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Wilhelm Röpke is one of the most influential liberal thinkers of the 20th century and one of the main protagonists of the Social Market Economy in Germany. Nevertheless, his legacy is not undisputed: Without doubt, he was an uncompromising advocate of a free, open and humane society, but at the same time his late writings in particular are marked by a deep cultural pessimism and a struggle with modernity, aspects which have been critically discussed in the recent social science debate and commented on sceptically with regard to the neoliberal project as a whole. In their paper, NOUS members Stefan Kolev and Nils Goldschmidt analyze Röpke’s understanding of culture in light of his oeuvre and explain the reasons for his pessimistic view of the world and his provocative positions in the 1950s and 1960s.

The full paper is available here.