Against the tide by Wilhelm Röpke

By Wilhelm Röpke

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Sample text

But capitalism cannot very well be blamed for the armaments race, the world war, the peace treaties, inflation, revolution, and political mass epidemics of all kinds, without exposing to utter ridicule the sociological approach underlying such an attempt. Were there no wars before capitalism ever existed, and did they not wreak destruction? And are Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland by any chance less capitalistic than Germany and England? And, surely, the first group of countries is the best demonstration of what peace signifies for the thriving of capitalism's welfare-creating forces.

The Russians may well succeed in building power plants and other things on a gigantic scale, but that really need not astonish us any more than the successful erection of the pyramid of Cheops. What is astonishing in both 3 Die Tat, July, 1931. THE INTELLECTUALS AND "CAPITALISM" 41 cases is merely the tremendous social pressure and the remarkable compressibility of consumption, which alone make such investment projects possible, as well as the political and social system that can withstand this pressure.

But if this is what must be expected, it follows that the transferor debtor country will not be spared some degree of downward pressure on prices, nor the creditor country and any third countries involved some degree of competitive pressure. And the meaning of all this is that the transfer will be associated with painful readjustments and with disturbances of the economic equilibrium. This, I repeat, is the 6 The limiting case referred to in the text is one where the elasticity of demand for the goods in question is unity or less than unity.

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