Between Fatalism and Hope: The Continental Liberal Search for Light and Stability in a Dark Age
31 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2016
Date Written: July 11, 2016
This paper analyzes the work of Wilhelm Röpke, Friedrich Hayek and Bertrand de Jouvenel in the years leading up to, during and following WWII. It argues that these three political-economic thinkers all went through a period of deep despair about the fate of Europe and its civilization. This despair was accompanied by a sense that the forces of history were stronger than humans. After that despair they regained (diminished) hopes about the economic and political future of Europe, and the power of man, including themselves, to shape that future. To do so they turned, unlike their peers, toward an analysis of the institutions and morality that sustained liberalism and away from the ideal of a value-free economic and political science. The paper thus demonstrates how three liberal political economists become involved in the formulation of a new liberalism for the post-war world.
Keywords: Friedrich A. Hayek; Wilhem Röpke; Bertrand De Jouvenel; World War II; Postwar Economics; Neo-Liberalism
JEL Classification: B20, B25, F50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation