Against the tide by Wilhelm Röpke


By Wilhelm Röpke

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Extra resources for Against the tide Sample text

On the contrary, we place the strongest possible emphasis on degenerative symptoms of this kind and differ from the anti-capitalist radicals only insofar as we do not allow our indignation to carry us away into an ultimately sterile negation of the whole system but draw from it the passionate demand for an economic policy that, to the extent possible, stops up the sources of fraudulent incomes (without corresponding performance) and unpunished mistakes. What is at stake here are questions of trade policy, monopoly control, 1 Die Tat, September, 1930, p.

In truth, we would not want for grandiloquence, lung-power, and acute observation in matching the critics of capitalism in this tune, and in our hymn of hate we would enjoy introducing appropriate allusions to bags of coffee dumped into the sea and corn used to fire locomotives. Any fool can do that, and there's no need for anyone to feel clever and superior just because he reads out for the nth time the long list of sins imputable to the modern economy, with the implication that we are too stupid or obdurate to see it for ourselves.

On closer inspection it is frightening to see how this seductively iridescent concept is manipulated at will to provide ever new justification for the eternal ceterum censeo. Western "capitalism," rentier "capitalism," creditor "capitalism," private "capitalism," state "capitalism"—all are concepts that elude precise definition and, hence, lend themselves eminently to whipping up a certain stylistic lather. By hook or by crook everything is pressed into the mold of the "crisis of capitalism" with a violence one is tempted to describe as "association mania," and this applies regardless of whether the thing in question has as little to do with the economic system as such, as, say, deficit financing in Germany.

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