Purely Political – or Just Economics?

I strongly feel that people do strive for morality; that is the way how we want the world to be, such as world peace equality for all but essentially economics is reality, how the world really is. This argument can also be translated into the trade-off between liberty and equality ; you can not achieve absolute liberty or absolute equality as excessive freedom given to people will reduce equality; people would be free to impose their opinions and views without facing consequences, such as racism, sexism and prejudice; however absolute equality where everyone is treated as equals will have too much control over society resorting to political systems such as communism where the expansion of ideas are restricted due to no political liberalism. I also think it is significant to note that Adam Smith, the father of economics, was initially a philosopher and in striving to become a moralist, he became an economist.

I find Nazi Germany a fascinating period of history to study as it shows a country going into the extremes of civilisation, and I feel that the truly horrifying aspect was not how powerful Hitler or his Party was, but how powerful the ordinary German people were when they became a collective mass, and their desire to blame ‘inferior’ races, the belief in dominance of the Aryan race and the aspiration for war and vengeance. I personally believe that the enthusiastic reaction from the public is not because of a successful propaganda machine, as propaganda is only ever effective if there is a receptive audience, therefore Hitler only ignited an idea which was already lying amongst the disposition of the people. I found this era interesting to study as in terms of all elements of the Third Reich, be it political or social it was definitely at its most mighty, albeit volatile. I was greatly interested by the economics of the Third Reich as although politics and society went into severe extremities, the Nazi Party still suffered from the consequences of economics. Their politics and ideology can be as radical or unprecedented and yet still be successful; however no matter what strategy Hitler attempted they were not immune to the laws of economics. For example, they were able to exploit the people at their most vulnerable climate and even give birth to quasi-religious ideology, and no matter how powerful or superior the Nazis try to convey to be, they cannot escape common economic problems such as inflation and unemployment which all other countries suffer from, ranging from democracies to communisms. Whilst the upper political scene was ever-changing and turning more and more extreme, the roots of the economy still functioned ordinarily and Germany had to deal with these issues therefore it was interesting to see that whilst politically and socially Nazi Germany differed significantly from other countries at that time; the economic strategies which Hitler deployed were not entirely dissimilar from methods Franklin Roosevelt was trying to incorporate into his country in order to reduce unemployment. However one cannot claim absolutely those Nazi economic policies stemmed from Keynesian economics that was spreading in America at that time; however one can easily depict crucial similarities between the two distinct economies.

Contributed by Kaman Liang (Tiffin Girl’s School)

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