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Boarman – Apostle of a Humane Economy – Remembering Wilhelm Roepke (1899 -1966)

Apostle of a Humane Economy

Remembering Wilhelm Roepke (1899 -1966)


Patrick M. Boarman

Wilhelm Roepke entered my life, with immense effect on me, more than 50 years ago. That was a
time in which the political and intellectual climate was rather different from today. The world was
just beginning to rise from the ashes of the greatest war, World War II. Socialism was everywhere
in the ascendant. The Soviet colossus bestrode half the planet. China was soon to become a
monolithic Communist state. And the United States stood virtually alone, if we except Switzerland,
as guardian of the market economy. Who could then have foreseen that in 1998 the Soviet empire
would be no more, that a united Germany would have arisen like a phoenix to become the
economic powerhouse of Europe, that "socialism" and "planned economy" would become derisory,
even pejorative terms (except maybe in Cuba), and that expressions such as "social market
economy," "third way," and "a humane economy" would become the fashionable slogans of the
moment? 1

1. Revelation in Geneva

But that is today, and to understand today we need to go back to yesterday, quite a few yesterdays
in fact. It was exactly 52 years ago, in this very month of October, 1946, that I first encountered
Wilhelm Roepke. The setting of that encounter has remained with me: a crisp Fall day, in a
handsome chateau housing the Graduate Institute of International Studies, on the shores of Lake
Geneva; and, in the distance, across the Lake, the majestic white cone of Mont Blanc, faintly visible
through the morning haze.

In the classroom, a group of some 30 students waited expectantly. As I recall, they included a half
dozen young ladies from Smith College, all lined up in the front row and all but one, remarkably,
writing, as do I, with the left hand, a circumstance that confounded the non-Americans in the room.
Even in free Switzerland, I discovered, left-handedness is regarded as an affliction, best extirpated
in a child’s earliest years. "Do you mean that in America they actually let you write the wrong way
when you were a child?" was the inveterate refrain that was heard. But if my handedness was left
and genetic, my ideological sympathies were moderately rightward and self-chosen. I was ready for
Roepke of whom it was bruited about, "He is the most conservative member of the faculty!" On the
other hand, Roepke’s name, other than his general political orientation, meant little to me-his major
works were not yet available in English. Also, economics was not yet my discipline. I had come to
Geneva fresh from Columbia University where I had received a master’s degree from the School of
Journalism. My prior academic work was at a Jesuit university in languages, the arts, history, and
philosophy. Economics and business were subjects of which I knew little, and that little I didn’t
really care for very much. But here I was, anyhow, pursuing a degree in political science and in
Roepke’s classroom at the suggestion of a friend, i.e., more or less by accident

As I think back on that first encounter, on what became for me a life-altering event, I was prepared
to be informed, possibly entertained, perhaps bored. I was not prepared to be put under a spell as
was the case when Roepke strode into the classroom: a man in his middle forties, of medium height
and build, with a handsome leonine head and sandy hair, ruddy complexion, blue eyes that burned
with some inner fire, but free of any hint of fanaticism, a voice of heavy timbre and somewhat
louder than normal due to a chronic condition of deafness, and finally, Roepke’s signature trait,
craggy brows shading the intent eyes. His lecture was in English which he used with sensitivity and
precision. His text was rich with literary and historical allusion: a verse from Goethe, a maxim from
Montaigne, a quip from Shakespeare, or apt quotations from de Tocqueville, Jacob Burckhardt,
Edmund Burke, Benjamin Constant or Adam Smith. Even after all these years, I feel still the
intensity and the power of his thought and of his presentation which combined passion with a wit
that was sometime playful, sometimes mordant, never wounding of another person, but always
precisely on point. The finely honed humor was infectious, keeping his hearer’s lips slightly curled in
anticipatory merriment.

