Free economy

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Title page of the standard work of the free economy movement: Natural economic order through free land and free money (1919³)
Silvio Gesell (1862–1930), founder of free economics

The free economy is an economic model that was essentially developed between 1891 and 1916 by Silvio Gesell , a German-Argentine businessman, farmer and self-taught economist. The reason for his three first writings, which were still exclusively concerned with monetary reform, was an Argentine economic crisis around 1890. At the beginning of the 20th century, Gesell called for a land reform in addition to a currency reform. The title of his main work, published in 1916, therefore reads: The natural economic order through open land and free money.

In free economy, open land is understood to mean the land that has been peacefully converted into public ownership. However, the use of the open land remains in private or cooperative management against payment of a lease. The former owners should initially be adequately compensated from the lease. Once that has happened, the rent - as it were, as skimmed rent - goes to the general public. The implementation of the idea of ​​free land is a prerequisite for the successful implementation of the idea of ​​free money.

With free money designating Natural Economic Order a payment medium , which (as the product) is subject to a fall in value and thus is under circulation coercion. However, the owner of free money can avoid devaluation if he avoids hoarding the means of payment, i.e. either exchanging it for goods, lending it or placing it on a bank account (long-term). The free money , which in Gesell's opinion leads to falling interest rates, possibly even negative interest rates and ultimately to a zero interest rate, is also called rusting banknotes , flowing money or Schwundgeld . Free-market money experiments, which modern complementary currencies also refer to, took place in Germany, Austria and the United States in the late 1920s and early 1930s. There were also a number of attempts to implement Gesell's open-air ideas. The main sponsors of these experiments were various community-based settlement projects.

The history of ideas of the natural economic order exists to the physiocracy of François Quesnay (1694–1774), to the so-called “ self-interest ethics ” of Max Stirner (1806–1856), to the solidarity anarchism of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865) and to the land reformers of the 19th and 20th centuries Century. Michael Flürscheim deserves special mention among the latter .

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the natural economic order has received new attention. Reasons for this include the emergence of regional currencies , the global economic crisis from 2007 onwards , the euro crisis from 2010 as well as the zero interest rate policy of the European Central Bank .

To the subject

The term free economy goes back to Silvio Gesell. He referred to a kind of preliminary stage of his natural economic order . The actual goal was the establishment of a physiocracy (= rule of nature ). With this, Gesell and his early followers Georg Blumenthal and Hans Timm referred to François Quesnay , but at the beginning of the 20th century they combined his ideas with anarchist and free-economic ideas. In the first phase of the free economy movement, Gesell's followers referred to themselves as physiocrats (also Fysiocrats , Fisiocrats ). Martin Hoffmann, a young theologian and also an early follower of Gesell, distinguished two currents within the Gesell movement in the mid-1920s with the terms mentioned: the bourgeois free economy on the one hand and the proletarian physiocrats on the other. Since the 1930s, representatives of society's ideas have referred to themselves as free economists , free landlords and / or Gesellians . The terms human economy and fair economy have recently appeared.


The pillars of an ideal free economic system are free money and free land. They are mutually dependent, so they cannot be introduced independently of one another. The free-economy money and settlement experiments described below show the economic model developed by Gesell only in the beginning. The situation is similar with the regional currencies.

Free money

Sample of a Physiocratic 100 Mark note from 1919

The means of payment of the free money differ from those of the common currencies in that they (not the free money itself!) Are subject to a permanent decline in value. Various proposals have been made throughout history to document and compensate for this decline. The so-called Physiocratic Money offered a "cancellation box" (see picture!). One box had to be cut off on the last day of each month. In this way, the value of the banknote fell by 10 percent within a year. A similar proposal was that of stamp money. Probably the best-known (but not necessarily the simplest) procedure can be made clear using the example of the free-economic WÄRA money: Every Wära note was subject to a regular loss of one percent of its face value per month. This loss could be compensated for by purchasing tokens at 0.5, 1, 2, 5 and 10 currency cents. On the back of the Wära notes there were therefore printed fields in which the tokens were to be stuck on on the monthly due date. They should provide an incentive not to hoard the money. Further ideas to make the free money practicable are connected with the terms table money , dynamic double currency ( Theophil Christen ), shock method , money circulation tax and serial money .

Due to the decline in value, the means of payment loses its “unnatural” special position compared to the goods in Gesell's opinion; it is now as "perishable" as they are. The owner of "natural" money can now no longer demand interest for its surrender and thus exploit the scarcity of capital. Such money would correspond to the essence of nature, since like real goods it devalues ​​itself and is therefore perishable.

Goals and demands

Historical FFF logo of the free economy movement
Physiocratic money with cancellation fields

The main goal of the free economy is a stable, socially just market economy. In a freely organized economic system, production and consumption should be mediated through the market (market economy). Private or public companies bear the business risk and generate a profit-related return with the capital employed . The financial assets are subject to a negative interest rate , which means that they are " circulation-protected ". This is intended to increase the speed of circulation of the free money, which would provide sufficient funds for investments. The free money would even allow the general market interest rate to drop to 0% (or even below). At the same time, by means of the free-land reform, incomes without compensation that arise through land ownership and cannot be systemically eliminated are to be transferred to the general public and socialized.

The reform demands of the free economy movement that grew up especially in the German-speaking countries in the 1920s are often summarized with "FFF": free money, free land, fixed currency.

Free money (monetary reform)

The main requirements of this monetary policy are:

Silvio Gesell called for the abolition of the gold backing that had been widespread worldwide until then, because only a limited amount of gold was available for the monetary cycle, while an economy could grow almost indefinitely. A lack of gold could cause deflationary conditions, and a surplus of gold could lead to destabilizing inflation .

In free economic theory, the fundamental problem of money is that of the lack of storage costs. Everything in nature is subject to the rhythmic alternation of becoming and passing away, only money seems removed from the transience of everything earthly.

There are two approaches to make this clear: The Gesell approach is based on the analysis of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon , which states that the money owner would have a decisive advantage over the owner or supplier of goods, products, services and labor: Through The storage of goods, products and services would incur running costs, but not with money. This would give the owner of money ( demand ) a systemic advantage over supply , which would result in money being sold more expensively than goods. Gesell defined this additional value as the “ original interest ”, which he estimated at 4–5 percent annually.

