Ropke: Only At the Expense of Others

“It is true, of course, that people do not always realize that when they turn to the state for the fulfillment of their wishes their claims can be satisfied only at the expense of others. We have met the underlying sophism before. It rests on the habit of regarding the state as a kind of fourth dimension, without stopping to think that it still has to be filled by the taxpayers as a whole. A money claim on the state is always an indirect claim on somebody else, whose taxes contribute to the sum demanded; it is a mere transfer of purchasing power through the medium of the state and its compulsory powers. It is astonishing for how long this natural and simple fact can be obscured by the rnodern welfare state.”

– Wilhem Röpke, A Humane Economy (p. 165)

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