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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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Conclusion: The Social Market Economy in Retrospect

Conclusion: The Social Market Economy in Retrospect

(p.390) Conclusion: The Social Market Economy in Retrospect
Freedom with Responsibility

A. J. Nicholls

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a conclusion regarding various aspects and theories of social market economy implemented in West Germany after the Great Depression. Income generated by the market was not necessarily distributed with social justice or with social conditions acceptable to civilized people. A state's budget redistributed income, and it was important to establish the proper principles of social justice upon which such taxation measures are based, always assuming they were in conformity with the market. The West German economy has been a tremendous advertisement for the blessings of market forces and competition. Even the most determined workers could not satisfy the needs of their fellow citizens effectively without a market-orientated economy. Even though protectionism and the price-fixing of German industrial practice were not abolished completely, they did lose respectability. Anti-cartel and anti-monopolistic policies were more weakly applied, but the propaganda campaign which accompanied them served to inculcate the idea of competition into the political culture of West Germany as something positive. The market worked in a semi-automatic fashion, and required ‘sensible management’ (sinnvolle Bedienung), since the organization of credit and money could not in practice be set up as a self-operating mechanism.

Keywords:   social market economy, market forces, protectionism, price-fixing, political culture, currency reform, market-orientated economy

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