In his opinion, investments would not be made if the general market interest rate were below three percent. Instead, it would be held as cash and used for speculative purposes, according to Gesell . From the perspective of the investors, there would be an investment crisis, from the perspective of the entrepreneurs the impression of capital shortage would arise. Experience has shown that deflation and speculative bubbles are the consequences of such situations.

As an antidote to this, Gesell offers circulation protection, which is intended to ensure that the money with negative interest continues to be invested. The circulation protection should therefore act like a tax on liquidity in order to control the speed of circulation . As a result - according to free-economic assumption - full employment should occur, comparable to a permanent boom, whereby wages would rise while at the same time real prices would fall.

Such “free money” does not fulfill the function of storing value of money. Sometimes the term Schwundgeld , coined by Otto Heyn , is mentioned, which is occasionally used disparagingly by critics.


Another point of criticism of the free economy of the existing distribution of production goods and resources is private ownership of the land . It generally provides its owners with a land rent , which they receive as non- performing income , both when they use the land themselves and when leasing and renting them out . According to the free economy view, the rent of land should not come into private disposal, but should come to the general public, because land is a product of nature and not a man-made good, and the value, and thus the rent, is only created by the general public.

Through a land reform , the free economy wants to combine public property on the land with its private use. To this end, it demands that all land be transferred to public ownership, for example owned by the municipalities, in return for full compensation from its previous owners. The previous owners retain the right to use their properties against payment of a regularly recurring license fee to the public sector . Land that was previously publicly owned and not expressly used for public purposes should be given to the highest bidder for use.

In contrast to the ground, facilities located on it or to be constructed in the future, such as buildings or commercial facilities, may and should continue to be private property and can be used privately because they have arisen from human labor. The rights to rent or lease such facilities are guaranteed according to the free economy, but not the private leasing of land use.

Anyone who needs and wants to use land - both private individuals and legal entities, both previous owners and new users - should regularly pay the responsible land management authority a usage fee for the use of the land, the amount of which roughly corresponds to the land rent. The amount of the fee should be measured according to the desirability of the property in question and can, for example, be determined as the highest bid in an auction of rights of use. This would mean that the level of the user tax would be determined by supply and demand in accordance with market economy principles .

This land reform requires the creation of a legal separation between land and the facilities on it, whereas the existing law does not differentiate between land and buildings, but rather describes both together as land and legally treats them as a whole. With the new order, trading and speculation in land would no longer be possible, but the purchase and sale of private facilities would still be possible. When selling a building, the buyer would also have to take over the land use contract with the relevant authority from the seller.

With the land use tax, the land rent will flow to the general public. Gesell himself planned to distribute the money gained through the socialization of the land rent as a mother's pension , a kind of high child benefit, to the mothers in order to make them economically independent from men.

A land reform based on the free-market model would be necessary to prevent big money owners, whose income from interest would be curtailed after the introduction of free money, from resorting to buying up land. As a result, the price of land would climb immeasurably and with it the land rent in private hands, much to the detriment of everyone else, because everyone is dependent on land to live and work.

Gesell is referring to Henry George's land reform theory . This provides for a property tax for land in an amount that appropriately neutralizes the land rent. However, Gesell considers Freiland to be the systemically superior solution.

Free trade

Another aspect that belongs to the free economy is free trade . This means the abolition of national economic borders. Since free trade is demanded and advocated by practically all economists, free trade is the only free economic aspect that seems to have gained global acceptance. Organizations such as the WTO are exerting great international pressure on states to reduce tariff and import barriers and to abolish export subsidies, in the conviction, consistent with the original free economy movement, that intensive trade relations and interdependencies ensure long-term peace between the countries of the world.


Title page of the company publication Reformation in the coinage [...] (1891)
Gesell's letter to the soil reformer Michael Flürscheim

The beginnings of free economics are in the last decade of the 19th century. In 1891 Silvio Gesell published a brochure in Buenos Aires / Argentina with the title The Reformation in Coin Management as a Bridge to the Social State . This font "was the nucleus of an independent social movement that was later called the free economy movement." It reflects the experiences that Gesell had as a businessman in crisis-ridden Argentina. His reflection on the causes of economic crises led him to contradict Marxism . Human exploitation - according to Gesell - has its origins not in the private ownership of the means of production, but in a faulty currency system. In his second work Nervus rerum , also published in 1891, he elaborated on this idea.

In addition to a radical currency reform from 1904, Gesell also called for an equally far-reaching land reform . He was inspired to do this by a whole series of "learned and unlearned theorists [...] who had paid their attention to the land question as the focal point of all social coexistence". Mention should be made here of Theodor Stamm (1822-1892), a member of the Social Democratic Workers' Party , who was one of the first in his book Redemption of the Desperate Humanity , published in 1871, to call for private property to be eliminated through a "just expropriation process " and in 1874 (unsuccessful) applied to be included in the program of the Labor Party.

In 1890 the Austrian Theodor Hertzka (1845–1924) attracted a great deal of attention with his novel Freiland . It not only uses the term for the first time, but also outlines the concepts for free trade and free money as fundamental principles of its economic model. The ideas of the book found many followers in Germany and Austria and led to settlement projects, associations and political currents in various countries. Other contemporary representatives of land reform ideas, by which Gesell was inspired, were the American Henry George (1839-1897), the Baden Michael Flürscheim (1844-1912) and the Prussian Adolf Damaschke (1865-1935). While George and Damaschke left it with private land ownership and only wanted to tax the increase in value in favor of society, Silvio Gesell followed Flürscheim's demand to transfer the property to the state, but to compensate the former private owners. A brother-in-law of Michael Flürscheim, the Emden family doctor Max Sternberg , also came from the land reform movement and turned to free economy after 1922. He was responsible for the spread of society's teachings in north-west Germany.

