Between October 1942 and January 1943 a group of academics at the University of Freiburg (Germany) produced a 120-page memorandum on a societal and economic order for post-war Germany. Although well-known and documented in Germany, this document is virtually unknown in the English-speaking sphere. At the occasion of the 75-year anniversary of its completion (2018) , my paper summarizes the history of its creation and key insights from it. Emphasis is given to the economic order the Freiburgers propose, since their paper became one of the cornerstones of the West-German postwar economic system.
In a fascinating wrinkle of history the post-war economic order in – at the time West – Germany was designed by Christians that were members of the Confessing Church. Professionally, however, they just happened to be world-class political economists who just happened to live in a country that had chosen to go to war with Europe and the rest of the world.
When the request from the German resistance movement arrived to draw up a plan for a German society after the end of World War II, a group of Lutheran Christians were ready to take on the task — risking their life for this treasonous activity. To this day, Europe’s successful economy traces its more amicable approach to social justice back to these Protestant (and Catholic) roots. Read all about it here.