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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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Neo-liberalism and its Enemies: National Socialism and Social Democracy

Neo-liberalism and its Enemies: National Socialism and Social Democracy

(p.60) 3 Neo-liberalism and its Enemies: National Socialism and Social Democracy
Freedom with Responsibility

A. J. Nicholls

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the concept of neo-liberalism and its alternatives. Adolf Hilter's accession to power in January 1933 underlined the impotence of the economics profession in the face of the world economic crisis, since the liberal viewpoint was entirely bleak. Although Nazi economic policy was soon run by the apparently ‘respectable’ Hjalmar Schacht, it involved increased cartel regulation in the domestic market and stringent controls over foreign trade. Capitalism and the anarchy of the market were blamed for the depression. The Nazis damaged the German universities by dismissing or forcing staff to leave, and the professional bodies representing staff and the student organizations were also put under Nazi control. The phenomenon of the Third Reich strengthened neo-liberals' aversion to violence, national egoism, and power-worship, and also tended to weaken their fastidious attitude towards the masses and political democracy. Neo-liberal intellectuals continued to seek their ‘middle way’ between laissez-faire and collectivism, operating under adverse circumstances and sometimes in isolation from one another. The aftermath of the Great Depression revealed how unplanned and chaotic Germany's capitalist system was.

Keywords:   neo-liberalism, social democracy, national socialism, capitalism, Nazis, third Reich, Great Depression, laissez-faire, collectivism, political democracy, neo-liberals

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