In This Review

The Social Market Economy and Monetary Stability
The Social Market Economy and Monetary Stability
By Hans Tietmeyer
Brookings Institution Press, 1999, 290 pp

Throughout most of the 1990s, Hans Tietmeyer personified monetary rectitude in Germany, indeed in all of Europe. As chair of the independent German central bank, he was the principal spokesperson for stability-oriented monetary policy and often criticized governments, including his own, if they strayed from macroeconomic stability. He retired in 1999 after the successful launch of Europe's new single currency, the euro. In this volume of collected essays, he discusses his basic views on the social market economy, economic policy, the importance of monetary stability, and the necessity of international monetary cooperation. Tietmeyer comes across not as a monetary dogmatist but as a highly sophisticated and thoughtful commentator on postwar Europe and its role in an increasingly interdependent world. He strongly advocates a social-market economy derived from the European liberalism of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill. In his terms, "social" means individual freedom and individual responsibility -- a reaction against European authoritarianism this century -- not an endorsement of the welfare state. In sum, a valuable compilation of the thoughts of an important public servant.