Early followers

In 1909, the trained carpenter Georg Blumenthal joined the then small circle of Gesellians. He came from the trade union movement and had met anarchists and independent socialists during his years of traveling . The workers' school, which he attended later, made him acquainted with Benedikt Friedländer and through him with Adolf Damaschke and the Bund deutscher Bodenreformer . There he heard about Gesell, who was living in Argentina again at this time, read his writings and gave a lecture on his newly gained knowledge in anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist circles. Only a short time later he founded the Association for Physiocratic Politics in Berlin , which joined the society from South America. In 1910 the Physiokratischer Verlag was founded and two years later that of the magazine Der Physiokrat , the first edition of which appeared in May 1912. In 1913, Blumenthal expanded the Physiocratic Association he had founded .

Another important multiplier for the spread of society's teaching was the former Roman Catholic country pastor and Damaschke supporter Paulus Klüpfel (1876-1918). In 1914 he first met Blumenthal and then Gesell, for whom he soon worked as a private secretary. Just one year later, Klüpfel founded the Freiland -freield-Bund , based in Berlin-Steglitz . Unlike Gesell and Blumenthal, although he had separated from the church, he was strongly influenced by Christian ethics. “In a certain sense,” says Günter Bartsch , “Klüpfel was the free-economic Francis of Assisi ”. He dealt critically with the Physiocratic Association , founded the Freiland-Freiland-Bund (FFB) in mid-1915 and caused, among other things, that some Gesellians left Blumenthal's Association and became FFB members. In connection with society's teachings, Klüpfel exchanged letters with Walther Rathenau, among other things . He could no longer keep an agreed meeting with Rathenau; he died on July 29, 1918 after a long period of fasting “to end the war”.

The natural economic order appears

Silvio Gesell self-published his program publication The natural economic order through free land and free money (NWO), "the standard work of free economics". During the First World War he stayed in Les Hauts-Geneveys ( French-speaking Switzerland ), where he ran an agricultural business. The foreword to the second edition, which appeared a short time later, was written by the already mentioned Paulus Klüpfel. Six editions of the NWO appeared during Gesell's lifetime. In 1930, the Stirn-Verlag Leipzig published a seventh edition, an eighth was published during the time of National Socialism in the Swiss cooperative publishing house of free-trade publications and finally in August 1949 a ninth post-war edition, edited by Karl Walker , was published by the Rudolf Zitzmann Verlag in Nuremberg .

New multipliers

In 1949, a popular initiative “to ensure purchasing power and full employment (free money initiative )” took place in Switzerland. However, this initiative was rejected by the referendum of April 15, 1951 with 87.6% no votes, and received fewer yes votes than signatures were collected to submit the popular initiative. The counter design of the Assembly, with 69.0% and in 22 (19 6/2) was adopted in the popular vote on the other hand stands . However, the topic of the vote was not the introduction of a circulation protection itself, but the partial abandonment of the gold cover in order to ensure currency stability. With the collapse of the Bretton Woods system , this gold cover was later removed.

Free-economically oriented practical tests

Settlement and cooperative projects

At the suggestion of Theodor Hertzka's book Freiland , numerous consumer, productive and building cooperatives as well as various settlement projects go back, including the Eden project , which later became Gesell's place of residence.

Currency projects

WÄRA advertisement 1931

The so-called WÄRA experiment was one of the first attempts to put the free-money theory to the test in practice. It was carried out in many places in Germany at the end of the 1920s. This attempt was initiated by Gesell supporters Hans Timm and Helmut Rödiger in 1926.

The mining engineer Max Hebecker carried out the Schwanenkirchen outdoor experiment in collaboration with Hans Timm and Helmut Rödiger after 1929 . In the period that followed, the region around Schwanenkirchen experienced an economic upswing that attracted much public attention.

The so-called miracle of Wörgl became famous beyond the borders of Europe . The mayor of Wörgl, Michael Unterguggenberger, worked out an emergency aid program in connection with the global economic crisis in 1929, which was based on the societal free economics theory and led to circulating free money being issued as a complementary currency for the Wörgl region.

In the United States , too, a free-economic money experiment was carried out in many places in the early 1930s. Under the name stamp scrip , the experiment gained so much in popularity that the economist Irving Fisher also published a scientific investigation.

The so-called regional money, which is now in circulation as a complementary currency in many places under different names, is a continuation of these historical free-leverage experiments.

Free economy organizations

During the Weimar Republic , between 1924 and 1932, several free-economic lists stood for election in the Reichstag elections. The most successful group was the Free Trade Association (FFF) , which in 1924 achieved almost 40,000 votes or 0.1%, which meant that it did not enter parliament.

On May 1, 1933, on the basis of an initiative by Wilhelm Radecke, the Rolandbund , a "national federation to secure the market sovereignty of the Reich" was founded. The new political system - so Radecke in the collective call of Roland federal - should not overthrown, but are supported, even more so, "the Roland wanted to accomplish." The Rolandbund had at least 1500 members. It was dissolved - probably at the instigation of Hjalmar Schacht - after the so-called Röhm Putsch on June 30, 1934.

Very soon after the Second World War , free-economic parties were formed in the western occupation zones, of which the Radical-Social Freedom Party of the British occupation zone was the most successful: In the mayor elections in Hamburg in 1949, it won a parliamentary seat with 2.0% of the vote Willi Eberlein was taken. The RSF, the Social Freedom Party of the American and the Free Social Party of the French occupation zone , ran for the 1949 federal election together in six of the then eleven federal states, but without obtaining mandates. In 1950 the three parties mentioned merged to form the Free Social Union (FSU) . After 1968 the additional designation Democratic Center was decided for the party name . From 2001 it called itself Human Economy Party . Due to the small number of members, it does not currently play an essential role in German politics. According to the Federal Electoral Committee, the requirements for recognition of party status are now lacking. In September 2010 the party was registered in the association register.

Membership book of the Free Social Union (from 1950)

Other organizations that deal with and work for the free economy are:

  • Initiative for Natural Economic Order (INWO) Germany e. V., also INWO Switzerland and INWO Austria, with the magazine Fairconomy
  • DF German Free Trade Association
  • Friends of the Natural Economic Order e. V. with the magazine Humane Wirtschaft
  • Alliance Future; this party emerged in 2001 as a free economic split from Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen
  • Action Third Way / Liberalsoziale within the party Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen , represents free economic ideas and publishes them in the magazine Alternatives (see Georg Otto )
  • Freiwirtschaftlicher Jugendverband e. V.