Particularly amusing was the manner in which Roepke employed his hearing handicap to manage
the discussion. In those years, his seminars, conducted around a long table, occasionally drew a
couple of socialists who came not so much to learn as to heckle him. For the most part these
nay-sayers were silenced by rapier thrusts of Roepkean wit which, though gracefully delivered and
shedding little or no blood, left the antagonists squirming and red-faced. Rarely did things turn
obnoxious, but when they did, Roepke resorted to his secret weapon-a volume control on his
hearing aid concealed on his belt. When the hostile voices reached a certain level of stridency, a
slight movement of Roepke’s left shoulder indicated to me that he was tuning them out and that it
was time for me to raise my hand to pose a question. "Yes, Mr. Boarman," he would say brightly,
the slight movement of his shoulder indicating that he was now turning the volume control back up.
Notwithstanding such occasional divertissements, learning from Roepke in the seminar format was
like taking part in a totally absorbing interactive mystery play, with us students hanging on every

2. Roepke at Home

In short, in those lectures and seminars long ago, Wilhelm Roepke snared my soul, so to speak. I
determined then and there to change my focus and to become an economist. Though Roepke was
probably the most distinguished professor at the University of Geneva at that time, he was always
accessible, or at least I found him so. In those first years after the War, automobiles were rarities in
Geneva. Bicycles filled the streets and often Roepke and I would ride our bikes home together
from the Institute. I was a frequent visitor to his home, then and some years later when, as a
married man with three children (and, of course, a wife), I returned to Geneva to finish my doctoral
dissertation. Evenings at the Roepkes, where his wife, Eva, presided as hostess and which might
include prominent personages temporarily in the City-a Ludwig Erhard, a Friedrich Hayek, a
Walter Eucken-were a genuine delight.

At these evening gatherings, Roepke showed himself to be a gifted raconteur who could appreciate
and tell a good joke. Pompous personages, academic and other, were nicely deflated with barbed,
but good-humored comment as the wine flowed, after which the talk turned solemn and sometimes
portentous. To this young and impressionable would-be economist, participating in a Roepke
soirée was, in the language that my children now use, a totally awesome experience.

Roepke’s scholarly output was even then phenomenal but given the academic demands a graduate
student was under, it was possible only to sample only a few of his books. There was one in which
I, as a neophyte economist, was particularly interested, his basic economics textbook, not yet
translated into English. Great was my rejoicing when I found in the Institute’s library a French
version of that book, Explication Economique du Monde Moderne. I read it virtually at one
sitting, finding it to be not only a splendid layman’s introduction to the arcane science of economics
but an eloquent anti-totalitarian tract as well. I determined then and there to translate the book into
English, an ambition which was eventually realized.

3. The "Third Road"

There was another reason for my gratification at having come upon this book. The reading of it was
a liberating experience. For it showed a way around or through the frozen dialogue between the
adherents of old-style capitalism on the one hand and of a government-run economy on the other,
to which much of the discourse among academic economists of that time seemed to reduce. In this
textbook Roepke argued for the rejection of socialism and the reconstitution of the market
economy as the only economic system compatible with human freedom. The market economy for
which he pleaded, however, differed fundamentally from the system which, under the vague and
emotion-charged label of "capitalism," had persisted in Europe until the 1930s and then perished of
its own degeneracies. Capitalism for Roepke was a highly imprecise noun, freighted with the
ideological ballast of the nineteenth century which gave birth to the term, and even today carrying
the value tags, positive or negative, of whomever happens to be defining it. In contrast, the market
at its core and unencumbered with labels from the right or the left, was for him a term
embracing those universal human behaviors associated with acquiring and using economic
resources and famously codified in the laws of supply and demand. Indiscriminate mixing of the
concept of a market economy with "capitalism" results in the attribution of qualities to the market
mechanism that properly are only ascribable to some specific capitalist societies of the past, notably
those of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Thus, the market economy that was installed in West
Germany after World War II-and which the Germans chose to call a "social market
economy"-represented a deliberate attempt to divorce the market idea from historical capitalism.
The lasting achievement of Roepke’s friend, Ludwig Erhard, was his abstraction of the powerful
concept of the market from the institutional matrix of nineteenth century capitalism in which it was
embedded and his demonstration that the market can yield a quite different result within a different
institutional framework.

