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Ethics, Market, and the Federal Order. The Political Philosophy of Wilhelm Röpke

Ethics, Market, and the Federal Order. The Political Philosophy of Wilhelm Röpke Abstract The moral and political philosophy of Wilhelm Röpke is among the finest instances of European classical liberalism in the twentieth century, and in many occasions he stated that only a society which understands the importance of markets can be reconciled with human dignity. Röpke elaborated a political theory that focused on the harmony between moral principles and economic law. In this sense, his liberalism is unique not only because it defends private property and competition as pillars of a thriving economy, but above all that it provides the preconditions of a society that can remain secure from the immorality of despotism and subsequent ethical degeneration. To that end he upheld an economic order based on voluntary cooperation as the basis for a more humane society, emphasizing the role of institutional competition and federalism. Röpke’s cultural conservatism should not therefore be misunderstood, as it is very much connected with his defense of the essential role of property. It is only in this sense that he found in liberal humanism a third way, which is not however situated halfway between the market and socialism, but which represents instead a defense of a competitive society that is aware of its own historical and cultural basis. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal des Économistes et des Études Humaines de Gruyter

Ethics, Market, and the Federal Order. The Political Philosophy of Wilhelm Röpke

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by the
ISSN
2194-5799
eISSN
2153-1552
DOI
10.1515/jeeh-2013-0015
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract The moral and political philosophy of Wilhelm Röpke is among the finest instances of European classical liberalism in the twentieth century, and in many occasions he stated that only a society which understands the importance of markets can be reconciled with human dignity. Röpke elaborated a political theory that focused on the harmony between moral principles and economic law. In this sense, his liberalism is unique not only because it defends private property and competition as pillars of a thriving economy, but above all that it provides the preconditions of a society that can remain secure from the immorality of despotism and subsequent ethical degeneration. To that end he upheld an economic order based on voluntary cooperation as the basis for a more humane society, emphasizing the role of institutional competition and federalism. Röpke’s cultural conservatism should not therefore be misunderstood, as it is very much connected with his defense of the essential role of property. It is only in this sense that he found in liberal humanism a third way, which is not however situated halfway between the market and socialism, but which represents instead a defense of a competitive society that is aware of its own historical and cultural basis.

Journal

Journal des Économistes et des Études Humainesde Gruyter

Published: Jul 1, 2014

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