The following private educational institutions try to spread free-economic ideas through courses, conferences and the publication of magazines:

Among other things, also represent free economic positions:

  • Christians for a just economic order e. V. (CGW) (various streams of ideas: Judeo-Christian social doctrine, free-economic and anthroposophical knowledge, insights into modern monetary theory and environmental economics)
  • Club Equilibrism (holistic approach to sustainable solution to the existential global problems in the social, political and environmental area)

Collections of free trade literature are among others

Role of the free economy in economics

Immediately after Gesell

John Maynard Keynes came in his 1936 published major work The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money ( General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money ) to the following assessment of Gesellschen teaching: "I believe that the future more from the spirit of Gesell than from that will learn from Marx . ”The American economist Irving Fisher , inspired by a model experiment in Wörgl , advocated the introduction of“ free money ”in the form of“ stamp scrips ”in the USA .

Until the beginning of the 21st century

The later Nobel Prize winner Maurice Allais outlined in his main work “Économie et Intérêt” (“Economy and Interest”), published in 1947, a “socialisme concurrentiel”, or “planisme concurrentiel”, the central elements of which are the nationalization of land ownership and the “continuous devaluation of the surrounding land Money ”contains. Allais saw both as conditions for maximum economic efficiency. He referred to the proximity of his concept to that of Gesell. Like the latter, he advocated a “systematic organization of competition” that would remove all privileges and monopolies.

The free economy was seldom discussed in the current economics textbooks and magazines. However, Dieter Suhr , Professor of Public Law at the University of Augsburg from 1975 to 1990 , made fundamental constitutional criticism of the current monetary system in his books and gave essential, both theoretical and practical impulses for the further development of the free economy.

Bernd Senf , Professor of Economics at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences , presented in his book The Blind Spots of Economics, first published in 2001, free economics as one of seven historically significant schools of economics (alongside physiocracy , classical economics , Marxism , neoclassics , Keynesianism and monetarism ).

In 2003 Roland Wirth received his doctorate from the business ethicist Peter Ulrich at the University of St. Gallen with a dissertation on the subject of a market economy without capitalism. A reassessment of free economics from the point of view of business ethics . Based on reviews by Jost W. Kramer, Professor of General Business Administration at the University of Wismar , and by Dr. Stephan Märkt, Bologna consultant to the HRK at Leuphana University Lüneburg , summed up the Berlin professor Hermann Kendel, Wirth's doctoral thesis "brings Silvio Gesell's ideas back into the general technical discussion."


With the onset of the global economic crisis in 2007 , the idea of circulating money was taken up again in various places. As referred Gregory Mankiw or Willem Buiter on Silvio Gesell.

ECB -Direktoriumsmitglied Benoît Cœuré held on March 9, 2014 the Money Market Contact Group of the ECB talk Life below zero: Learning about negative interest rates (life below zero: About negative interest to learn). In it he explained that the idea of ​​negative interest or the "taxation of money" goes back to Silvio Gesell, the German founder of the free economy, who was supported by Irving Fisher and called "a strange, wrongly overlooked prophet" by John Maynard Keynes.

The 2015 Greek financial crisis also prompted experts, including the British economic historian and Keynes biographer Robert Skidelsky , the US economics professor Miles Kimball, the British journalist and university lecturer George Monbiot and the Capital International Group to point out Gesell's free money as a possible solution. Stanley Fischer , Vice President of the US Federal Reserve , mentioned Silvio Gesell as one of the masterminds of negative interest rates in his speech Monetary Policy, Financial Stability, and the Zero Lower Bound on January 3, 2016.

Criticism of the free economy

Economic criticism of the free economy

Among other things, the free economy premise is criticized that money would be forced onto the consumer or credit market by the circulation protection . The circulating money would be substituted by the citizens "instead" by foreign exchange and precious metals , which are not subject to any decline in value.

The Gresham's Law describes the effect that "bad money drives out good money in circulation displaced". When the market is saturated, any consumer faced with the choice of paying with circulating money or other money will make the payment with circulating money. The other money will "leave the country or disappear from circulation through hoarding".

The amounts of money M 1 to M 3

According to the quantity equation , a circulation safety device increases the speed of circulation . In principle, this has the same effect as increasing the money supply .

What is not taken into account, however, is that the volume of trade is also increasing due to the increased demand for goods in the free economy.

A simple increase in the amount of money can also lead to a simultaneous decrease in the speed of circulation if money from the monetary base and , which has a high speed of circulation , is withheld or saved and thereby becomes or even becomes the amount of money , which has lower speeds . This shift to slower (or no) circulation of money occurs when people

  • hope for price cuts and thereby hold back money or
  • when individual people have a very high income that they cannot use immediately, save up and thus take it out of the money cycle again, which leads to the financial assets of these people increasing without making a contribution to the trading volume or
  • when people accumulate money to acquire major investments.

The first two effects are counteracted in the case of free money through the circulation protection, because here the increase in the speed of circulation arises through the shift of the long to medium-term invested money and the rapidly circulating money and .

Marxist criticism of the free economy

Marxists like the economist Elmar Altvater refer to the free economy as a “ social Darwinist concept” and therefore reject it.

Werner Onken explains in his answer to this accusation that the theory of evolution was new at that time, and above all in contrast to the dogmas of the churches - also in the labor movement - "en vogue", and Gesell by no means a "struggle of the stronger against the weaker ", but advocated" creating the conditions for a fair distribution of income and assets with a just framework of economic activity ".

Proximity to National Socialism?

Altvater's accusation that many of Gesell's supporters made pacts with the National Socialists and sought their closeness “unfortunately cannot be denied: in the historical context, however, it appears in a more differentiated light.” Gesell’s supporters have repeatedly made suggestions to politicians of the democratic parties and the trade unions submitted to stabilize the economic situation. However, they were not heeded, but ignored.

