The Christian Economics of Wilhelm Ropke

Joel J. Miller at Patheos writes about the Christian economics of Wilhelm Ropke:

After addressing Ayn Rand’s anti-Christian philosophy, I think it’s important to propose an alternative. This is particularly important for Christians who defend the free market and would like to expand economic freedom. Just because Ayn Rand is of the devil doesn’t mean that capitalism is too. They are not the same thing.

[ . . . ] It’s a false dichotomy. Capitalism has had many defenders. Some, rather than being anti-religious like Rand, are self-consciously Christian. Rand’s contemporary, Wilhelm Röpke, is one such example.

Looking back at the tremendous upheavals of the first half of the twentieth century, many responded by embracing socialism, both in Europe and even America. Not Röpke. A professional economist, he lectured, wrote several books, and was partly responsible for engineering Germany’s post-WWII recovery. One of his books, published one year after Atlas Shrugged hit the market, remains essential reading today.

[ . . . ] If Röpke is right, then the last thing that we need is more of Rand. We should also draw a critical eye to the materialist answers of consumerism, which today corrodes our society and numbs us to the realities around and within us as surely as does socialism.

We need “to take counsel with our own souls and . . . bethink ourselves of the firm, enduring, and proved truths of life.” We’ve tried economics without reference to God, and no one’s better for it.

Many of Röpke’s works can be found here. An epub version of A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market can be found here.

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