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Neoliberalism (ancient Greek: νέος neos “new” and Latin: liberalis “liberal”) is a form of economic liberalism that seeks the best conditions for functioning markets . The state is assigned the task of establishing the rules of competition. The word describes a broad and heterogeneous theoretical current, which includes the Freiburg School ( Ordoliberalism ) and the Chicago School , but also representatives of the Austrian School such as Friedrich August von Hayek . The delimitation of the individual schools and the allocation of individual persons is controversial.

In addition to its importance in economic history, there are more recent uses of the term neoliberalism as a political concept, development model, ideology and academic paradigm as well as a political catchphrase or "battle term" or "political swear word". Neoliberalism appears today as an essentially contested concept ( Essentially Contested Concept ). Critics of an inflationary use of the term have argued that post-industrial society is not shaped by politics alone, but by other powerful forces as well.

Neoliberalism is a conceptual new creation (from ancient Greek νέος neos , German 'new' and Latin liberalis 'concerning freedom' ), which was used as neo-libéralisme by the French politician Pierre-Étienne Flandin as early as 1933 and a few years later at the suggestion of Alexander Rustov was defined as a technical term in German at the Colloque Walter Lippmann in Paris. Neoliberalism, as it was originally proposed in the Colloque Walter Lippmann, was intended to conceive a new liberalism , not in the sense of a market radicalism, but rather as an anti-communist and anti-capitalist Third Way. Primarily in its ordoliberal form, German neoliberalism of the 1930s and 1940s is an essential theoretical basis of the social market economy , which, however, set its own accents with greater pragmatism, especially with regard to economic and social policy. In Germany, in the course of time with ordoliberalism and social market economy, other names for the philosophy of the Third Way between laissez-faire liberalism and communism became more popular and commonly used. Outside Germany, the economic liberals again turned more towards classical liberalism and therefore no longer saw themselves as neoliberals. In the 1960s, the term neoliberalism was therefore generally forgotten, and since then there has not been a group of scientists who describe themselves as neoliberal.

In the 1970s the term neoliberalism was taken up again and experienced a change in meaning. Opposition scholars in Chile used it with a negative connotation and criticized the radical reforms under Pinochet by the Chicago Boys , which were influenced by ideas of the Chicago School and Friedrich August von Hayek . From here the new meaning spread to the Anglo-Saxon world. Today the term is mainly used pejoratively for “ market fundamentalism ”, not infrequently in connection with the New Right and the related economic policies of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher .

History and Development


As early as the 19th century there were a few authors who reject both classical liberalism and socialism. In this sense, Röpke names Jean-Charles-Léonard Simonde de Sismondi , Pierre-Joseph Proudhon , Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl , Pjotr ​​Alexejewitsch Kropotkin and Pierre Guilleaume Fréderic Le Play as precursors . The actual beginning of neoliberalism is usually dated between the two world wars. Even if Ludwig von Mises , Frank Knight and Edwin Cannan are usually not yet listed as representatives of neoliberalism, von Mises' influence on the next generation was particularly great: His criticism of the centrally planned economy and the monetary overinvestment theory from the 1920s were widely received in liberal circles. The Freiburg School , the School of Cannan and the Chicago School were the first schools to be classified as neoliberalism in the 1930s .

Colloque Walter Lippmann

Walter Lippmann, one of the founders of neoliberalism
The term neoliberalism goes back to Alexander Rustow .

Capitalism lost considerable popularity after the Great Depression between 1929 and 1932, with neoclassical theory and the classical liberalism associated with it being seen as the main culprit in this context. British historian Eric Hobsbawm summed up: "The lesson that liberal capitalism was dead in the prewar decades was understood almost everywhere in the epoch of the two world wars and the Great Depression, even by those who refused to put a new theoretical label on it." there was also hardly any contact between the individual “new liberal” schools. At the invitation of Louis Rougier , the first international meeting took place in Paris in 1938, the Colloque Walter Lippmann . The official purpose of the meeting was to discuss the ideas raised by Walter Lippmann in his book The Good Society . In addition to Rougier and Lippmann, 24 other intellectuals took part, including Raymond Aron , Friedrich August von Hayek , Ludwig von Mises , Michael Polanyi , Wilhelm Röpke and Alexander Rustow . The discussion revolved around the question of how liberalism could be renewed. Participants such as Riistow, Lippmann and Rougier were of the opinion that laissez-faire liberalism and classical liberalism had failed and had to be replaced by a new liberalism. Other participants such as Mises and Hayek were far less convinced of the thesis, but also felt connected to the goal of giving liberal ideas new clout. The participants followed Armistov's suggestion to designate the new liberalism as neoliberalism. This designation meant a liberalism that demanded economic freedom under the control and regulation of a strong state. In the colloque it was also decided to found the Think Tank Center International des Études pour la Rénovation du Libéralisme , which should pursue these ideas. At that time, this neoliberalism was far from propagating a market radicalism, rather it was conceived as an anti-communist and anti-capitalist third way.