Attempts to implement free economics through National Socialism, however, soon failed. As early as 1923, the National Socialist monetary theorist Gottfried Feder wrote in the Völkischer Beobachter that the complete rejection and scientific settlement of Gesell's “heresy” could be seen as the common property of National Socialism. ( See also: Silvio Gesell and Gottfried Feder ) On January 24, 1933, a few days before Hitler came to power , Wilhelm Radecke , Karl Walker u. a. In one of the largest halls in Berlin, a free trade assembly entitled “Without Hitler in the Third Reich”, which was smashed by a strong SA command , devastating the inventory and with bloody injuries to participants. A little later, interrogations, seizures and acts of terror against around 2,000 members of the free-economic movement began suddenly across the country. Party supporters were taken to concentration camps , and some perished there.

Further representatives of free economics

Hans Bernoulli
Karl Walker
Two painters and free economists Hans Trimborn (left) and Bernhard Grotzeck in conversation (around 1970)
  • Tristan Abromeit (* 1934), co-founder of the Green Party
  • Hans Bernoulli (1876–1959), architect and co-founder of the Swiss Free Trade Association
  • Georg Blumenthal (1872–1929), founder of the Physiocratic Movement and publisher of Gesellscher Schriften
  • Helmut Creutz (1923–2017), publicist, business analyst, architect and well-known free-trade author
  • Theophil Christen (1873–1920), Swiss mathematician, doctor and economist
  • Eugen Drewermann (* 1940), German theologian and psychoanalyst
  • Willi Eberlein (1904–1986), Member of the Hamburg Parliament 1949–1953 (RSF)
  • Roland Geitmann (1941–2013), Professor of Public Law at the Kehl University of Applied Sciences from 1983 to 2006
  • Eckhard Grimmel (* 1941), Professor of Geography at the University of Hamburg, co-founder of the German Free Trade Association
  • Bernhard Grotzeck (1915–2008), tax officer and German painter; RSF Bundestag candidate 1949
  • Max Hebecker (1882–1948), mining engineer and initiator of the Wära experiment in Schwanenkirchen
  • Peter Kafka (1933–2000), German astrophysicist and nuclear power critic, numerous lectures and publications critical of capitalism
  • Margrit Kennedy (1939–2013), German architect, professor from 1991 to 2002 at the University of Hanover
  • Gustav Lilienthal (1849–1933), master builder and social reformer, younger brother of Otto Lilienthal , supporter of Hertzka's free-range movement, built in Eden and founded his own housing association, Freie Scholle .
  • Hans Langelütke (1892–1972), economist, 1955 to 1965 President of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research
  • Dirk Löhr (* 1964), tax advisor and professor for ecological economics and taxation at Trier University of Applied Sciences
  • Heinz Nixdorf (1925–1986), German entrepreneur, founder of Nixdorf Computer AG
  • Franz Oppenheimer (1864–1943), German doctor, sociologist and economist, supporter of Hertzka, further development of the theory of the third way , a market economy without private property.
  • Elimar Rosenbohm (1916–1997), economist, co-editor of the Zeitschrift für Sozialökonomie (ZfSÖ)
  • Paul von Schoenaich (1866–1954), Chairman of the German Peace Society (DFG)
  • Fritz Schwarz (1887–1958), Swiss life reformer, author and politician
  • Hans Konrad Sonderegger (1891–1944), Swiss theologian, lawyer and national councilor
  • Hans Trimborn (1891–1979), German painter and co-initiator of a free-economic WÄRA experiment on the island of Norderney
  • Johannes Ude (1874–1965), Catholic priest and theology professor, supporter of free economics and persecuted by the Nazi regime
  • Michael Unterguggenberger (1884–1936), former mayor of Wörgl, initiator of the local free money experiment
  • Karl Walker (1904–1975), social scientist and author of economic publications
  • Werner Zimmermann (1893–1982), life reformer, author and co-founder of the Swiss WIR business ring (now WIR Bank )

Sympathizers and artists who reflected on free economic issues

  • Michael Ende (1929–1995), German writer, processed the criticism of interest money in his novel Momo .
  • Johannes Kleinhappl (1893–1979), Catholic priest and moral theologian
  • Hermann Oberth (1894–1989), German physicist and rocket pioneer
  • Georg Otto (* 1928), co-founder of the political party Die Grünen , founder of the quarterly magazine "Alternatives", spokesman for the liberal-social wing of the Greens as well as chairman of the "Aktion Third Way" (A3W)
  • Ezra Pound (1885–1972), American poet, admiring mention of the Wörgler free money experiment and the person Michael Unterguggenberger in the Pisaner Gesänge (Canto LXXVIII)

Libraries, Archives, Collections (selection)

Literature (selection)

The catalog of books, brochures and magazines published by the Freiwirtschaftliche Bibliothek and edited by Werner Onken , with numerous reading samples and documentary images, offers an almost complete directory of free-trade publications up to 1986 . The following selected references are arranged chronologically within the various subsections.

Programmatic writings / sources

  • Silvio Gesell: The Reformation in coinage as a bridge to the social state . Buenos Aires 1891. (A reprint of this publication can be found in: Silvio Gesell. Collected works in 18 volumes and a register volume . Gauke Verlag: Hannoversch-Münden / Lütjenburg 1988–1997 / 2000. Volume I)
  • Silvio Gesell: Nervus Rerum (first continuation of the Reformation in coinage ). Self-published: Buenos Aires 1891.
  • Silvio Gesell: The nationalization of money (second sequel to the Reformation in coinage ). Self-published: Buenos Aires 1892.
  • Silvio Gesell: The natural economic order through free land and free money . Self-published: Les Hauts-Geneveys 1916. This was a revised 2nd edition and a summary of the following publications:
    • Realizing the right to full income from work . Publishers by Silvio Gesell and Bernhard Hermann: Les Hauts-Geneveys and Leipzig 1906.
    • The new doctrine of money and interest . Self-published: Les Hauts-Geneveys 1916

History of the free economy movement

  • Hugo Luczak: History of the FFF movement in Germany. A look back . No. 12 in the scientific series of the FZ / Freiwirtschaftliche Zeitung . Publishing house of the Freiwirtschaftliche Zeitung: Erfurt 1931.
  • Hans-Joachim Werner: History of the free economy movement. 100 years of struggle for a market economy without capitalism . Waxmann Verlag: Münster 1990. ISBN 3-89325-022-0 .
  • Günter Bartsch : Hans Timm and the Fisiocratic Combat League . In: Günter Bartsch: Stirner's anti-philosophy. The revolutionary Fisiocrats. Two essays . Verlag Jochen Knoblauch (Edition Aurora): Berlin 1992. ISBN 3-924001-22-7 .
  • Günter Bartsch : The NWO movement Silvio Gesells - historical outline 1891-1992 / 93 . Gauke, Lütjenburg, now Kiel 1994, ISBN 3-87998-481-6 .
  • Werner Onken / Günter Bartsch: Natural economic order under the swastika. Adjustment and resistance . Gauke Verlag / specialist publisher for social economy: Lütjenburg 1996. ISBN 3-87998-441-7 .

