Social market economy  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The social market economy (SOME; soziale Marktwirtschaft), also called Rhine capitalism or social capitalism, is a socioeconomic model combining a free market capitalist economic system alongside social policies that establish both fair competition within the market and a welfare state. It is sometimes classified as a coordinated market economy.

The social market economy was originally promoted and implemented in West Germany by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1949. Its origins can be traced to the interwar Freiburg school of economic thought.

The social market economy was designed to be a third way between laissez-faire economic liberalism and socialist economics. It was strongly inspired by ordoliberalism, social democratic reformism, and the political ideology of Christian democracy, or more generally the tradition of Christian ethics.

The social market economy refrains from attempts to plan and guide production, the workforce, or sales, but it does support planned efforts to influence the economy through the organic means of a comprehensive economic policy coupled with flexible adaptation to market studies. Combining monetary, credit, trade, tax, customs, investment and social policies as well as other measures, this type of economic policy aims to create an economy that serves the welfare and needs of the entire population, thereby fulfilling its ultimate goal.

The "social" segment is often wrongly confused with socialism and democratic socialism. Although aspects were inspired by democratic socialism, the social market approach rejects the socialist ideas of replacing private property and markets with social ownership and economic planning. The "social" element of the model instead refers to support for the provision of equal opportunity and protection of those unable to enter the free market labor force because of old-age, disability, or unemployment.

Some authors use the term "social capitalism" with roughly the same meaning as social market economy. It is also called "Rhine capitalism", typically when contrasting it with the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. Rather than see it as an antithesis, some authors describe Rhine capitalism as a successful synthesis of the Anglo-American model with social democracy. The German model is also contrasted and compared with other economic models, some of which are also described as "third ways" or regional forms of capitalism, including Tony Blair's Third Way, French dirigisme, the Dutch polder model, the Nordic model, Japanese corporate capitalism, and the contemporary Chinese model. A 2012 comparative politics textbook distinguishes between the "conservativecorporatist welfare state" (arising from the German social market economy) and the "labor-led social democratic welfare state". The concept of the model has since been expanded upon into the idea of an eco-social market economy as not only taking into account the social responsibility of humanity, but also the sustainable use and protection of natural resources.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Social market economy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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