The social market economy itself, in turn, echoed one of Roepke’s conceptions of a much earlier
date, that of the "third road." In his numerous elaborations of this idea, he showed how the old
antitheses of laissez-faire and planned economy could be transcended in a new synthesis of the
"third road," later rebaptized as a "humane economy." In such an economy, the laws of supply and
demand, while allowed full play to maximize the wealth of the nation, were yet constrained within a
framework of (market-conforming) rules including, importantly, those intended to preserve
competition. The concept envisaged, as well, the continuous influencing of economic behavior by
extra-economic institutions rooted in moral and spiritual values (law, tradition, religion, etc.). For
in the absence of such rules and institutions, the benevolent social outcomes of the pursuit by each
individual of his self-interest, posited by the classical economists, are extinguished; the market
becomes an arena for a dog-eat-dog struggle. It is a thesis for which Russia today furnishes the
unhappy proof

It is striking that for all the many years that the concept of the "third road" or the "third way" has
been imprinting itself on policy, especially in Germany, but in other places in Europe as well, thanks
to Roepke-we are just now hearing about it in this country in the most influential circles. In The
New Yorker
of July 6 of this year, we are told that Larry Summers, Clinton’s potent Deputy
Treasury Secretary is "the leading intellectual exponent of the ‘third way,’ a nascent, and
occasionally derided political philosophy associated with the names of both Bill Clinton and Tony
Blair [its central notion being] how to reconcile the free market with a social conscience."

Even the First Lady has been reported by The New York Times as being engaged with scholars
and bankers in "mapping a ‘third way’ between laissez-faire capitalism and the welfare state."
Amazingly, we are told in this same report that Mr. Clinton "was the man who could break the
ideological deadlock of left and right, for no one," we are breathlessly informed, "had yet coined the
phrase ‘third way’… "! Some suspected that the "third way" in which the President was more
urgently interested was the one that might offer safe passage between dishonorable impeachment
on the one hand and a disgraceful resignation on the other. One can only imagine Wilhelm Roepke’s
consternation at all this, were he to know of it-and perhaps he does.

One may ask: what has this third way to do with, for example, the famed "middle way" of Sweden?
Virtually nothing. Thus, Sweden’s overall public spending today is 63% of gross national product,
compared to about 36% for the U.S. and 46% for Germany. The Swedish government spends
46% of Sweden’s GNP on welfare alone, more than any other country, and the income taxes
required to support this gargantuan public generosity take 59% of the pay of people earning as little
as $30,000 a year. This is a middle way, or a third way if you wish, which has led Sweden into a
swamp of rising unemployment, social spending on a megalomanical scale, and precipitate falls in its
competitiveness and standard of living. In the OECD’s current review of its members’ economic
performance, Sweden fell from 4th to 15th place in per capita income.

All of this, of course, has nothing to do with Roepke’s third way. Indeed, he was a fierce opponent
of the welfare state in the form it had taken in his last years (the mid-1960s) precisely in such places
as Sweden and in Great Britain, the United States, and especially in his native Germany. The quest
for security through "welfarism" and through a continuous expansion of the public sector in which
the state is looked upon as a kind of "fourth dimension" able to satisfy the demands of any class for
help, Roepke held to be an illusion.

But again, in keeping with his commitment to "Mass und Mitte," to the avoidance of extremes,
Roepke wrote censoriously of the delusions of an unrestrained capitalism, of an obsessive
"economism" in which human society was led ineluctably towards a soulless mechanization and
standardization and he pleaded incessantly for the adoption of measures aimed at reducing the
crowdedness and hothouse atmosphere of modern life. In this context, he was a strong proponent
of population controls, of decentralization of industry, and of the securing of the remnants of a rural
way of life against urban erosion.