Free economy experiments

  • Norbert Rost: Experimental verification of the statements of the free economy theory . Diploma thesis, 2003 (complete text as pdf; 2.7 MB)
  • Fritz Schwarz: The Wörgl experiment. Synergia, Darmstadt 2006, ISBN 3-9810894-5-6 (revised new edition, original: Bern 1951).
  • Gebhardt Ottacher: Giving a Sign to the World - The Wörgl Open-Air Experiment 1932/33 - Gauke, Kiel 2007, ISBN 978-3-87998-450-3 .
  • Wolfgang Broer: Schwundgeld. Michael Unterguggenberger and the Wörgl currency experiment 1932/33 . Studienverlag Vienna, Innsbruck, Bozen 2007, ISBN 978-3-7065-4472-6 . (The book is based on 2500 pages of previously unknown documents including the correspondence of the Wörgl mayor and contains details on the social and economic history of the 1930s in Austria.)

Individual free economic issues

  • Fritz Schwarz: Blessing and Curse of Money in the History of the Nations (2 volumes). Pestalozzi-Fellenberg: Bern 1925 (2nd edition: Bern 1931)
  • Theodor Reents: The free economic state idea in the light of philosophy . Verlag der Freiwirtschaftliche Zeitung: [without location information; Erfurt?] 1933.
  • Otto Valentin: Overcoming totalitarianism (PDF; 498 kB). Hugo Mayer Verlag, Dornbirn 1952.
  • Werner Zimmermann: Money and land - questions of fate for all peoples . Blume Published by Bern 1966.
  • Hans Weitkamp: The high Middle Ages - a gift from the money system . HMZ-Verlag: Hilterfingen 1985.
  • Christof Karner: Catholicism and free economy. The life reform program of Johannes Ude . Volume 928 in the series Europäische Hochschulschriften (series 3: History and its auxiliary sciences ). Peter Lang GmbH / European Science Publishing House: Frankfurt am Main; Berlin; Bern; Brussels; New York; Oxford; Vienna 2002. ISBN 3-631-38923-X

The natural economic order in contemporary literature

Criticism and counter-criticism

  • Oskar Stillich : The free money. A criticism . Industriebeamten-Verlag, Berlin 1923
  • Heinrich Färber : The heresy of Silvio Gesells. 1st edition 1932; 2nd edition Graz 1996. ISBN 3-901805-03-6 .
  • Peter Bierl : Schwundgeld, free economy and racial madness: criticism of capitalism from the right: The Silvio Gesell case . KKV specifically: 2012. 978-3930786640