However, the unity among the early neoliberals was short-lived. While neoliberals such as Riistow demanded that the state should take corrective action in the event of undesirable developments in the economy, Mises was of the opinion that the state should only intervene to remove barriers to market entry. Neoliberals like Riistow saw the development of monopolies as a result of laissez-faire liberalism, while neoliberals like Mises saw it as a result of state intervention. There was also disagreement on the question of social policy. These differences were fundamental and touched the core of the neoliberal research project. A few years later, the differences between the neoliberals and the old liberals became intolerable. Riistow was disappointed that Mises stuck to the old ideas of liberalism, which he considered to have failed spectacularly and called paleoliberalism (to suggest that they were liberal "dinosaurs"). In a letter to Wilhelm Röpke, Rüstow wrote that the neoliberals had so many things to reproach the old liberals for, we [we] have such a different spirit than they did that it would be a completely wrong tactic [...] with the reputation of being outdated, outdated and to smudge the playfulness that is rightfully attached to them. No dog will eat these yesterday's hands any more, and rightly so. " Mises, for his part, saw ordoliberalism as nothing more than an “ordo-interventionism”, the result of which was no different from totalitarian socialism.

Mont Pèlerin Society

After the Second World War , international contacts increased with the establishment of the Mont Pèlerin Society . 15 participants of the Colloque Walter Lippmann founded the Mont Pèlerin Society in 1947 in order to gather neoliberal thinkers and to spread the ideas of neoliberalism. Albert Hunold and Friedrich August von Hayek soon took over the leadership of the Mont Pèlerin Society . In the early 1960s there was a dispute between a group around von Hayek and a group around Hunold and Wilhelm Röpke about the future direction of society. As a result, Röpke resigned from the presidency in 1962 and Hunold and Röpke resigned. In the Mont Pèlerin Society, the liberals turned completely back to classical liberalism and for that reason no longer identified themselves as neoliberals. Eight members of the Mont Pèlerin Society such as Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman, George Stigler and James M. Buchanan were awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics . The Atlas Network , founded by MPS member Antony Fisher in 1981, comprises 451 free-market organizations in 95 countries after 35 years.

Germany: social market economy

Alfred Müller-Armack (center) developed the concept of the social market economy

In Germany, neoliberal theory (in the original sense) was applied to the social market economy. The social market economy is based on the ideas of ordoliberalism , but with greater pragmatism, e.g. B. with regard to process-political influence in business cycle policy , and stronger emphasis on social policy own accents.

In his work, control of the economy and the market economy (1946) developed Alfred Mueller Armack the concept of "social market economy". The market and the social are not to be understood as opposites: rather, enormous social benefits are already the result: The efficiency of the market process enables a permanent increase in the standard of living. This also increases per capita income and the funds available for social benefits. Consumer sovereignty and competition counteracted concentrations of power. Karl Georg Zinn writes: “However, there are also considerable differences between Müller-Armack and the neoliberal supporters of a free or liberal market economy. In many respects, Müller-Armack, with his philosophically broader ideas, is closer to the two emigrants Röpke and Rüstow than to the purist Walter Eucken, who is purist from the theory of order . Müller-Armack gave the social policy and the state economic and structural policy a far greater weight than Eucken. “The market should be supplemented by social institutions such as a certain income redistribution, family allowances, expansion of social security, social housing and also company co-determination. With the inclusion of elements of Christian social ethics, the social market economy should avoid the shortcomings of unbridled capitalism as well as those of the centrally controlled planned economy and instead "combine the principle of freedom in the market with that of social equilibrium".

For the executor of the social market economy, Ludwig Erhard , “the market itself was social” and did not need to be “made social”. Erhard had a much stronger commitment to the free and market economy component than the creators of the theoretical concept of the social market economy . His vision was the utopia of a depoletarianized society of property citizens who no longer needed social security. With the concept of people's capitalism, he tried to create a freer and more equal society. Individual attempts to put the concept of people's capitalism into practice by promoting broad wealth creation among citizens remained largely ineffective. Since 1957, the social market economy has been reinterpreted from Erhard's interpretation of national capitalism to a market economy with an independent welfare state. Only then did the term social market economy become the central consensus and peace formula of the middle way.

In Germany, neoliberalism was initially used synonymously for ordoliberalism and social market economy. From the late 1960s, however, the term neoliberalism was largely forgotten. The German economic system was generally referred to as the social market economy, which was understood as a more positive term and also fitted better into the economic boom mentality.

Change in meaning since around 1980

Background of the change in meaning: Chile

According to Boas / Gans-Morse, the original word meaning of neoliberalism refers to the Freiburg school (ordoliberalism), which saw itself as a moderate alternative to classical liberalism. Although they rejected Keynesianism and an extensive welfare state , they emphasized the importance of social policy and rejected market fundamentalism . In doing so, they set themselves apart from other liberal thinkers whose ideas fundamentally contradicted ordoliberalism. So complained z. B. Riistow 1960 that representatives of paleoliberalism call themselves neoliberal, although the term neoliberalism was created by the ordoliberals to distinguish them from paleoliberalism. While today's scholars often regard Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman as the fathers of neoliberalism, the term neoliberalism was specifically associated with the Freiburg School and economists such as Eucken, Röpke, Rüstow and Müller-Armack in academic articles in the 1950s and 1960s. Because of his more fundamentalist positions, Hayek was rarely associated with neoliberalism at the time, and Friedman was never associated with it. The influence of neoliberalism on German economic policy waned from the mid-1960s with the growing influence of Keynesianism; the term was hardly used anymore. Since then, no economic school has described itself as neoliberal.

