Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 79: Adolph Lowe (1893–1995)
Adolph Lowe was born Adolf Löwe on 4 March 1893 to a liberal Jewish family in Stuttgart and died in Wolfenbüttel, Germany on 3 June 1995. Lowe was one of the outstanding political economists of the twentieth century. Unlike most modern economists, he did not separate economics from the other social sciences, so that Kenneth Boulding (1965: 139) characterized Lowe, who during his whole life was striving for a humanist middle way between liberalism and socialism, as an “economic philosopher”. The concern with a viable order, both stable and free, permeates Lowe’s entire economic, sociological and philosophical work: from the early analysis in Arbeitslosigkeit und Kriminalität (Unemployment and Criminality) (1914) via his London School of Economics (LSE) lectures Economics and Sociology (1935) making a strong plea for cooperation in the social sciences, his analysis of “spontaneous conformity” in liberal Britain as central for balancing freedom and order successfully for a large-scale society in his essay The Price of Liberty (1937), and his elaborations of “Political Economics” as the science of controlled economic systems in On Economic Knowledge (1965), up to his last work Has Freedom a Future? (1988), in which Lowe has become more sceptical due to many destabilizing factors at work, such as technological unemployment, enormous inequalities of income and wealth, and ecological crises. Here Lowe stresses the danger that the failures of a free market system could be aggravated by failures of the political system, a danger which has become real in the current financial...
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