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By Wilhelm Röpke

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Extra resources for Against the tide

Example text

On the contrary, all experience so far with any kind of economic planning measures overwhelmingly speaks against the latter's repetition and cumulation. On the other hand, our often so reckless anti-capitalists would do well to get thoroughly acquainted with the voluminous literature on economics, which demonstrates that in practice socialism must founder on the impossibility of economic calculation in a socialist community. Let them try their hand at a refutation which no one has yet managed. This is, of course, more troublesome and less rewarding than brandishing the hatchet, but it should not be too much to ask of men conscious of their responsibilities.

There is mounting evidence of a distinct feeling of inferiority on the part of the capitalist world, of despondency and flirtation with socialist ideas of economic planning; openly or implicitly, the outward progress of the Russian five-year plan is taken as the yardstick for measuring the imagined and the real shortcomings of capitalism. And so that we should not be without that vicious circle that seems to be our fate in all spheres today, the crisis of confidence itself saps the efficiency of capitalism and thus creates the very substance on which it feeds.

It is worth looking a little closer into the background of this intellectual mass flight from capitalism. The first point that comes to mind is that the economic and social changes of the last fifteen years have gotten the intellectuals into a situation that increasingly resembles that of the proletariat. We not only need to think in this context of the decimation of the old middle classes but also of the mass entry into the professions needing academic training, the prospects of which thereby become steadily poorer.

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