . The book is both well written and crafted, as John Zmirak demonstrates a good eye and ear for extensive quotations from Röpke and others, and the deference to let these sources often speak for themselves.

Swiss Localist, Global Economist (Library of Modern Thinkers). Published September 2001 by Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

Wilhelm Röpke and Richard C. Koo on Secondary Deflations and . Koo on Secondary Deflations and Balance Sheet Recessions. Economic Affairs 3. (2015): 215–24. Wilhelm Röpke – Library Collections (including his entire correspondence in original) – Library of the Institute for Economic Policy, University of Cologne, Germany. Wilhelm Röpke – Library Collections (German Page) – Library of the Institute for Economic Policy, University of Cologne, Germany.

Wilhelm Ropke is probably the most unjustly neglected economist and social critic of the twentieth century. Exiled by Hitler's regime, Ropke was a passionate critic of socialism and the welfare state who was nonetheless keenly attuned to the limits of capitalism. John Zmirak's Wilhelm Ropke, written with the touch of an accomplished writer and journalist, ably demonstrates that Ropke's humane yet sophisticated Third Way economics can play a vital role in shaping appropriate policies to reflect the growing communitarian consensus.
  • Wilhelm Ropke was an interesting thinker and social philosopher who observed/analyzed the world in which he lived and prescribed his "third way" solution to a world imploding around itself. Ropke was living/writing at a time when many colleagues/citizens/states all became infatuated with the extremism of either fascism or communist economics.

    Living in Germany at the time of the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Ropke saw through the thin veil of the Nazi economic program, and dedicated to his principles he unleashed a devastating critique of Nazi economics. In doing so, his academic career in Germany was terminated and he was forced to leave Germany. He first moved to Turkey, and later he settled down in Switzerland where he would remain throughout the war years and the rest of his life. He would also gather much of his inspiration from his experience in Switzerland for his later writings. Ropke remained a staunch opponent of both fascism and communism, while embracing much of the criticisms leveled against "capitalism" as it was understood at the time. Ropke would reject the utilitarianism of much of the old economics/economists while substituting in its place his "third way" that embraced morality combined with the market economy.

    While in Switzerland, Ropke would focus on the importance of institutions and government as it applied to economic/social life. Ropke would reject much of the centralizing forces of government in favor of the "principle of subsidiarity." He favored decentralization of power in politics and when problems arose he favored if possible for those problems to be dealt with through family, civil associations, churches, etc. to local government to regional gov. and finally the central gov. He wasn't against government interventions, but was in favor of what he called "compatible interventions" during a crisis to provide for unemployment and the very poor, but also critical of the proposed danger of interventions can bring.

    Ropke opposed the monopolists both private and public and advocated for antitrust policies to breakup companies where a large concentration of accumulated capital. He accurately described the position monopolies and big government colludes at the expense of workers and consumers and how they gain from government protections to secure monopolies. He was also in favor of people owning their own homes instead of being concentrated in large cities; however he was ahead of his time in predicting the problems of urban sprawl like the long commute, pollution, etc. (he was against those kind of housing proposals that spread after the war). Ropke also had an interesting note of "sudden population booms" which can create "a generation of children that is cut off from its parents' traditions and [become] easily radicalized." Ropke was concerned about the degradation of the family by the lack of influence between generations.

    As I stated before, Ropke was in favor of decentralization (like Switzerland) and against the emerging nationalism that plagued Europe during the time which he associated with "economic nationalism, impoverishment, imperialism, and war." Ropke, the author believed, would consider himself a moderate internationalist e.g. through trade, morality, etc., but he also considered the "sovereign individual" and "sovereign nation" essential to his system. He disapproved of the U.N., the European Economic Community, etc. (and probably the European Union) calling them "false internationalism" which he believed they functioned as a "veneer of economic and social harmony" and believed they would lead to a "proliferate bureaucracy" and "protectionism." More importantly he wanted Germany to emulate the Swiss model of government.

    After the war, Ropke's ideas would have a considerable influence on the post-war German economy. Ludwig Erhard, who led West Germany's economic plan by 1948, was heavily influenced by Ropke's ideas. However not all of his ideas were adopted, nevertheless he did have an impact of West German development in the post-war years.

    Despite my disagreements with the author (nothing to significant) this book is of considerable value. I would recommend it to other readers interested in Ropke's ideas and other reviewers hit on topics I left out. Ropke was a complex thinker who has considerable value to the modern reader and people should check out his ideas.

  • Ropke was a major influence in the economic reconstruction of post-World War II Germany. This work is an excellent reintroduction to Ropke for a generation that needs to hear his message. If you are seeking to learn about sound economic alternatives to the irresponsible economic policies promulgated by both major U.S. political parties this is a good book to start with. Zmirak sets forth Ropke's economic and social philosophy in the context of the turbulent times through which he lived and worked. Highly recommended for the general reader.

  • Very well written and informative.