Based on the positive example of neoliberalism of the Freiburg School, the German model of the social market economy and the economic miracle, the word neoliberalismo was used in Latin America in the 1960s from both a market-friendly and a market-critical perspective, without deviating from its neutral to positive meaning. The first change in meaning began when critics of the reforms under Pinochet began to use the term sporadically in 1973 - without direct reference to the Freiburg School or any other theoretical structure. Augusto Pinochet's coup d'état in Chile on September 11, 1973 is seen as the central point in time for this shift : Pinochet occupied the central positions of economic policy with Chileans who had studied with Friedman in Chicago since 1955, they became known as the Chicago Boys . The economic policy implemented under Pinochet was inspired by the more fundamentalist theories of Friedman and Hayek. Thus, within the authoritarian regime, there was a far-reaching withdrawal of the state from the economy, the consequences of which are highly controversial. Up until 1980 there was a shift in meaning: Instead of denoting the ordoliberalism of the Freiburg School, the prefix neo- was synonymous in an academic context with radical and used to devalue the ideas of Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman , although Hayek and Friedman never themselves called neoliberal. One possible explanation for this is that the military government used the term social market economy, which was associated with neoliberalismo , for propaganda purposes for its economic policy .

During this military dictatorship, neoliberalismo completely broke away from its original reference and was intended to characterize the radical transformation of the economy in the face of political repression. Neoliberalism is what critics consider to be a reductionist position that sacrifices social security in the name of economic primacy. From here the new meaning of the word spread into the Anglo-Saxon world, where it could now refer to almost anything as long as it is about - normatively negative - phenomena that are associated with the free market .

According to Andreas Renner, Anthony Giddens “ helped to shape the term neoliberalism in its current sense”. Giddens equated neoliberalism with Thatcherism or the New Right , by which he includes economically liberal-conservative political conceptions. Ralf Dahrendorf assigns neoliberalism understood in this way to the “new economic-political orthodoxy”, of which Milton Friedman is considered to be the most influential representative. According to Renner, however, the catchwords “minimal state” and “market fundamentalism” could be assigned even more aptly to the “market radical”, “libertarian” minimal state concepts of Murray Rothbard , Israel M. Kirzner and others, which continue the tradition of the Austrian School in the USA today. Today the word neoliberalism is mainly used by scholars to denote market fundamentalism, not infrequently in connection with the economic policies of Ronald Reagan ( Reaganomics ) and Margaret Thatcher (Thatcherism).

Newer uses of the term

According to the economist Andreas Renner, neoliberalism in the modern use of the term is a political catchphrase for economically narrowed political concepts that do not solve social and ecological problems, but rather exacerbate them. However, these economistically narrowed political concepts have no basis in the ordoliberal theory of Eucken, Röpke and Rüstow, who during their lifetime turned themselves decisively against economically narrowed perspectives and, in particular, developed the counter-concept of " vital politics ". Renner calls on German economics to dispense with the vague term neoliberalism, since ordoliberalism is a distinctive term that already exists. After the end of the controversy about the market economy versus the planned economy, a more differentiated view of different types of market economies is becoming increasingly important. It is important to distance oneself from the libertarian “free-market liberalism” that is also represented.

According to Boas / Gans-Morse, the term neoliberalism has developed into an academic catchphrase, the meaning of which differs from that of other sociological terms such as B. “Democracy” is little debated. They show that the previous use of the term is strongly asymmetrical: In publications, the term is almost never used with positive normative value. Many free market proponents have stated that they avoided the term neoliberalism because of its negative connotation and switched to other terms, such as: B. John Williamson, who chose the term Washington Consensus .

The authors come to the conclusion that neoliberalism in its more recent use of the term fulfills all the conditions of an Essentially Contested Concept . Neoliberalism refers to a multitude of concepts whose unifying characteristic is the free market . Unlike other Essentially Contested Concepts such as B. “Democracy”, however, hinders meaningful academic debate on free markets by the fact that no common terminology is used. While opponents speak of neoliberalism, proponents of the free market resort to other terms. This does not lead to a debate that could narrow the definition and the underlying conflict, since each side only researches and publishes under its own terms. Thus, there is no discussion about whether one or the other negative phenomenon should actually be included under the term. However, the authors see no need to discard the term neoliberalism; rather, they reveal some scenarios of how the term neoliberalism can be used more usefully in empirical research.

The more recent use of the term neoliberalism can be roughly divided into four categories in addition to the economic history:

  1. Political concept: The word is most often associated with criticism of economic policy reforms. The Washington Consensus is often cited as an example of a neoliberal economic policy program; In some cases, the Washington Consensus is even used synonymously with neoliberalism. The economic reforms in the USA under Reagan ( Reaganomics ), in Great Britain under Thatcher ( Thatcherism ), and in New Zealand under Roger Douglas ( Rogernomics ) are often referred to as neoliberal. Within the economic policy concepts, three categories can be distinguished:
    1. Reduction of the state quota
    2. Privatization of former state tasks
    3. Deregulation of capital movements
    According to Joseph Stiglitz , neoliberal conviction is characterized by a combination of these three elements.
  2. Development model: In addition, there is the term neoliberal to denote a comprehensive state and regulatory model with a defined distribution of roles for trade unions, private companies and the state, which (especially in South America) replaced the state interventionist model of structuralist economic policy .
  3. Ideology: Furthermore, authors use the word in the analysis of a certain normative freedom of the individual vis-à-vis collectives, especially with regard to freedom as an all-encompassing social value that is promoted by reducing the state to a minimum. This category also includes the transfer of economic principles to areas of life beyond work and economic activity.
  4. Academic paradigm: Finally, neoliberal is used descriptively as a designation of a certain economic paradigm, especially neoclassical theory .

