Fifteen years after the Global Financial Crisis: Recessions and Business Cycles in the History of Economic Thought

Quarrels between Liberals: The Muthesius Circle in the 1950s

Greitens Jan, DHBW

The economic policy of the early Federal Republic of Germany is considered to have been shaped by ordoliberalism. However, there were also other liberal groups. Members of these groups took up influential positions and exercised journalistic power. Between those groups were fraternal quarrels especially during the 1950th. The Muthesius Circle was an influential circle around the journalist and editor Volkmar Muthesius fighting for classical liberal ideas. The circle merged from several roots. One is an adherence to stable money as in the gold standard and a type of financial journalism, which was shaped by Alfred Lansburgh in his journal “Die Bank”. During the committee of enquire on banking of 1933/34 these representatives of banks and financial journalists moved together to fight against the plans to nationalize the banks. The central figure was the head of the Hauptgruppe Banken, Otto Christen Fischer, who was kept in high reputation even after the war. In the 1950s, Muthesius reunited his friends of mind together in Frankfurt. Their relationship to ordoliberalism was characterized by cooperation and conflict. The fratricidal infights of liberals broke out over the anti-trust law, while less heated disputes arose over monetary issues.

Area: Eshet Conference

Keywords: ordoliberalism; financial journalism; monetary policy

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