In particular, Roepke saw the unrestrained growth of population as helping to spawn the psychic
and spiritual toxins afflicting the contemporary culture. He conceded that the power of modern
technology has enabled living standards to increase along with growth of population. But he argued
that living standards in the broadest sense, including many non-material dimensions of the good life,
would have risen even faster if population growth had slowed. And he posed the plaintive question:
"Why is it necessary that every enlargement of economic room which is achieved by the labors and
the ingenuity of the existing population, be immediately filled by millions of new individuals instead
of serving to increase the well-being of those now on earth?" In this sense, Roepke was an
environmentalist before the term had been invented. In today’s lexicon he would appear as a slow
growther. For him it was not a matter of turning back the clock-a fatuous romanticism which he
repudiated-but of refusing to continue heedlessly along the path that had brought us to our present

4. Adieu

Thus the years passed, in the course of which my relationship with Roepke deepened. We
communicated often and at length about the issues that tormented the world of the 1960s: the
welfare state and its handmaiden, inflation, and their attendant miseries; the pursuit of what he saw
as a baleful new bureaucratic order in Europe under the rubric of a "Common Market"; the
enduring power of the Communist myth and the danger of an open conflict with the Soviet Union.
In the United States, he appeared with some frequency, in my and others’ translations, in The Wall
Street Journal,
Modern Age, Social Order, National Review, and other newspapers and
journals, with essays and books all the while continuing to stream from his pen in German, with
translations into French, Italian, Japanese, Swedish, Finnish, etc., quickly following.

Came the year 1965, a red letter year for me, for in that year Roepke extended to me an urgent
invitation to come to Geneva as a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute of International
Studies with the intention that I should succeed him in his Chair there. This was a compliment than
which I could think of none higher. Also, in that year, my doctoral dissertation, a study of the
German economy done under Roepke’s guidance, was published. I accepted Roepke’s invitation
with the understanding that it would be an experimental undertaking, initially for one year-I had my
fully Americanized family to consider-and transplanted myself, with wife, four small children, and
books, to Geneva. What a joy and privilege it was to work alongside my great teacher, now my
colleague, a man whom I had always addressed as "Professor" and who now beseeched me to
skip this formality and to call him simply "Roepke." We visited often with Roepke and his wife,
Eva-they were fond of my children. This close acquaintance emphatically confirmed my previous
impression of him as a true gentleman: generous to a fault to his rivals and opponents (of whom
there were many), with never a hint of the odium academicum that infects so much of university
life, at Geneva and elsewhere. And I greatly enjoyed my teaching duties at the Institute.

Then came that Saturday morning in February, 1966, when, for a reason I have now forgotten, I
drove to the Institute. It was a crisp wintry day. The refurbished chateau on the shores of Lake
Geneva housing the Institute was open for students who wanted to use the library. The trees on the
grounds were bare of leaves, imparting to the place a mournful aspect, as I recall. There was a thin
haze on the Lake but one could see the glistening peak of Mont Blanc in the distance. I mounted
the steps and saw that some students had gathered at the door. There were murmurs and I heard
the name "Roepke." They looked at me, their faces were ashen, some tear-stained, and I knew that
Wilhelm Roepke, doughty champion of liberty and human dignity, colleague, and beloved friend,
was dead.

His obsequies were attended by leading scholars and condolences came to Eva Röpke from heads
of state from half a dozen European nations. From the little church in Cologny, not far from his
beautiful home on the shores of Lake Geneva, where the funeral services were held, we, several
hundred of us, students, friends, and colleagues, followed his bier, banked high with flowers,
through the narrow village streets to the cemetery where he was laid to rest. Requiescat in pace.

It is important to note that when Wilhelm Roepke died on February 12, 1966, in his 67th year, at
his home in Geneva, in the floodtide of his powers, full of honors, and with a veritable mountain of
achievement behind him-his bibliography then comprised over 900 items, including some 20
books-this calamitous event was noted on the front pages of virtually every major newspaper in
Western Europe. Had there been a Nobel prize for economics during his lifetime-it was first
awarded in 1969-he surely would have been a strong contender for it. And for many days
thereafter Roepke’s life and works were the subject of extensive comment and analysis, not alone
in professional economic circles, but in the popular media.