Gerhard Willke sees the term as a “battle slogan”, but also a political “project” with the pioneers Hayek and Milton Friedman.

The American political scientist Wendy Brown writes (based on Michel Foucault, among others; see there ) that neoliberalism is more than an economic policy, an ideology or a reorganization of the relationship between state and economy. Rather, it is about a reorganization of all thinking that changes all areas of life as well as people themselves according to an economic picture - with fatal consequences for democracy.



The term neoliberalism is used to denote a broad, heterogeneous current, whereby the firm demarcation from other economic and socio-political schools as well as the allocation of individual schools or people is disputed. It is also controversial how heterogeneous the views of those who belong to neoliberalism are.

Meier-Rust and Hegner, for example, who both presented Riistow's biographies, represent different views on the proximity or difference in content. According to Kathrin Meier-Rust, for example, at Colloque Walter Lippmann, the incompatibility of the “old liberals”, to which von Mises and von Hayek belonged, with the neoliberals Eucken, Röpke and Rüstow was unmistakably clear. In 1959, Riistow expressed his unease about “a number of old liberals, some of them very intransigent old liberals (...), especially in America, who wrongly and misleadingly call themselves 'new liberals' and thus cause great confusion. Unfortunately, we cannot proceed against this with patent litigation and trademark protection ”. According to Jan Hegner, however, neoliberal personalities would not differ in their fundamental views; rather, there are only nuances in the question of the scope of state tasks and responsibilities and the resulting possibilities for intervention.

According to Hegner, neoliberalism can be divided into socially oriented variants ( neoliberalism shaped by continental Europe ) and individually oriented variants ( neoliberalism shaped by Anglo-Saxon ). He counts the London School (Lionel Robbins, Edwin Cannan, Th. Gregory, FC Benham etc.), the Vienna School (Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich August von Hayek, Gottfried von Haberler, Fritz Machlup etc.) and the Chicago school among the individualistic-oriented variants Group (Milton Friedman, Henry C. Simons, G. Stigler, Frank Knight, etc.). “If one accepts the socially oriented variants of neoliberalism as an umbrella term, a further subdivision of the concepts can be made. Specifically, these are ordoliberalism (also Freiburg School; Walter Eucken, Franz Böhm, Hans Großmann-Doerth), sociological neoliberalism (Wilhelm Röpke, Alexander Rustow) and the social market economy. “The socially oriented variants would see a special obligation of the community to support those members of society who get into an emergency through no fault of their own. “All in all, this classification can only be made in consideration of the fact that these different variants, with basically the same aim, merely have different focuses and that their thinkers have mutually influenced one another. Ultimately, personal research priorities and attitudes and not differences in content determine the respective assignment of these representatives of the continental group. "

Following Ernst-Wolfram Dürr, Ralf Ptak observes that the individualistic-oriented neoliberalism of Anglo-Saxon character applies much more stringent standards when it comes to the role of the state in organizing the competition or the tasks of social policy. The differences between neoliberalism , which was shaped by continental Europe and neoliberalism , which was influenced by Anglo-Saxon and which were also reflected in violent arguments in the Mont Pèlerin Society , should not be overestimated according to Ptak. The fact that neoliberalism as a whole does not have a uniform program can be explained not least by the country-specific development paths to the bourgeois state and modern industrial society as well as the resulting differences in the formation of national economic dogmas and the theory of liberalism.

Despite the heterogeneity of the approaches, Lars Gertenbach sees a coincidence of content between the various schools. Both ordoliberalism and the Chicago School can thus be distinguished from classical liberalism (laissez-faire liberalism) on the one hand and socialism on the other. The epistemological break that separates neoliberalism from classical liberalism is based on Mises's theoretical course, but is only founded in the two later schools. According to Gertenbach, Hayek, who was the only one who played a decisive role in the Austrian School, the London School, the Chicago School and Ordoliberalism, became the point of convergence of neoliberalism. But despite this fundamental agreement, according to Gertenbach, there are also far-reaching differences between Hayek and ordoliberalism. "The ordoliberal project of consciously shaping a market-driven regulatory system, including the orientation towards the criterion of social justice, contradicts Hayek's theory of spontaneous order". Another difference in economic theory lies in the fact that, unlike Eucken, Hayek completely distanced himself from the neoclassical notion of a market equilibrium . The difference, however, consists less in the basic theoretical orientation, but is "directed towards the political program and finds its essential confirmation in the political rhetoric". In contrast to ordoliberalism, Hayek's neoliberalism does not see itself as a moderating and mediating way of the middle, especially in political terms.

Pies comes to the conclusion that despite differences in detail, the works of Hayek and Eucken show the same conception.

The economic ethicist Peter Ulrich sees the difference between (Anglo-Saxon) neoliberalism and ordoliberalism primarily in the fact that “efficiency-mad neoliberalism [...] only (represents) the primacy of politics as much as it does the state provision of the functional requirements of the market economy System in the sense of efficient capital utilization ”, while the“ pioneers of ordoliberalism, namely Wilhelm Röpke and Alexander Rüstow, less clearly Walter Eucken, […] emphatically advocate the primacy of political ethics over the economic logic of the market ”.

