The virtues of the market: Wilhelm Röpke as a cultural economist
Comments on the book by Patricia Commun and Stefan Kolev (eds.)
Although the book contains little explicit engagement with contemporary issues, it is not hard to realize that this challenge too is still with us: local, regional and national identities and variations in economic structures have proven incredibly resistant to the homogenizing forces of markets, and often a powerful opponent of them. Current anti-globalist and anti-EU sentiments stem to a considerable extent from the fact that global markets are believed to endanger these identities and structures.
This book demonstrates that Röpke’s work is full of attempts to work out these tensions, without making a simple choice in favor of one of them. Both the local identities and markets are “cooperative practices” as Henrique Schneider’s contribution points out. How to best combine these partly rival cooperative practices is a question that breathes life into Röpke’s work, just like this volume breathes life back into his oeuvre. Not because the book manages to resolve the tensions, but because it takes them seriously.