5. Roepke and American Economists

In contrast, in the United States his passing went practically unnoticed, though The New York
did manage to squeeze in a reference to it in four lines in the back of the paper as follows:
"Prof. Wilhelm Roepke, a German economist and sociologist, died suddenly in Geneva yesterday,
following a heart attack, his family said. He was a former advisor to the German Government and
author of many books on economic subjects." Worse, in another report of the death, a
conservative columnist in a Midwestern newspaper, otherwise admiring of Roepke and his work,
referred to him as "this relatively obscure man"! And elsewhere there was silence as well. But this
was simply reflecting an unfortunate fact: though famous in Europe, and in Japan for that matter,
and with his name now being heard even in China, Roepke was and is still not known in United
States by any but a few specialists, including those attending this meeting, and the more’s the pity.

As late as 1996, this situation had not changed. During the Presidential campaign of that year,
audiences were startled to hear from one of the Republican candidates impassioned denunciations
of heartless employers and greedy corporations that exported American jobs overseas in search of
profit. Such rhetoric had more commonly emanated from ultra-liberal Democrats. The candidate in
this case was Pat Buchanan

Where did Pat Buchanan claim to get his economic ideas? When Time Magazine posed this
question to him, he answered: Wilhelm Roepke, whom Time then described as "an obscure
German economist who died in 1966." It is to Buchanan’s credit that he displayed a more accurate
awareness of Roepke’s real stature than the Time reporter. Doubtless too, Buchanan saw in
Roepke’s philosophy of "the third road" a worthy exemplar for the United States. More wrong
facts, in any case, appeared just this year in Buchanan’s book, The Great Betrayal, in which, and
apart from misspelling Roepke’s name, he again claims intellectual kinship with Roepke, though his
book is an aggressively protectionist tract at odds with everything Roepke believed and taught
concerning the international economy. Compounding the misinformation was a lengthy review of
Buchanan’s book in The New York Review of Books which misidentifies Roepke as an Austrian
economist! In any case, to Roepke Buchananite xenophobia and economic autarky would have
been simply anathema.

6. Roepke’s Conservatism

A principal reason, in my judgment, in accounting for the American ignorance of and/or disinterest
in Roepke, is that his "Weltanschauung"-his total conception of economy, society, and human
destiny-has found relatively little echo among those in this country who could be presumed to be his
closest ideological confreres, the conservative economists. Among these latter, a few of them giants
in their own right, will be found those who are straightforward, unapologetic supporters of a
laissez-faire economy. But, as noted, one of Roepke’s major contributions has been to show the
threat posed to the very survival of a free economy by a policy of laissez-faire. Also, there is room
for doubt whether Roepke’s frequent denunciations of industrial giantism, of the cult of the colossal
and of the super-colossal, in short, of monopolism in all its forms, has earned him many points
with another segment of the American public that might logically be expected to support his
ideas-the business community. Consider, for instance, this statement from Economics of the Free

"Our economic system stands or falls with competition, since only competition can tame the torrent
of private interest and transform them into a force for good… the conclusion can no longer be
avoided that the growth of monopoly represents an extremely serious disfigurement of our
economic system. To effectively fight monopoly … it is necessary to have a strong state (italics
added)-impartial and powerful-standing above the mêlée of economic interests, quite contrary to
the widely held opinion that "capitalism’ can thrive only where there is a weak government. The
state, unmoved by ideologies of whatever brand, must clearly recognize its task: to defend
‘capitalism’ against ‘the capitalists’".

7. The Role of Government

Again, those American conservative economists whose escutcheons bear the maxim "government is
the problem, not the solution," will not be enthused by Roepke’s approach to the role of
government in the market economy. In his view of the functions of government, Roepke had much
in common with his great predecessor, Adam Smith. When we read The Wealth of Nations with
care, we note, some of us, I presume, with great surprise, that Smith was not the unconditional
champion of a limitless laissez-faire policy as he is often portrayed. Even in 1776, it was evident
that if the maximizing of one’s own interests were pursued in an inappropriate or conflicting context
of the larger society, e.g., under the threat of war, or where competition is enfeebled or absent, or
where other necessary elements of the meta-economic structure are missing, the postulated
benevolent social outcomes of the market will be frustrated.