Concepts of a regulatory system in line with the market

Gertenbach sees “content overlaps” between Hayek's theory and ordoliberalism in the “necessity of a legal-institutional set of rules” for the market order. However, the ordoliberal idea of ​​a conscious design of a market-driven rule system and the political orientation on the criterion of social justice contradicts Hayek's theory of spontaneous order , since, according to Hayek's view, the attempt to consciously form rules is based on an “assumption of knowledge” (epistemological skepticism ). According to Ingo Pies, Hayek's plea not to plan the order could not be interpreted as if he had called for general political abstinence. Hayek does not use the expression “order” like Eucken in the sense of a rule category, but in the sense of a result category, which, according to Pies, has led to numerous misunderstandings in the literature. Hayek is concerned with the spontaneity of order, but not with the spontaneity of rules. For Hayek it is quite conceivable that the formation of a spontaneous order is based entirely on rules that were made on purpose.

Both Hayek and the Chicago School and Ordoliberalism speak out in favor of a state guarantee of the subsistence level. According to Reinhard Zintl , however, it is important for Hayek that it is not about correcting supposed injustices in the competitive process, but about collective responsibility. According to Philipp Batthyany, the principle applies to Hayek that (state) rules only apply to the types of behavior, but not to changes in market results, i.e. H. the distribution of power and income. He rejects income taxation with progressive tariffs. According to Eucken's ordoliberal conception, however, the income distribution resulting from competition, for example, requires a regulatory correction for households with low incomes, for example through income taxation with progressive pay rates . In certain circumstances the setting of a minimum wage is also encouraged.

According to Bernd Ziegler, the Chicago school represents a laissez-faire policy that assigns the state only very limited tasks. According to this, the state should protect private property, defend the country and support the poorest. Friedman in particular saw the welfare state as an expensive “monster”; he rejected social housing as well as state pension schemes or the minimum wage.

Competition rules

For the ordoliberal school, antitrust law guarantees the functional conditions of the free market; state action is considered necessary here. “The Chicago School does not see this because it assumes that competition will always arise due to the lack of entry barriers. In this way, even antitrust law becomes a form of unpopular regulation that needs to be pushed back. ”Hayek rejected a compulsory competition policy of the state, only in the case of monopolies on essential goods or services he saw state intervention as justified. "In Hayek's oeuvre it is consistently recognizable that Hayek classifies private, economic power in relation to the power of the state as not threatening freedom and against this background as not reprehensible ... For Hayek, economic monopolies and the market power emanating from them basically do not endanger individual freedom in addition, there is no endangering of competition… Hayek's late work tends to justify his position on the monopoly problem with the efficiency of competitive monopolies and thus not in the strict sense of freedom.

Neoliberalism shaped by continental Europe


The term “ordoliberalism” goes back to Hero Moeller and was introduced into the discussion in the 1950s. It only gradually gained acceptance and was partly used synonymously for German “neoliberalism”, partly as a more precise narrowing for the Freiburg School. Sometimes it is opposed to neoliberalism, insofar as 'neoliberalism' is limited to the ideas of the Viennese and Chicago schools developed under the influence of Hayek and Friedman in the Mont Pèlerin Society . The ordoliberalism of the Freiburg School occupies a central position within the German variety of neoliberalism. The Freiburg School came into being at the beginning of the 1930s when lawyers and economists under the direction of Euckens published the book series Problems of Theoretical Political Economy and the Order of the Economy . In their view, German law favors cartels and monopolies; therefore, they paid particular attention to anti-trust legislation and the restriction of economic power and the preservation of competition. This was included in her considerations on the economic structure of Germany after the end of National Socialism. Relationships existed with the resistance around Carl Friedrich Goerdeler and the Freiburg Circle .

“If a theory ever correctly interpreted the signs of the times and gave new impetus to an economic and social policy in accordance with its findings, then it was the thoughts of men who are now considered neo- or ordoliberals. You have given economic policy more and more socio-political accents and released it from the isolation of mechanistic, calculative thinking. "

- Ludwig Erhard
Walter Eucken
Walter Eucken

Eucken helped thinking in order models in Germany to break through. In his Basis der Nationalökonomie (1940) attempted to overcome the separation between theoretical (Anglo-Saxon) economics and the historical method still prevalent in Germany through "pointedly emphasizing abstraction". As a result he gains two basic types of ideal-typical economic systems: the central administration and transport economy. In the principles of economic policy (1952) he connects these models with real economic systems. He rejects mixed models because of their lack of guiding principles. On the basis of these models he develops an economic system of complete competition and shows how it could actually be realized. Only through permanent competition is it possible to reconcile economic power and individual freedom.

The guidelines set up by Eucken were condensed in exemplary fashion in the social market economy , as enforced by Ludwig Erhard (1949–1963 Federal Minister of Economics, 1963–1966 Federal Chancellor). Eucken is therefore considered to be the theoretical pioneer of the social market economy.

From 1948 he published the magazine ORDO - Yearbook for the Order of Economy and Society .

