Wilhelm Roepke is not a familiar name to most people, yet he was an influential economist of the twentieth century. While being a fierce critic of collectivism (i.e. communism and socialism) and an ardent supporter of the free market, he believed that laissez faire capitalism was neither a viable nor societally healthy system of economic organization.
Instead he espoused a tempered form of capitalism that he labelled the third way. The gist of his thought was that man should not serve economics but that economics should serve the needs of man and society.
His economic ideas, along with those of his fellow ordo-liberals, were instrumental in producing the economic miracle that occurred in post-war Germany. He was also a man of character who warned of and spoke out against Hitler in the 1930’s. Unfortunately Roepke’s ideas, greatly relevant as they are to the events currently unfolding, have been covered by the sands of time and most people are unaware of them.
For those interested in ameliorating this ignorance here is a good introduction to the life, thought and influence of Roepke by Richard Ebeling.