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Freedom with ResponsibilityThe Social Market Economy in Germany 1918-1963$
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A. J. Nicholls

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208525

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208525.001.0001

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The SPD and the Social Market Economy

The SPD and the Social Market Economy

(p.248) 12 The SPD and the Social Market Economy
Freedom with Responsibility

A. J. Nicholls

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the political structure as well as political developments, and economic policies of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The Social Democrats reconsidered the fundamental principles upon which their political movement was based, keeping in view the brutalities of the Third Reich and the similarities between dictatorships of a Fascist or a Communist complexion. Nazi repression also left its mark on the SPD, whether in exile or at home. Elementary objectives which Marxists had previously dismissed as self-evident or even secondary were given far greater importance because they affected only the ‘superstructure’ of society. Social Democrats gave central importance to ‘liberal’ objectives, namely, individual freedom from the fear of arrest, democratic rights to elect one's governors, and freedom of speech and assembly. Social Democratic economic policy was committed to implementing social market economy, considering the schemes of ownership, planning, controls, and fixed prices.

Keywords:   Social Democratic Party, Social Democrats, liberal objectives, economic policy, social market economy

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