Use of economic power leads to social chaos – Concept

When we think of the Holocaust, we think of the tragic murder of 6 million Jews, millions of other innocent individuals, and the stories of survivors. However, we often do not consider the role of economics. While the primary factors behind the Holocaust are well known, let’s examine the influence of broader social factors, including economic policies. This relationship is called ortholiberalism.

According to the online Financial Falconet, „The term is to create the right legal environment for the economy and maintain a healthy level of competition through measures that adhere to market principles.” The theory emphasizes the importance of a competitive market economy controlled by a strong state. It is a phenomenon where economics and politics coincide that we often forget or choose to ignore.

To explore this, let’s go back to 1929. Germany’s economy was in a bad state due to the global stock market crisis that led to a global recession. Why did this happen? It was the aftermath of the First World War. Germany faced heavy financial reparations and territorial losses. Unemployment rose to 50%, and expected foreign direct investment from the United States did not come due to the global economic crisis.

So, when the Nazi Party took over, they used the theory of artoliberalism to reshape the economy. They believed that strong government regulation and fair competition would remedy that and lead to economic stability. With the goal of making Germany self-sufficient, the Nazi Party implemented several policies to improve the economy. However, as their programs succeeded in boosting the economy, their concern for morality and human rights lagged far behind.

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Overall, the implementation of economic policies went hand in hand with anti-racism or anti-minority laws in the country. State control of industries, discriminatory legislation, and confiscation of property from those not considered „German” were initiated as means to aid the economy. However, it was these policies that eventually led to the „Final Solution”.

An army column of the Wagner private mercenary group drives along the M-4 highway, which connects the capital Moscow with Russia’s southern cities, near Voronezh, Russia June 24, 2023. (Credit: REUTERS/Stringer)

And economics as a tool for ideology

Economic power was used as a tool to further the ideology of hatred and destruction. It highlights the moral blind spots within orthodox liberalism under the Nazi regime. However, if we learn anything from the past, it’s that history can repeat itself.

It should warn of the impact that the unwarranted application of economic principles can endanger society beyond economics. The latter principles should not exist alone, but should be introduced together with policies designed to maintain human rights and the well-being of citizens at the forefront.

Today, with the global economy reeling from the impact of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine, it is important to not only understand history, but also how social upheaval can be fueled by economic upheaval. We have an obligation to focus on all the different aspects of society and help ensure a secure future.

The Holocaust taught us many things and I believe it is important to look back on the dark days of the past to learn all possible lessons – to build a truly bright future.

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The author is originally from Manchester, England, and is currently an Arkow Fellow at Reichmann University. There is also an Instagram page dedicated to Holocaust remembrance and education @mymissiontoremember.

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