Like Roepke, Smith was an exceptionally harsh critic of individuals and groups whose interests
collided with the general welfare and argued in consequence for a strong state to ensure that the
two converged. In particular, he worried about the fragility of competition, noting in a famous line
that "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the
conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices." How
contemporary that sounds! Would Smith have approved such governmental interventions as the
antitrust laws? I believe he assuredly would have. Certainly Roepke did, approvingly citing the
American Sherman and Clayton Acts as examples for all market economies to follow. I venture to
say that Roepke, while he would have been admiring of the entrepreneurial spirit of Bill Gates,
would also have been solidly in the corner of the U.S. government in its current effort to rein in
Gates and his behemoth Microsoft Corporation. Parenthetically, Germany’s own antitrust law
enacted in 1958, a first of its kind, was modeled after the U.S. law and became known as the "little
Sherman Act."

Here is Röpke’s prescription for government, in his words:

A market economy and our economic program presuppose the following type of state: a state
which knows exactly where to draw the line between what does and what does not concern it,
which prevails in the sphere assigned to it with the whole force of its authority, but refrains from all
interference outside this sphere-an energetic umpire whose task it is neither to take part in the game
nor to prescribe their movements to the players, who is, rather completely impartial and
incorruptible and sees to it that the rules of the game and of sportsmanship are strictly observed.
That is the state without which a genuine and real market economy cannot exist. Benjamin Constant
envisaged it when he wrote the words ‘Le gouvernment en dehors de sa sphère ne doit avoir aucun
pouvoir; dans sa sphère, il ne saurait en avoir trop.’ [‘Outside of its proper sphere, the government
should have no power; within its sphere, it cannot have too much.’]"

8. Economic Models: the German and the American

The striking current success of the American economy-the unprecedented coexistence of high
employment, low inflation, and substantial real growth over an extended period which has
characterized it-would have been applauded by Roepke. He would, however, have pointed out
that in economics, as with the weather, the future remains uncertain and that the United States, no
more than any other nation, is not immune to what is happening in the international economy.
Similarly, Germany’s economic policy blunders and its repeated deviations in recent years from the
prescriptions of the social market economy would have earned his scorn, as indeed they did during
his lifetime. He would have been especially heartened by these critical components of the U.S.
performance: the unwavering anti-inflationary posture of the American central bank, the Federal
Reserve; the trimming back of the overblown American welfare state; and the elevation of fiscal
integrity, i.e., the holding of government spending within the limits of its revenues, as a top national

Certainly, too, the current budget surplus of the United States he would have found especially
worthy of congratulation, much as he had looked back with nostalgia to similar such surpluses in the
early years of the German social market economy. He would, I believe, also have cautioned against
reading too much into Germany’s current economic problems. After all, it remains the strongest
economic power in Europe by far; its currency, though soon to be eclipsed by the euro, is the
bellwether of all others in Europe; and while unemployment remains too high, per capita income is
at an historically high level and rising. Presumably these indicators would be even more favorable
but for the enormous additional burdens on the economy attendant on the reunification with East
Germany. One may add that precisely because Gerhard Schroeder, the new Chancellor, is to the
left of Helmut Kohl, he may be more successful than the latter could be in trimming back Germany’s
welfare state to a more sustainable level, much as Clinton managed to do following two Republican
Administrations with their legacy of budget deficits. In the German case, that is, of course, a hope
rather than a firm conviction.

9. Il faut cultiver notre jardin.

I close with a passage from one of Roepke’s last letters to his sister, Grete Willgerodt, dated April
1, 1965, that displays, among other things, his passion for gardening.