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Günter Bartsch: The NWO movement Silvio Gesells. Historical ground plan 1891–1992 / 93 . Lütjenburg 1994. p. 23f; in detail in the chapters Georg Blumenthal's Building Blocks (p. 22–24) and The Physiocratic Basic Current (p. 50–57)
  2. See also Günter Bartsch: The NWO movement Silvio Gesells. Historical ground plan 1891–1992 / 93 . Lütjenburg 1994. p. 15
  3. The journal of the free economic initiative for natural economic order , for example, bears this name; see Fairconomy ; viewed on October 1, 2018
  4. For the methods listed, see the detailed explanations at / Karl Walker: Technik der Umlaufsicherung des Geldes (Heidelberg 1952) ; accessed on January 16, 2020
  5. Silvio Gesell: The natural economic order . Rudolf Zitzmann Publisher: Lauf bei Nürnberg 1949 (9th edition). P. 205; 344
  6. John Maynard Keynes: General theory of employment, interest and money (translated by Fritz Waeger). Duncker & Humblot: Munich / Leipzig 1936. p. 317
  7. ^ Silvio Gesell: The natural economic order (ed. By Karl Walker ), Lauf bei Nürnberg 1949, p. 325
  8. Silvio Gesell - Collected Works : Foreword to Volume 13, 1921–1922, p. 16
  9. ^ Peter Bierl: Schwundgeld, free economy and racial madness. Criticism of capitalism from the right: The Silvio Gesell case. Konkret Verlag, 2012, Friedrich Burschel (Ed.), ISBN 978-3-930786-64-0
  10. ^ Silvio Gesell: The Reformation in coinage as a bridge to the social state . Buenos Aires 1891. - A reprint of this work can be found in: Silvio Gesell. Collected works in 18 volumes and a register volume . Gauke Verlag: Hannoversch-Münden / Lütjenburg 1988–1997 / 2000. Volume I.
  11. Freiwirtschaftliche Bibliothek Varel / (Scientific Archive) / Werner Onken (Hrsg.): Catalog of books, brochures and magazines with numerous reading samples and documentary images . Varel 1986. p. 5
  12. ^ Mathias Weis, Heiko Spitzeck (ed.): The money complex. Critical reflection on our monetary system and possible future scenarios . Volume 41 in the series St. Gallen Contributions to Business Ethics . Haupt Verlag: Bern, Stuttgart, Vienna 2008. ISBN 978-3-258-07314-9 . P. 100; in detail on this Silvio Gesell: The exploitation, its causes and how to combat it. A comparison of my capital theory and that of Karl Marx . (Lecture given in the socialist association for mutual further training in Dresden, May 8, 1922 by Silvio Gesell) Stirn-Verlag (Hans Timm): Hochheim district Erfurt-Leipzig 1932³
  13. Silvio Gesell: Nervus Rerum: Continuation of the “Reformation in coinage” . Self-published: Buenos Aires 1991
  14. Supplementary summary / section: Incubation phase - from 1891 to 1912 ; accessed on March 3, 2018
  15. ^ Hugo Luczak: History of the FFF movement in Germany. A look back . Verlag der Freiwirtschaftliche Zeitung: Erfurt 1931. P. 9
  16. On Stamm see Hans Wehberg: Theodor Stamm and the beginnings of the German land reform movement . Verlag Carl Georgi: Bonn 1911.
  17. Heinrich Theodor Stamm: The redemption of the starving humanity. Beneficial teachings about the presumptions of property that have already been overcome and about the still existing coding of the original basis of all work . Dietz-Verlag: Stuttgart 1884³
  18. ^ Above all Karl Liebknecht and August Bebel voted against it; see Hugo Luczak: History of the FFF movement in Germany. A look back . Verlag der Freiwirtschaftliche Zeitung: Erfurt 1931. P. 9
  19. ^ Theodor Hertzka: Freiland. A social picture of the future . 1890 ( summary and extracts )
  20. ^ A b c Franz Oppenheimer: My scientific way . In: Felix Meiner (ed.): The economics of the present in self-presentation. Volume 2, Leipzig 1929, p. 81 f.
  21. z. B. “Eden” settlement project , 1893.
  22. ^ Theodor Hertzka: A trip to Freiland. Leipzig 1893 (report on failed outdoor expedition)
  23. Brief introduction to the free land free money theory by Silvio Gesell ; accessed on March 3, 2018
  24. Werner Onken: Great personalities of the free economy movement. - Dr. med Max Sternberg . In: Monthly The Third Way . December 1988, p. 2
  25. ^ Günter Bartsch: The NWO movement Silvio Gesells. Historical floor plan 1891–1992 / 93 . Volume 1 in the series Studies on Natural Economic Order . Gauke Verlag GmbH: Lütjenburg 1994. p. 22f
  26. 1909: Founding of the Association for Physiocratic Politics in Berlin, 1913: Extension to the Physiocratic Association, 1921: Unified Free Trade Association Free Land Free Money Fixed Currency (FFF), 1924: Split into the Fisocratic Combat League (FKB), the Free Trade Association (FWB), 1932 : Participation of the Free Trade Party in Reichstag elections (unsuccessful), 1933: Self-dissolution and ban on free trade associations, 1938: Withdrawal into the free trade associations of Switzerland and Austria (Source: Deutsches Historisches Museum )
  27. Werner Schmid: Silvio Gesell. The life story of a pioneer . Cooperative publishing house free-trade writings: Bern 1954. S. 115ff
  28. ^ Günter Bartsch: The NWO movement Silvio Gesells. Historical floor plan 1891–1992 / 93 . Volume 1 in the series Studies on Natural Economic Order . Gauke Verlag GmbH: Lütjenburg 1994. pp. 25-27
  29. ^ Letter from Walther Rathenau to Paulus Klüpfel from April 10, 1917 In: Walther Rathenau: Briefe . TP Verone Publishing House: Nicosia / Cyprus 2017 (reprint of the original edition from 2017 published in Berlin). P. 252f
  30. ^ Günter Bartsch: The NWO movement Silvio Gesells. Historical floor plan 1891–1992 / 93 . Volume 1 in the series Studies on Natural Economic Order . Gauke Verlag GmbH: Lütjenburg 1994. p. 27
  31. Karl Walker in the introduction to the 9th edition of the natural economic order through free land and free money (editor: Karl Walker). Rudolf Zitzmann Verlag: Nürnberg 1949. p. 9 ( online )
  33. Referendum of April 15, 1951 , on the web of the Swiss Confederation
  34. ^ Franz Oppenheimer: Experienced, Achieved, Memories. Düsseldorf 1964, p. 153ff.
  35. Wolfgang Broer: Schwundgeld: Mayor Michael Unterguggenberger and the Wörgl currency experiment 1932/33. 2007, ISBN 978-3-7065-4472-6 , p. 323.
  36. ^ The money-go-round . The Economist, January 22, 2009 (accessed January 25, 2009)
  37. Irving Fisher: Stamp Scrip . Adelphi, New York 1933, especially Chapter IV
  39. ^ Günter Bartsch: The NWO movement Silvio Gesells. Historical ground plan 1891–1992 / 93 , Lütjenburg 1994, p. 108 f.
  40. ^ Frédéric Krier: Socialism for the petty bourgeoisie. Pierre Proudhon - pioneer of the Third Reich . Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2009. p. 73
  41. History of the Human Economy Party Part 1 Chapter A (PDF; 145 kB)
  42. Overview of the recognition of the parties in the Federal Electoral Committee, Bundestag information from July 17, 2009
  44. Internet presence of the CvO University Oldenburg / press release of November 5, 2007: Presentation of the new special collection “Archive for Money and Land Reform” ; Accessed April 12, 2012.
  45. ^ "I believe that the future will learn more from the spirit of Gesell than from that of Marx." In: Keynes, General Theory , Chapter 23 ( Notes on Mercantilism, The Usury Laws, Stamped Money and Theories of Under-consumption ) - VI
  46. Claude Million: Irving Fisher as a Money Reformer. (PDF) Zeitschrift für Sozialökonomie 152, April 2007, archived from the original on August 8, 2014 ; Retrieved July 30, 2014 .
