… is from pages 93-94 of Wilhelm Röpke’s February 1935 Economica paper, “Fascist Economics“:
On the whole, however, the military argument contains nothing to disprove the fact, equally established by experience and reasoning, that the competitive “market economy” renders the maximum of satisfaction of all wants which present themselves on the market, including the wants of a military character represented on the market by the State as consumer. Even the governmental intervention which may seem inevitable here or there cannot be pursued too far without defeating its own purposes. It is impossible for a country to have, at the same time, the largest possible population and the qualitatively best, the largest possible industry and the greatest possible independence in food and raw materials, if this must be brought about by all kinds of governmental intervention. Too much doctoring of the economic structure of a country is the surest way to make it less fit even for military purposes…. To sum up, even if unrestricted armaments have to be accepted as something inevitable, Liberalism has no need to surrender.
DBx: Only in the short-run might there be a trade-off between the freedom of markets, including the freedom of international trade, and a country’s military might. In the long-run, the freer are markets – and the freer is international trade – the greater is the country’s material prosperity, as well as the spirit of enterprise, innovation, and commercial and industrial discipline that are necessary (if such is the goal) to produce the most effective weapons in the greatest possible abundance.
Pictured above is Wilhelm Röpke (1899-1966).