Wilhelm Röpke

"Jenseits von Angebot und Nachfrage" ("Beyond Supply and Demand")

Röpke was born in Schwarmstedt, Luneburg Heath, on October 10, 1899. He studied government studies and jurisprudence (Staats- und Rechtswissenschaften) at the universities of Göttingen, Tübingen and Marburg. After receiving his Ph.D. in Economics, he took just one year to qualify as a professor (Habilitation). Thus, Röpke was the youngest German professor to be offered a chair at a university, the University of Jena, in 1924. After a short research period in the USA and at the University of Graz, Austria, he was offered a chair at the University of Marburg where he stayed until 1933.

Early in his career, Röpke warned of the dangers of right-wing totalitarianism. As a consequence, he decided to go into exile to Istanbul in 1933, where he wrote his textbook "Die Lehre von der Wirtschaft". In 1937, he moved to the “Institut Universitaire de Hautes Études Internationales” (HEI) in Geneva. Röpke published numerous scientific works, such as his trilogy "Gesellschaftskrisis der Gegenwart" (1942), "Civitas Humana" (1944) and "Internationale Ordnung" (1945) and a great number of articles in journals and newspapers, especially in the Swiss newspaper "Neue Zurcher Zeitung".

After World War II, he decided not to return to Germany. Based in Switzerland, he engaged in German politics as an economic consultant to the Federal Minister of Economics and later Federal Chancellor, Ludwig Erhard. Thus he had a great impact on the design and implementation of the Social Market Economy in Germany. 

Röpke died in Geneva on February 12, 1966.

NOUS & Jenaer Allianz

Das Wilhelm-Röpke-Institut ist Mitglied im NOUS-Netzwerk für Ordnungsökonomik und Sozialphilosophie sowie in der Jenaer Allianz zur Erneuerung der Sozialen Marktwirtschaft