Acton Institute Powerblog

Rand or Röpke?

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On his personal blog, author and publishing industry executive Joel J. Miller asks, “What if we dumped Rand for Röpke?” Good question. Miller says that it’s simply unnecessary for Christians to invoke Rand in their defense of the free market. Why not base that defense on the work of a Christian economist instead?

“Unlike Rand,” he writes, “Röpke grounded his critique of socialism and his defense of free markets in a thoroughly Christian understanding of man and his world.” He goes on to say that not only is this critique “of an entirely differing quality than Rand’s, it’s far deeper as well. Röpke saw the materialist answers of socialism as papering over the spiritual crisis that beset Western civilization in the middle twentieth century, and still does to this day.”

Miller also includes a link (bottom of post) to a free, downloadable copy of Röpke’s The Humane Economy.

The PowerBlog has archived a number of articles on Röpke by Samuel Gregg, Acton Research director and author of Wilhelm Ropke’s Political Economy (Edward Elgar, 2010).

In the archives you’ll find links to the July 2 American Spectator piece titled “The Prophet of Europe’s Crisis” and have access to “The Profoundly anti-Keynesian Political Economy of Wilhelm Röpke,” a new podcast on the Library of Law and Liberty.

John Couretas John Couretas is Director of Communications, responsible for print and online communications at the Acton Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in news and publishing fields. He has worked as a staff writer on newspapers and magazines, covering business and government. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.


  • Thanks for sharing the link to Miller’s blog, and mentioning the free copy of The Humane Economy.

  • Roger McKinney

    I certainly like Roepke, but find he has cause and effect backwards: “It is a poor species of human being which this grim vision conjures up before our eyes: “fragmentary and disintegrated” man, the end product of growing mechanization, specialization, and functionalization, which decompose the unity of human personality and dissolve it in the mass, an aborted form of Homo sapiens created by a largely technical civilization, a race of spiritual and moral pygmies lending itself willingly-indeed gladly, because that way lies redemption-to use as raw material for the modern collectivist and totalitarian mass state.”

    The abandoning of God creates the culture that Roepke despises. Culture does not make the man; man makes the culture. That is the true Christian ordering of cause and effect. The University of Florida has it correct in its motto: “The welfare of the state depends upon the morals of its citizens.” Ropke was influenced more by atheism than he realized.

    Everyone should know Ropke. He was brilliant. But for Christian economics I think we have to go back to the Scholars of Salamanca.

  • Roger McKinney

    I was too quick to criticize Ropke. A few paragraphs later I found this: “To assurne that external conditions alone determine man’s spiritual and moral. make-up, and thereby his whole personality, is to concede one of the major aspects of the cultural crisis, namely, the dissolution of our traditional Christian and humanistic conception of man in a sort of historical relativism which defines man in terms of evolutionary stages, morphological types, and cultural cycles.”

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