  47. ^ Maurice Allais: Economie et Intérêt . Presentation of the nouvelle des probèmes fondamentaux relatives au rôle économique du taux de l'intérêt et de leurs solutions. 1st edition. Imprimerie Nationale, Paris 1947.
  48. ^ Walter Hanschitz-Jandl: Nobel Prize for money and land reformer Maurice Allais. (PDF) May 10, 2011, accessed January 12, 2016 .
  49. Norbert Häring: Silvio Gesell - The inventor of rusting money. Handelsblatt, March 15, 2012, accessed on January 9, 2016 .
  50. Jörg Gude: "The Scientific Recognition of Freiwirtschaftslehre" . Discussion on Roland Wirth, market economy without capitalism. A reassessment of free economics from the point of view of business ethics
  51. Jost W. Kramer, review of: Roland Wirth, market economy without capitalism. A reassessment of free economics from the point of view of business ethics , June 15, 2004.
  52. Stephan Märkt: "Marktwirtschaft und Freiwirtschaftslehre" ( Memento of the original from October 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 104 kB). Review of Wirth, Roland (2003): Market economy without capitalism. A reassessment of free economics from the point of view of business ethics, zfwu (= Journal for Business and Business Ethics) Volume 6, No. 2, 2005, pp. 237–240. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  53. Hermann Kendel, Review of Market Economy Without Capitalism. A reassessment of free economics from the point of view of business ethics (PDF; 220 kB), Zeit -fragen, No. 3, January 22, 2007.
  54. ^ DIE WELT (January 21, 2014): The war for the secure money of the future ; Accessed January 21, 2014.
  55. It May Be Time for the Fed to Go Negative , The New York Times, April 18, 2009.
  56. It is time for the monetary authorities to jump into the liquidity trap , Financial Times, December 2, 2008.
  57. ^ Benoît Cœuré: Life below zero: Learning about negative interest rates. September 9, 2014, accessed September 13, 2014 .
  58. ^ Robert Skidelsky: I agree with Syriza: the way back to prosperity is not austerity but debt relief. New Statesman, February 6, 2015, accessed March 8, 2015 .
  59. Alexander Trentin: SNB should introduce fee on cash. Finanz und Wirtschaft, February 17, 2015, accessed March 8, 2015 .
  60. George Monbiot: A maverick currency scheme from the 1930s could save the Greek economy. The Guardian, February 17, 2015, accessed March 8, 2015 .
  61. ^ The reality of negative interest rates. (No longer available online.) Capital International Group, March 6, 2015, archived from the original on April 2, 2015 ; accessed on March 8, 2015 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  62. ^ Stanley Fischer: Monetary Policy, Financial Stability, and the Zero Lower Bound. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, January 3, 2016, accessed March 22, 2016 (see also References ).
  63. ^ Lars Ljungqvist and Thomas Sargent : Recursive macroeconomic theory. P. 545.
  64. Elmar Altvater, "Another world with what money?" (PDF; 285 kB)
  65. For another world with another money - Are the money reformers really anti-Semites? , Paragraph 2.4 Darwin's Influence - A Sore Point in the Natural Economic Order that has hardly been dealt with , accessed on June 5, 2015.
  66. a b Werner Onken: For a different world with a different money. Contribution to the Attac Summer Academy on August 1, 2004 in Dresden, p. 9 ( PDF )
  67. Will Noebe: Telos - The world of tomorrow . 46th year, 1969.
  68. ^ Website of Tristan , Abromeit with an extensive free-trade library
  69. "Money could only be a neutral means of payment if one were to forego the use of its 'joker advantage', and not only on the level of individual practice, but in the objectively prescribed form of the money economy itself. [...] Instead that Conversely, to get money out of the reserve with the means of interest would have to 'get it going': instead of formally rewarding the money owner for holding back his money like his private property, in order, if necessary, to speculate on the money market to increase his private property To do business, a liquidity levy or a 'usage fee' could replace the interest as security for circulation. ”In: Eugen Drewermann, Jesus von Nazareth - Liberator for Peace (PDF; 31 kB), Volume 2: Faith in Freedom, Zurich; Düsseldorf: Walter, 1996, ISBN 3-530-16897-1 , p. 474ff.
  70. “The organizational patterns of the global acceleration crisis are very closely linked to the idea that there is a natural right to income from property . Property income - to acquire even more property. This age-old basic idea of ​​the capitalist economic order is no longer viable! ”(P. 157), mentioning Silvio Gesell by name (p. 167) and:“ We have to develop a strategy to reduce income from property . Above all, this will include the restriction of ownership of the scarce livelihoods of land and money, that is, a new land law and the elimination of interest through the introduction of "aging money" ”(p. 174). In: Peter Kafka: Against the downfall. Creation principle and global acceleration crisis. Munich; Vienna: Hanser, 1994, ISBN 3-446-17834-1 (especially Chapter VIII: The Liberation of the Market Economy from Capitalism )
  71. See u. a. Wikipedia Dirk Löhr and Prof. Dr. Dirk Löhr ( memento from December 25, 2012 in the web archive ), accessed on July 9, 2012.
  72. "Especially Gesell's postulate not to regard money as a store of value and personal property, but as an obligation to create jobs and get people to work, must have made a deep impression on Nixdorf." In: Nina Grunenberg, " Der gnarled patriarch of electronics ”, Die Zeit, No. 33, August 10, 1984.“ The perplexity of today's politicians makes Silvio Gesell's work more and more modern. ”In: Heinz Nixdorf, letter to Tristan Abromeit, June 12, 1985 ( time appendix II Nixdorf.pdf )
  73. Auguste Rulffes: Hans Trimborn. A life in pictures . 1st edition. Soltau-Kurier, Norden 1993, ISBN 3-922365-06-X , p. 33 .
  74. Michael Ende, Joseph Beuys: Art and Politics - a conversation. FIU , Wangen 1989, ISBN 3-928780-48-4 , pp. 35-44. In a letter to Anselm Rapp dated February 20, 1991, Michael Ende underlined, referring to this book, “that the question of money is probably the most decisive problem for any industrial society and that things will turn out badly if this problem is not solved. That is why I have been trying for a number of years to initiate something like the " Club of Rome " was for ecological issues for the money economy. "
  75. Michael Ende's personal letter to Werner Onken
  76. Hermann Oberth: voters Primer for a world parliament. Dr. Roth-Oberth, Feucht 1983. ( Excerpt ; PDF; 1.1 MB)
  77. brand eins : Der Geldzauberer ( Memento of the original from July 27, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . 9/2003. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  78. Freiwirtschaftliche Bibliothek Varel / (Scientific Archive) / Werner Onken (Hrsg.): Catalog of books, brochures and magazines with numerous reading samples and documentary images . Varel 1986.
  79. See also Freiwirtschaftliche Bibliothek Varel / (Scientific Archive) / Werner Onken (Hrsg.): Catalog of books, brochures and magazines with numerous reading samples and documentary images . Varel 1986. pp. 56 and 57.