The Malthusian Physiognomy of Nazi Economics

ABSTRACT: The concrete episode discussed here is the Nazi economic recovery, which was achieved between 1933 and 1938. The recovery under Hitler featured an impressive overhauling of a capitalist machine that had been plagued by a prolonged crisis. And the means employed to effect the recovery appear to follow a Malthusian recipe. Specifically, Malthus’s recommendation to rehabilitate the function of “effective demand.”  Prompted by  necessity, the Nazis took remedial action very much in consonance with the canons of classical political economy.

Pairing Third Reich policy and Malthusianism may provide insight into the nature of our economic System. This would seem all the more compelling considering how capitalism’s principles have, all in all,  remained constant. So far, i.e., they  have not shown a marked departure from the way in which they were understood by the spirit of the 1930s, in Germany, as well as abroad. In sum, we argue that the political economy of the Third Reich is not an aberration. An aberration: as most are taught to think, regarding all things “Nazi.” But merely an interesting variant of the  self-patching ways with which our economic/financial System preserves itself.

 

 


In International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 31 n.11 (2005): 1014-1028


Full Essay