More on Röpke: Foreseeing the Wal*Mart-welfare state

We can see similar contentions in Belloc, and I’m sure that, somewhere, Hayek provides an argument of such nature in The Road to Serfdorm (on my bookshelf, but, I, shamefully, admit, unread). Röpke is spot-on:

[T]he welfare state itself takes care of a sort of comfortable stall-feeding of the domesticated masses[.] Is this not bound to work to the benefit precisely of existing large firms?
– Röpke, A Humane Economy, “Welfare State and Chronic Inflation”, page one hundred and seventy

Benefit precisely of existing large firms”:

In 2004, a study released the UC Berkeley Labor Center found that “reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually; this is comprised* of $32 million in health related expenses and $54 million in other assistance.

Need I to adduce anything else to demonstrate the clear distinction between a free market and what we call capitalism, which Chesterton aptly called the presence of too few, rather than too many, capitalists? I think not.

*Is this really so hard to get right?


One Response

  1. Röpke foresaw a lot.

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