The Walter Eucken Institute at the University of Freiburg , which is dedicated to basic research into regulatory policy, and the Walter Eucken Archive , which deals with the reception of ordoliberalism in German and European politics, are named after him. The Ordnungspolitik Foundation was established on the 50th anniversary of his death .

Franz Bohm

Alongside Eucken, Franz Böhm is one of the founders of the Freiburg School (also Ordoliberalism ). One of his most effective teachings is the analysis of the interdependence of legal and economic systems , of private law society and the market economy. For him, the private law company is characterized by the separation of state and society. In order to develop further, it requires the competition regime. In his early writings, he took the view that the norm of the competition order would force complete competition constructivistically. The later writings abandon this requirement and limit themselves to freedom of competition within the legal framework ( freedom and order in the market economy ).

Further representatives of ordoliberalism

Other representatives of the Freiburg School are Hans Grossmann-Doerth , Hans Gestrich , Bernhard Pfister , Constantin von Dietze , Friedrich A. Lutz , Fritz W. Meyer , Karl Friedrich Maier , Leonhard Miksch , Adolf Lampe and Rudolf Johns . Erwin von Beckerath , Günter Schmölders and Heinrich Freiherr von Stackelberg are also closely associated with her .

Sociological (neo) liberalism

The theories of Alexander Rustow , Wilhelm Röpke and partly also Alfred Müller-Armack are referred to as sociological neoliberalism (also sociological liberalism or economic and social humanism ) based on Röpke . This is attributed as a special direction to ordoliberalism in a broader sense, although this allocation is controversial.

While the Freiburg School was mainly concerned with restricting economic power, Riistow and Röpke also looked at sociological problems, such as social cohesion (“social balance”) and mass. The instruments of ordoliberalism are therefore expanded to include social interventions. The market economy serves as a means of realizing Christian-humanistic ethics.

Wilhelm Röpke

“The measure of the economy is people. The measure of man is his relationship to God. "

- Wilhelm Röpke

For Röpke, the economic order is only one part of a social order: The task of the social order is to counteract the uprooting of people and thus counteract human susceptibility to collectivist trends. He recognized early trends towards the modern welfare state with a collectivist character, which he strongly criticized.

Alexander Riistow

In September 1932, Alexander Riistow outlined the goals of a new liberalism at a meeting of the Verein für Socialpolitik :

Alexander Riistow coined the term
neoliberalism in 1938

"In any case, the new liberalism, which is defensible today and which I represent with my friends, demands a strong state, a state above the economy, above the interested parties, where it belongs."

- Alexander Riistow

In this speech, which is also considered to be the hour of birth of German neoliberalism, Riistow blamed state interventions to avoid undesirable structural changes for massive economic and social undesirable developments. Instead of hindering these necessary adjustments, this process should rather be accelerated in order to keep friction losses low. Riistow turned against maintenance subsidies, but suggested as a third way between non-interventionism and steadily expanding interventionism to grant adjustment subsidies if they are granted in a temporally and materially limited scope or in exceptional situations. This is intended to accelerate the result of a structural change through targeted, market-compliant interventions in order to minimize adjustment costs.

Riistow saw the " strong state " as a counter-model to a powerless state that could no longer resist the onslaught of interest groups . His strength does not result from his full range of tasks or far-reaching competencies, but solely from his ability not to allow himself to be influenced by rival interest groups. This ability is based on the limitation of the state's tasks to maintaining the regulatory framework. According to Riistow, the market has a serving function, it is supposed to ensure the material supply of the individual and society. In the sphere of the market, competition is the organizational principle. However, the principle of competition does not promote social integration; a society cannot be based on this principle alone. Therefore, as a second sphere, Riistow distinguishes the market edge, by which he understands what is actually human, i.e. culture, ethics, religion and family. Here moral values ​​are the principle of organization. This sphere has the task of ensuring integration, solidarity and moralization. The state has the task of delimiting the two spheres from one another and of setting and guaranteeing the regulatory framework within the respective sphere and only interferes in those spheres where self-organization does not work (principle of subsidiarity).


The most important Italian scientists are Luigi Einaudi , Costantino Bresciani Turroni , Bruno Leoni and Carlo Antoni . Luigi Einaudi was President of the Banca d'Italia and later became Vice President and Minister of Finance, from 1948 to 1955 he was Italian President.


Representatives of neoliberalism in France are Louis Rougier , the initiator of the Colloque Walter Lippmann , Louis Baudin , Maurice Allais , Gaston Leduc , Daniel Villey and Jacques Rueff . From 1980 the group des Nouveaux Économistes appeared.

Anglo-Saxon neoliberalism

School of Cannan

At the London School of Economics in the 1930s, an economic school developed around Edwin Cannan that was in contrast to the then prevailing Fabian socialism . Cannan himself was still under the influence of the English classics. In addition to its founder Cannan, the school included Frederic Charles Benham , Theodore Emmanuel Gregory , William Harold Hutt , Frank Walter Paish , Arnold Plant and Lionel Charles Robbins . Except for Hutt, who taught at the University of Cape Town , everyone worked at the LSE.

Mises and Hayek in particular exerted influence on the School of Cannan. Hayek was a professor in London from 1935 to 1950. In particular, the criticism of the centrally controlled economy had a lasting effect. Furthermore, the School of Cannan distinguished itself from Keynesianism . Nevertheless, they were far from classic laissez-faire liberalism. The reception of the group in economics was - measured against Keynesianism - negligible.