  • Wilhelm Röpke is a brilliant German-born economic, social and political theorist, and perhaps my favorite amongst the "Austrian school." He stands apart from his colleagues in that he thinks on a more humane level rejecting crude utilitarian calculations in favor of sound empirical reasoning. The crux of Röpke's economic thought is that the individual counts. This brilliant German economist of the "Austrian school" stood up to the centralizing and dehumanizing policies of the Nazis. Collectivist ideologies lay waste to civil society-destroying the intermediary institutions between individual and state-supplanting them with institutions to empower and enhance the state. Röpke recognized that allocating resources by the fair play of supply and demand is the most humane system and he was champion of the market economy. He was influential over economist Ludwig Erhard, who architected FRG's postwar economic plan, which emphasized free enterprise.

    Röpke possessed some peculiarities in his lexicon that set in him apart from his colleagues, but his motive for such peculiarities was principled. Röpke rejected characterizing socialism as a "planned economy" since in his view a market economy is just an economy "planned" by entrepreneurs as opposed to state planners. He preferred the delineation of "market economy" to "capitalism," since what often passed for capitalism in the early twentieth century was a large interventionist welfare state in a cozy lockstep relationship with big business monopolists. This was state corporatism not capitalism. Moreover, "capitalism" was, of course, coined by its chief critic Karl Marx and while the term captures the importance of capital to the market economy, it remains rather sterile. Capitalism frequently connotes a materialistic consumerist ideology or images of big business rather than a social framework based on the market economy. Röpke would attest that mammon is not the measure of all things. In Röpke's eyes, the intangibles-that is to say faith, family and tradition-are the things that animate life and give it meaning.

    Röpke recognizes the limitations of the market economy. Röpke possesses a remarkable sense of prudence and conservative sobriety in his thinking as it relates to the political economy. He rejected the idea of making economists into social engineers whether in the interests of "efficiency" or "social justice." And amongst his "Austrian" colleagues like F.A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, he brought economics to a more humane level, rejecting crude utilitarian logic in favor of more humane empirical reasoning to defend the market economy. Furthermore, he refrains from the market idolatry that is so common to libertarian apologists for the free-market these days. Libertarians frequently espouse an ideology that can be summed up as "everything in the market, nothing outside the market." (This, of course, turns Mussolini's mantra on its nose.) Röpke recognizes something that libertarians miss with their penchant for crude utilitarian calculations and their moral neutrality that often makes being an avowed "libertarian" indistinguishable from being a "libertine." Many libertarians content themselves writing diatribes defending the "robber barrons" of the yesteryears while praising the colossal (e.g. Wal-Mart.) In their efforts to defend any and everything related to "the private sector," they forget that the apparently sporadic interventions of the state often come at the behest of big business. Many big business capitalists content themselves with cozy public-private partnerships that translate to steady, predictable profits and a regulated environment that drowns small business competition. Big business possess a comparative advantage in that they can absorb the regulatory costs easier than their smaller competitors and perhaps influence the regulations. Röpke, however, scorns the colossal not in demagogic rhetoric, but in the rhetoric of an economist. He likewise sees "big business" as a concomitant pillar of "big government" and its regulatory state.

    Underlying Röpke's humane economy is the idea that a market economy needs a prudent civil framework, widespread distribution of property, a strong entrepreneurial middle class and emphasis on parochial traditionalism. Anyway, Röpke itinerates the need for sound monetary and fiscal policy on the part of the state. He holds that the gold standard is the only real safeguard against the vicious boom-and-bust cycles of modern capitalist society. Röpke recognized that a market economy flourishes when tradition and community guard against the centralizing depredations of the state and big business. Röpke further emphasized the principle of subsidiarity, which in Europe today seems to survive only in that beautiful alpine island of parochialism-Switzerland-which itself is straddled by the colossal and cosmopolitan EU super-state as if it is ready to be consumed.

    In the Humane Economy, Röpke surmised that: "The market economy, and with social and political freedom, can thrive only as part and under the protection of a bourgeois system. This implies the existence of a society in which certain fundamentals are respected and color the whole network of social relationships: individual effort and responsibility, absolute norms and values, independence based on ownership, prudence and daring, calculating and saving, responsibility for planning one's own life, proper coherence with the community, family feeling, a sense of tradition and the succession of generations combined with an open-minded view of the present and the future, proper tension between individual and community, firm moral discipline, respect for the value of money, the courage to grapple on one's own with life and its uncertainties, a sense of the natural order of things, and a firm scale of values." To answer those who might sneer at this, Röpke nimbly replies, "Whoever turns his nose up at these things... suspects them of being 'reactionary'... may in all seriousness be asked what ideals he intends to defend against Communism without having to borrow from it."

    John Zmirak does a wonderful job profiling the life and work of a very brilliant man. Bravo! Röpke's ideas are remarkably original, but even so are analogous to that of conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet, Anglo-Catholic distributists like Chesterton and Belloc, and the Southern agrarians like Agar and Tate. You might check out their works as well, if Röpke interests you.