"My dear Grete, When I rest, I feel exceptionally well and recently I’ve been sleeping quite
soundly. Rest is what my two doctors have prescribed as the most important medicine: no physical
exertion and no psychic stress. Conclusion: no more trips, neither to Rome, nor, as we were hoping
to manage as a substitute, to southern Germany, or even to Zurich. The business of being confined
to Cologny is not at all cause for disappointment. We have discovered a new formula for
happiness: to plan a trip and then to stay home, where it’s so beautiful. At this very moment, there’s
all kinds of things to be taken care of in the garden. Hyacinth, tulips, narcissus, scilla, arabis,
crocuses of course, anemone-everything is already blooming; and ribes sanguinea and forsythia will
soon be sprouting buds. The lawn awaits its first mowing; in that massacre will be caught up,
regretfully, dandelion and similar inferior species! It’s time for the first seeding, and so on. I must
clean out the pond, drain it to the bottom, and in the process speak nicely to the fishes so that they
understand that I only mean them well. Watching them dart about in the clear water so merrily, I
have the feeling that they’ve understood that a guardian angel has watched over them. Are we not
really like these fishes?"

That is the end of the letter. In tandem with it, it is worth noting that Voltaire’s famous aphorism, "Il
faut cultiver notre jardin," was one of Roepke’s favorites. It appears often in his writings and
illumines his two deepest attachments: on the one hand to home and hearth, to all that is made to
the measure of man, and beyond that, to liberty. Thus his fierce determination to battle tyranny from
wherever and whomsoever it might come.

10. Honors

Wilhelm Roepke was the recipient of innumerable honors and decorations, among them the
Cremisini prize for literature in translation (Italy), the doctorate honoris causa from Columbia
University, the University of Geneva, and the Technical University of Munich, and the Grand Cross
of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany. The citation which accompanied the
presentation to him of the Pirkheimer Medal in 1962 expresses tersely but accurately the essential
orientation of his whole system of thought: "The measure of the economy is man. The measure of
man is his relation to God."

Major Works of Wilhelm Roepke in English or English Translation

German Commercial Policy, William Hodge & Co., London, 1934.

Crises and Cycles (tr. of Krise und Konjunktur),William Hodge & Co., London, 1936.

International Economic Disintegration, William Hodge & Co., London, 1942.

The German Question (tr. of Die deutsche Frage), William Hodge & Co., London, 1946;
American edition, The Solution of the German Problem, Putnam, New York, 1947.

Civitas Humana (tr. of Civitas Humana), William Hodge & Co., London, 1949; reissued as
Moral Foundations of Civil Society
, Library of Conservative Thought, Transaction Publishers,
Rutgers University, Brunswick, NJ, 1995.

The Social Crisis of Our Time (tr. of Die Gesellschaftskrisis der Gegenwart), University of
Chicago Press, Chicago, 1950; reissued, with an introduction by William F. Campbell, Library of
Conservative Thought, Transaction Publishers, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 1994.

Welfare, Freedom, and Inflation, William Hodge & Co., London, 1957; reissued, with a
foreword by Roger A. Freeman and an introduction by Graham Hutton, University of Alabama
Press, University, Alabama, 1964.

International Order and Economic Integration (tr. of Internationale Ordnung), Reidel,
Dordrecht, 1959.

A Humane Economy (tr. of Jenseits von Angebot und Nachfrage), Henry Regnery Co.,
Chicago, 1960; reissued, with an introduction by Dermot Quinn, Intercollegiate Studies Institute,
Wilmington, Delaware, 1998.

Economics of the Free Society (tr. by Patrick M. Boarman of Die Lehre von der Wirtschaft),
Henry Regnery Co., Chicago, 1963. Currently available from Libertarian Press, paper, 1994, and
from Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

Against the Tide (translations of selected essays by Roepke, most of which appeared in the
anthology in German entitled Gegen die Brandung), Henry Regnery Co., Chicago, 1969.
Currently available from Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 3901 Centerville Road, Wilmington, DE

Copyright © by Patrick M. Boarman 1998

Address inquiries to: Patrick M. Boarman

6421 Caminito Estrellado

San Diego, California 92120

Tel.: (619) 286-2453

Fax: l(6l9) 286-2431



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