The Institute of Economic Affairs was founded in 1957 by the members of the group. The School of Cannon published the so-called Hobart Papers , the Readings , the Occasional Papers and from 1980 the Journal of Economic Affairs .

Karl Popper

Karl Popper is occasionally classified as an early neoliberal. He was friends with Hayek and owed him a teaching position at the London School of Economics and Political Science . In his critical rationalism , especially his theory of the open society , he criticized historicism and totalitarianism . He advocated a social philosophy with moderate intervention by the state, which must be under democratic control. For Popper, however, democracy is not the rule of the majority or the selection of the government by the majority, but is merely characterized by the fact that the government can be removed by a majority. He made a distinction between piecework technology, which he advocated, and utopian social technology, which he rejected and ascribed equally to fascism and communism. The utopian social technology is therefore characterized by the wrong view for Popper that real social changes must aim at the form of society as a whole. Instead, Popper calls for gradual reforms to remove the most pressing social problems. This view was discussed controversially. a. by Jürgen Habermas in the positivism dispute between Critical Rationalism and the Frankfurt School .

Popper was originally a socialist, at times even a communist. However, he turned away from communism when he saw how people in his circle of friends at the time saw themselves as future leaders of the workers and eight of his comrades were shot by the police in the 1919 shooting in Hörlgasse when they tried to free prisoners . Popper blamed the ideology for this, that revolution is inevitable and that everything must be done to bring it about, and that even if it costs death, it is still less than capitalism otherwise claims. In his autobiography he later wrote that he had remained a socialist for many years after that, had believed in a simple life in an egalitarian society, but then realized that it was just a beautiful dream; that freedom is more important than equality, that equality endangers freedom, and that if freedom were lost, there would not even be equality among the unfree.

He became a founding member of the Mont Pèlerin Society, but differed from the other founding members in that, before it was founded and at the first meetings, he emphatically advocated including socialists in it, specifically in order to counter the homogeneity of the basic assumptions. In accordance with his epistemological positions, he regarded such a homogeneity as harmful. He hoped that the Mont Pèlerin Society could perhaps bring about a reconciliation of liberalism and socialism. However, his request was not heeded.

Popper was in favor of a free market, but in an interview shortly before his death he criticized it for elevating the principle to an idol. Free markets are necessary so that the needs of the consumers are not produced, but humanitarianism is more essential: the most important thing is securing peace (for which he also considered the means of war to be legitimate), then that nobody should go hungry, a third party The fourth place is full employment, and fourth is education. In this respect, Popper's views are atypical for neoliberalism. This is even true of early neoliberalism, which was more oriented towards the welfare state than was the case after the old liberals returned to laissez faire .

Austrian school

The assignment of the Austrian school to neoliberalism is controversial: some authors see their representatives from the third generation as typical representatives of neoliberalism, other authors, including representatives of the neo-Austrians , deny that Mise belongs to neoliberalism and see his teachings in contrast to and assign it to classical liberalism. Alexander Rustow and Wilhelm Röpke also assigned the Austrian School to old or paleoliberalism, which they separated from neoliberalism.

Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises

Mises developed a strictly microeconomic analysis of interventionism : In his early works Liberalismus (1927) and Critique of Interventionism (1929) , he examined state interventions for their effectiveness. He comes to the conclusion that state interventions never achieve the goal they have set themselves. Instead, they led to increasing restrictions on individual freedom through authoritative orders, bans and regulations . This leads to a creeping erosion process (see oil stain theorem ). Mises therefore rejects mixed systems as permanently impossible. His most comprehensive work Economics. Theory of Action and Economics (1940) develops a deductive theory of human action on the basis of methodological individualism .

Friedrich von Hayek
Friedrich August von Hayek (1981)

As a student of von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek is usually assigned to the Austrian school. In some cases, however, Hayek is also assigned to ordoliberalism or is seen in the tradition of the Freiburg School. Hayek himself explicitly considered himself to be the successor to his late friend Eucken when he was appointed to the University of Freiburg in 1962. Hayek sees himself in the Constitution of Freedom (1960) "very explicitly in the succession of the classical liberalism of Hume and Smith and their conception of the evolutionary social development." In 1981 Hayek declared that he was not a neoliberal, but that he adhered to the principles of the want to develop classical liberalism without fundamentally changing it. Also in the 1980s there was a shift in the meaning of the term neoliberalism, this was now also used as a fighting term to devalue the ideas of Hayek (and Milton Friedman ).

Hayek's influential monograph The Road to Serfdom (1940) opposes the increasing socialist tendencies he observed in Great Britain. Similar tendencies would have led to National Socialism in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. If National Socialism was considered a capitalist movement, especially among left intellectuals, Hayek assigned it to socialism. Both come from the philosophical tradition of collectivism , which only shows itself once in an international and at another time in a nationalistic form. Ultimately, both demanded “the rule over the means for all our ends” and tried to use violence to direct the whole of society towards one goal. The restriction of economic freedom is inseparable from the restriction of political freedom, the two forms of collectivism are totalitarian.

While the danger posed by socialism in the western countries seemed to him to be increasingly averted by the example of the Eastern bloc countries, he saw the development of the welfare state with increasing concern : In The Constitution of Freedom (1960) he therefore devoted himself to the examination of the freedom of the individual and its freedom Relationship to state legislation.

