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Journal des Économistes et des Études Humaines

Editor-in-Chief: Garello, Pierre

Ed. by Gentier, Antoine


CiteScore 2018: 0.14

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2153-1552
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Volume 20, Issue 1

Issues

Volume 17 (2011)

Volume 16 (2010)

Volume 15 (2009)

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

Carlo Lottieri
Published Online: 2014-05-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jeeh-2013-0015

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.

Keywords: market; ethics; federalism; Welfare State

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About the article

Published Online: 2014-05-29

Published in Print: 2014-07-01


Citation Information: Journal des Économistes et des Études Humaines, Volume 20, Issue 1, Pages 19–41, ISSN (Online) 2153-1552, ISSN (Print) 2194-5799, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jeeh-2013-0015.

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