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A Non-Autistic Approach to Socio-Economic Problems: Kathedersozialismusand the Kathedersozialismusand the Kathedersozialismus German Historical School


  • Wolfgang Drechsler


The by now highly alternative, barely even heterodox economics that dominated Germany, and in fact Continental Europe and much of the world, between the late middle of the 19th Century and the early 20th and that is at the basis both of the Social Market Economy and of much of the modern Welfare State, is particularly interesting once we realize that this is a particularly non-autistic approach to economic problems. Here, the clear recognition of fundamental and pressing social issues . what was called the ´Social Question¡ . gave rise to the realization, by economists and many other intellectuals, that both the analysis of the problem and the suggestion for remedies depend on method, and that method is never neutral. Method shapes how we see reality; it determines the policy outcome . or at least it is employed and promoted by those who want certain outcomes. And some methods, then as now (they are actually by and large the same), preserve the status quoby calling any investigation of what exists, what is wrong, and what should change, unscientific, futile, and impossible. By doing so, one need not openly oppose reform and development . it is enough if one creates a system within which dealing with the real problems is delegitimized. The late 19th century political attitude towards the Social Question, ´Kathedersozialismus¡, by and large led the economists involved to focus on realism (rather than abstraction), on relevance over precision, which by then had become a choice to be made.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfgang Drechsler, 2013. "A Non-Autistic Approach to Socio-Economic Problems: Kathedersozialismusand the Kathedersozialismusand the Kathedersozialismus German Historical School," The Other Canon Foundation and Tallinn University of Technology Working Papers in Technology Governance and Economic Dynamics 51, TUT Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance.
  • Handle: RePEc:tth:wpaper:51

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