Friday, December 28, 2012

Wilhelm Roepke: Avoiding Simple “Laissez-Faire” Methods

Another great quote from the late economist Wilhelm Roepke...
There is no doubt about the fact that our economic system needs a complete “overhaul,” if we wish to arrest the process of degeneration before it ends in an intolerable degree of unproductivity and — what is worse — corruption and injustice. To accomplish this, something more is required than a mere freeing of the system from “nonassimilable” interventions of the state. The job cannot be done by merely adopting a negative approach and abstaining from action, i.e., by a return to simple “laissez-faire” methods. Of much more significance in the shaping of a constructive policy are the abundant proofs that the structure of the market economy is not nearly as simple as its friends, as well as its enemies, have maintained. We now know that its functioning depends upon a whole series of economic, juridical, moral, psychological, and political conditions, none of which are simply “given,” and which, in any event, must be largely restructured to fit the changed needs of the present.
From Economics of the Free Society, page 251.

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