A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market



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Economists use Gross Domestic Product as a marker of the growth and success of a country but fail to consider that the people who constitute an economy are more than just machines built for labor. What is the meaning of success? What does a successful economy look like? How does one determine if an economy is progressing or regressing? Guided by the perspectives of German economist Wilhelm Ropke, this thesis describes the possible structure and mechanisms of a flourishing economy. In the early 20th century, Ropke published books arguing for alternatives to both nazism and communism and dissected topics of morality and cultural decline. In his humanitarian approach to describing an ideal economy, he advocates for the spiritual elements of Christianity and rejects the outcomes of societies built on the foundations of socialism, collectivism, totalitarianism, and mass society. This thesis focuses on his works and the ideologies he preaches in A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market. With the intention of applying a contemporary context to Ropke’s work, I gained insight into his motivations and ideas just prior to A Humane Economy and investigated the public response to determine if his beliefs could be implemented in today’s society. This thesis attempts to decipher the layers of complexity in his idealized economic market and further extrapolate which elements, if any, can be considered in a current application of his ideas.



Economics, Religion, Society, Humanity