World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Wilhelm Röpke

Article Id: WHEBN0000761161
Reproduction Date:

Title: Wilhelm Röpke  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Social market economy, University of Marburg, Mont Pelerin Society, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Gustav Heinemann
Collection: 1899 Births, 1966 Deaths, 20Th-Century Scholars, Commanders Crosses of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, German Academics, German Anti-Communists, German Economics Writers, German Economists, German Expatriates in Switzerland, German Expatriates in Turkey, German Male Writers, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Faculty, Istanbul University Faculty, Mont Pelerin Society Members, People from Heidekreis, People Who Emigrated to Escape Nazism
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Wilhelm Röpke

Wilhelm Röpke
Born (1899-10-10)October 10, 1899
Schwarmstedt, German Empire
Died February 12, 1966(1966-02-12) (aged 66)
Geneva, Switzerland
Nationality German
Institution University of Marburg, University of Istanbul, Institution of International Studies
Field Economics, Ethics
School or tradition
Alma mater University of Marburg
Influences Ludwig von Mises
Contributions Theoretical foundation of the German economic miracle

Wilhelm Röpke (October 10, 1899 – February 12, 1966) was Professor of Economics, first in World War II economic re-awakening of the war-wrecked German economy, deploying a program sometimes referred to as the sociological neoliberalism (compared to ordoliberalism, a more sociologically inclined variant of German neoliberalism).[1]

With Alfred Müller-Armack and Alexander Rüstow (sociological neoliberalism) and Walter Eucken and Franz Böhm (ordoliberalism) he elucidated the ideas, which then were introduced formally by Germany's post-World War II Minister for Economics Ludwig Erhard, operating under Konrad Adenauer's Chancellorship.[1] Röpke and his colleagues' economic influence therefore is considered largely responsible for enabling Germany's post-World War II Economic "Miracle." Röpke was also an historian.


  • Life 1
  • Work 2
  • Influence 3
  • Online works 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


Röpke's opposition to the German Nazi regime led him (with his family) in 1933 to emigrate to Istanbul, Turkey, where he taught until 1937, before accepting a position at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, where he lived until his death, in 1966.


In his youth, Röpke was first inspired by socialism and afterwards by the Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises.[2] Despite this, the post-World War II economic liberation enabling Germany to once again lead Europe, which Röpke and his allies (Walter Eucken, Franz Böhm, Alfred Müller-Armack and Alexander Rüstow) were the intellectual muscle behind, occurred by implementing policy divergent to that advocated by Ludwig von Mises. Though the two men shared some beliefs in certain areas, Röpke & co. instead formed the school of ordoliberalism and advocated free trade but with more central bank and state influence than what Austrian School economists suggest is required.[3] Unlike many mainstream Austrian School economists, Röpke and the ordoliberalists conceded that the Market Economy can be more disruptive and inhumane unless intervention is permitted a role to play.

Following Alexander Rüstow, Röpke concluded that free markets' vaunted efficiency and affluence can exact social and spiritual forfeits. In consequence, he envisioned a positive and more extensive role for the state, as rulemaker, enforcer of competition, and provider of basic social security.[2]

In spite of this, however, Röpke remained a political decentralist and rejected [2][4][5]

For Röpke, humanism," something which he also referred to as the "Third Way."

Röpke stood for a society and social policy in which human rights are given the highest importance. He believed that individualism must be balanced by a well-thought-out principle of sociality and humanity. Significantly, Röpke's economic thought is highly congruent with Catholic social teaching. As he grew older, Röpke increasingly appreciated the overall, general benefits of a society that embraces spirituality, particularly in contrast to societies where spirituality is marginalized or demonized.[2]


In particular, from 1930 to 1931, Röpke served on a government commission examining unemployment and, from 1947 to 1948, he served on Germany's post-World War II currency reform council.[3] Furthermore, Röpke personally advised the Chancellor of (post-World War II) West Germany, Konrad Adenauer, and his Minister of Economics, Ludwig Erhard up until the late 1950s, and therefore is credited with contributing the intellectual backbone of the now famous German Economic "Miracle".[2]

Occupying West Germany following the conclusion of World War II, the Western Allies (the US, Britain, and France) had continued to implement an economic policy of rationing as well as wage and price controls, coupled with the continued excessive printing of paper money. Production consequently collapsed and prominent businessmen once again became unwilling to accept the (relatively) worthless currency, triggering widespread shortages and the mainstreaming of a grey-market barter economy. Röpke's The Solution to the German Problem (1947) illuminated the negative implications of the Western Allies' continuing of Hitler's economic policies. Instead, Röpke proposed abolishing price controls and replacing the reichsmark with a sound, more trustworthy currency.

Accordingly, price and wage controls were then incrementally abolished and on June 21, 1948, the new Deutschemark was introduced. These long-range policy initiatives, however, spawned some civil unrest immediately following their implementation because of a consequent increase in unemployment. Despite these disturbances and stoically supported by Röpke's learned newspaper writings, the Minister of Economics Ludwig Erhard persevered with foresight, and this eventually amounted to "a great personal vindication for Röpke": Röpke and his allies had "made West Germany immune to communism".[3]

He was president of the Mont Pelerin Society from 1961–1962. But as a result of a long quarrel with Friedrich August von Hayek he stepped down and terminated his membership in it.[6]

Online works

  • Crises and Cycles (1936)
  • International Economic Disintegration (1942)
  • The German Question (1946)
  • The Social Crisis of Our Time (1950)
  • International Order and Economic Integration (1959)
  • A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market (1960)
  • Economics of the Free Society (1963)
  • Against the Tide (1969); posthumous essay collection
  • Two Essays by Wilhelm Roepke (1987)

See also


  1. ^ a b Razeen Sally, Classical Liberalism and International Economic Order, Routledge, 2002, ISBN 0-415-16493-1, p. 106
  2. ^ a b c d e An essay about Röpke by John Attarian
  3. ^ a b c Samuel Gregg, Wilhelm Röpke's political economy, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84844-222-1, p. 29
  4. ^ How Different Were Ropke and Mises? Ivan Pongracic, Review of Ausrrian Economics 10, no. 1 (1997): 125–32 ISSN 0889-3047
  5. ^ Critics of Keynesian EconomicsSee "The Economics Of Full Employment" in
  6. ^ Philip Mirowski, Dieter Plehwe: The Road From Mont Pelerin. 2009, ISBN 978-0-674-03318-4, p. 19

Further reading

  • Steelman, Aaron (2008). "Röpke, Wilhelm (1899–1966)". In  

External links

  • Wilhelm Röpke's Political Economy by Samuel Gregg
  • The Social Market Economy – U.S. Library of Congress
  • "How Different Were Ropke and Mises?" by Ivan Pongracic
  • A biography of Röpke – by Shawn Ritenour
  • 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 Röpke: A Centenary Appreciation" by Richard M. Ebeling ("The Freedom: Ideas on Liberty," October 1999)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.