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Alfred Müller-Armack-Economic Policy Maker and Sociologist of Religion


  • Watrin Christian

    (University of Cologne)


Alfred Müller-Armack was one of the very important policy-makers who initiated the West-German economic recovery after WWII. He devised the underlying economic program of the so-called German Miracle, which was not a miracle at all. It was the outcome of a rigorous rule transformation from the bankrupt central planning of the Nazi- regime to a market economic order based on the principles of classical liberalism combined with a social safety net for all who suffered from the terrible consequences of war destruction. He called his program Social Market Economy, thereby expressing that the risky game of the market needs a social safety net to make his program acceptable for the majority of the German citizens.Müller-Armack was not only the Head of the Central Policy Unit at the Federal Economic Ministry under Ludwig Erhard for twelve years but also a well-known university teacher of economics. In the tradition of Max Weber he combined this subject with the theory of economic sociology, and especially, the sociology of religion. In this respect he was an early author in the field which nowadays is named cultural economics. His publications on the impact of religious beliefs of greek-orthodox societies on the economic performance of South-East European countries are still of great interest for the present debates about the economic consequences of Islam.Alfred Müller-Armack fut lun des très importants politiciens qui initièrent léconomie de l Allemagne de lOuest après la 2ème Guerre Mondiale. Il conçut dans ses grandes lignes le programme économique du soi disant « Miracle Allemand ». Ce fut le résultat dune règle rigoureuse de transformation à partir de la faillite de la planification centrale du régime Nazi vers un ordre marchand fondé sur les principes du libéralisme classique combiné à un filet de sécurité sociale pour tous ceux qui avaient souffert des conséquences terribles des destructions de la guerre. Il appela son programme « Economie sociale de marché », exprimant ainsi que le jeu risqué du marché nécessite un filet de sécurité sociale pour rendre son programme acceptable par la majorité des citoyens allemands. Müller-Armack nétait pas seulement le chef de lunité politique centrale au ministère fédéral de léconomie sous la direction de Ludwig Erhard pendant 12 ans, mais également un professeur très réputé déconomie à luniversité. Dans la tradition de Max Weber, il associe ses sujets avec la théorie économique de la sociologie et plus particulièrement, la sociologie de la religion. Dans cette mesure, il fut un pionnier dans le champ de ce que lon appelle aujourdhui « léconomie de la culture ». Ses publications sur limpact des croyances religieuses des sociétés grecques orthodoxes sur la performance économique des pays du Sud-Est Européen restent dun grand intérêt pour les débats actuels au sujet des conséquences économiques de lIslam.

Suggested Citation

  • Watrin Christian, 2003. "Alfred Müller-Armack-Economic Policy Maker and Sociologist of Religion," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 1-26, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:13:y:2003:i:2:n:9

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    Cited by:

    1. Zweynert, Joachim, 2013. "Social market economy in Germany as an attempt to overcome the totalitarian past," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, pages 74-90, August.

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