Ludwig Erhard

Ludwig Erhard in Europe

Life and Work of Ludwig Erhard (1897-1977)

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes ludwig erhard (1897-1977) in the following terms: [1] The acknowledged father of West Germany’s post-war economic miracle, Ludwig Erhard was Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s economics minister from 1949 to 1963 and later his successor as chancellor. A convinced free-marketeer, he dismantled Hitler’s state-directed system and devoted himself to export-led revival, based on free enterprise but with a concern also for social welfare. The ‘social market economy’ is associated with Erhard’s name, although he came to regret the phrase’s connotation of featherbedding, labour rigidity and high employment costs.

He had grave doubts about federalism, accepting the ECSC and the Treaty of Rome only after much agonising. He was also suspicious of the idea of a customs union, fearing it would encourage protectionism. During his tenure of office, West Germany’s exports grew eightfold and the economy outpaced every other European country. Low inflation, high savings and a persistent balance of trade surplus were the hallmarks of this period, which launched Germany on its path to becoming Europe’s leading industrial power.


Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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