Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

The Economist decides the Nazis weren’t so bad


Writing in the Economist, “Charlemagne” actually suggests that German Chancellor Angela Merkel should be more like one of her predecessors, Adolf Hitler.

It was not hyperinflation in the 1920s but depression and mass unemployment in the 1930s that propelled Hitler to power. Like the hapless Weimar chancellor, Heinrich Brüning, Mrs Merkel is accused by critics of hastening disaster by pushing austerity during a deep recession. But whereas the 1930s is seared in American memory, it is less clearly remembered in Germany. The reason, says Professor Carl-Ludwig Holtfrerich of the Free University of Berlin, is that Germany returned to full employment more quickly, thanks partly to Hitler’s own form of Keynesian stimulus: notably autobahn-building and rearmament.

First, let’s get the obvious question out of the way. On God’s green Earth, what editor thought it would be in good taste for a supposedly responsible magazine to suggest a German chancellor should be more like Adolf Hitler? You can almost hear the editorial discussion.

Really, Hitler wasn’t such a bad guy in the 1930s if you ignore the invasions of Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

>>What about the Jews? And all the other minorities he had imprisoned and killed? The murder of his political opponents. The repudiation of the Versailles Treaty. The Spanish Civil War. The treaties with the Soviet Union, Japan and Italy.

Well, okay, those were bad. But at heart he was a Keynesian. I’m sure nobody will be offended by this.

Just what the hell were they thinking? Has the Anti-Defamation League read this yet? It didn’t occur to anyone there that it might just be in extremely poor taste to suggest a German Chancellor emulate one of the worst mass murderers in history – from Germany’s own history?

According to the editors of the Economist, apparently death camps make great public works projects. Invading Poland was the high speed rail project of the time.

The good news is that if the editors of the Economist take a serious look at the economic policies of the Nazis, then they might actually see the effects of the socialist side of the National Socialist project. Things like the complete squeezing out of private investment in the economy because of high taxation so that large companies were basically shells run by the state for war production.

Unfortunately the Economist might like such an economic result even if it was unsustainable. Good thing the Germans were able to confiscate resources and slave labor from the conquered territories. You know, the good old days, according to the Economist.

I can’t wait for the follow-up articles praising Stalin for his agriculture policies and Pol Pot for his urban planning.

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