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Wilhelm Röpke’s Political Economy

Samuel Gregg, Director of Research, Acton Institute, US
Wilhelm Röpke is best known for his decisive intellectual contributions to the economic reforms that took post-war West Germany from ruin to riches within a decade. In this informative book, Samuel Gregg presents Röpke as a sophisticated économiste-philosophe in the tradition of Adam Smith, who was as much concerned with exploring and reforming the moral, social and intellectual foundations of the market economy, as he was in examining subjects such as business-cycles, trade-policy, inflation, employment, and the welfare state. By situating Röpke’s ideas in the history of modern Western economic thought, Samuel Gregg illustrates that while Röpke’s ‘neoliberalism’ departed from much nineteenth-century classical liberal thought, it was also profoundly anti-Keynesian and contested key aspects of the post-war Keynesian economic consensus.
Extent: 224 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84844 222 1
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Political Economy
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Political Economy
Wilhelm Röpke’s Political Economy is the story of one man’s efforts to rehabilitate a Smithian approach to political economy in ways that met the economic and political challenges of the twentieth century.

Wilhelm Röpke is best known for his decisive intellectual contributions to the economic reforms that took post-war West Germany from ruin to riches within a decade. In this informative book, Samuel Gregg presents Röpke as a sophisticated économiste-philosophe in the tradition of Adam Smith, who was as much concerned with exploring and reforming the moral, social and intellectual foundations of the market economy, as he was in examining subjects such as business-cycles, trade-policy, inflation, employment, and the welfare state. By situating Röpke’s ideas in the history of modern Western economic thought, Samuel Gregg illustrates that while Röpke’s ‘neoliberalism’ departed from much nineteenth-century classical liberal thought, it was also profoundly anti-Keynesian and contested key aspects of the post-war Keynesian economic consensus.

This book challenges many contemporary interpretations of Wilhelm Röpke’s economic thought, and will therefore be an invaluable resource for scholars, graduate students, and researchers with an interest in economics, history of economic thought, political philosophy, economic philosophy, and international trade. Policymakers will also find much to interest them in this captivating book.
‘The book is well produced, as we have come to expect from Edward Elgar.’
– European Journal of Law and Economics

‘We are extremely grateful then to the brilliant researcher and scholar, Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute, for a concise, penetrating, and thorough analysis of Röpke’s contribution to intellectual life. It breaks new ground, is highly readable, and adds considerably to the economic literature. It should become mandatory reading for every student of political economy. . . The purpose of Gregg’s masterful book is to provide a descriptive and critical introduction to Röpke’s understanding of political economy. . . This brilliant, analytical intellectual history will hopefully bring back interest in both Röpke and his “Humane Economy”. We would all be the beneficiaries.’
– Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, The American Spectator
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Ruin and Reform: The Crisis of German Economic Liberalism 3. Economics and the Economist 4. Toward a New Economic Liberalism 5. Booms, Recessions and Business Cycles 6. After Keynes: Full Employment, Inflation and the Welfare State 7. A Liberal International Economy 8. Between Humanism and Social Science References Index