The endangerment of individual human rights by a totalitarian democracy is finally discussed in Law, Legislation and Freedom : If he advocates democracy in principle as a utilitarian means of restricting political power, it does not, as such, lead to the preservation of individual freedom. He sees the danger of increasing influence on politics by interest groups. The decisive factor is the relationship between democratic decision-making and individual human rights in order to prevent the danger of a dictatorship of the majority : “Liberalism [...] sees the main task in limiting the coercive power of every government, be it democratic or not; the dogmatic democrat, on the other hand, only knows a limitation of state power and that is the opinion of the respective majority. "

Hayek's contributions to the theory of spontaneous orders and his reflections on “competition as a method of discovery” are also of importance. Building on this, Hayek contrasted neoclassical thinking with his theory of cultural evolution.

Hayek pleaded for a minimum income "below which nobody needs to sink". This minimum protection is a self-evident duty of society and also serves crime prevention:

Chicago School

The Chicago School developed from the opposition to the increasing interventionism (especially to the New Deal ) in the USA. Its representatives were mostly also political and tried to translate a liberal order into political reality. While the representatives of the Chicago School agreed at early meetings with the German neoliberals in support of an active state competition policy and a clear, market-flanking regulatory framework, the leading representatives of the Chicago School turned away from these principles in the course of the 1950s.

Henry C. Simons

In Economic Policy for a Free Society (1948), Henry Calvert Simons drafted the foundations for a free social and economic order. He saw their threats on the one hand in monopoly positions - these should be nationalized if necessary - and on the other hand in the then financial constitution of the USA. As early as 1936, in Monetary Policy , he had turned against the existing monetary policy, which he saw favored currency manipulation. Instead, he advocates a rule-based money supply with the aim of price level stability. In 1938, he advocated a flat tax of (Income Personal Taxation (1938)) . Instead of centralizing government tasks, he set increasing federalization, especially for fiscal tasks (Federal Tax Reform, 1950).

Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman

The Nobel laureate Milton Friedman is one of the most important representatives of neo-liberalism. He developed the monetary policy theory of the Chicago School on monetarism . He rejects the nationalization of natural monopolies as not expedient. Likewise, state income redistribution does not achieve the goals it has set itself (Capitalism and Freedom (1962)). He is one of the main proponents of flexible exchange rates .

Later he transferred the economic analysis to political scenarios and developed a theory of lobbyism and the influence of associations and interest groups on parties and politics:

“Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest? [...] Just tell me where in the world you're going to find these angels who are going to organize society for us? "

“Is it really true that political self-interest is in any way more noble than economic self-interest? [...] Can you tell me where you want to find these angels who are to plan our society? "

- Milton Friedman : Interview 1979 with Phil Donahue

In addition to maintaining law and order and defining property rights, one of the tasks of the state was to promote competition, counteract technical monopolies and external effects, and complement private charity. In Capitalism and Freedom , Friedman formulated his proposal for a basic income model called negative income tax to alleviate poverty.

Like Hayek, Milton Friedman distanced himself from the term neoliberalism in later publications and described himself as a representative of classical liberalism ("old-style liberalism").

Virginia School of Political Economy

The most important representatives of the Virginia School include Nobel Prize winners James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock , who made significant contributions to the Public Choice Theory .

Neoliberalism as a paradigm

A (post-) Keynesian reading regards neoliberalism less as a dogma-historical flowering of economic theory, but as an epoch-defining political-economic paradigm between the mid-1970s and mid-2010s. In this reading, an economic model developed in the post-war period, which was based on the entrepreneur Henry Ford and based on mass production and based on the economist John Maynard Keynes assigned the state an active role in economic activity. Central aspects of this “Keynesian Fordism” were a wage development that was oriented towards productivity growth , as well as an active economic policy to stabilize the economy.

In Europe in particular, the organized “large classes” of the Fordist industrial society had a privileged status, namely the umbrella organizations of employees and entrepreneurs. Their corporatist structures practically formed a second level of government; their alliance ensured the economic success of this variant of capitalism ( golden age ), which came into crisis in the mid-1970s. Corporatism was smashed or pushed back by the neoliberal political paradigm first in England and then in other states.


A politico-economic statement says that the unions reacted incorrectly to the oil crisis in the early 1970s. There was no more to distribute because of the rising oil prices, but less, so the wage increases led to inflation instead of reducing unemployment . An explanation of the history of ideas sees the end of Keynesian Fordism paradigmatically optimally prepared by the bustling economists Friedrich August von Hayek and Milton Friedman . A class-specific explanation believes less in the power of ideas, but sees the economic regime change of the 1970s as a restoration of the power of the capitalist class as a result of class struggles that broke out with the oil crisis. An ecological explanation indicates that the oil shortage could not have arisen if resource consumption had not reached its carrying capacity for the first time in the 1970s. A financial statement emphasizes that with the end of the Bretton Woods system and the emergence of international foreign exchange markets in the early 1970s, the way was paved for the "financialization" of the world economy. The old real economy model has been replaced by a new finance-driven model.



Under financialization means the rise of the financial sector to lead industry and the gradual subjugation of all other sectors of the economy under the logic of the financial sector. Gerald A. Epstein , economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst , defines it as the increasing role of financial motives, financial markets, financial actors and financial institutions in the operation of the domestic and international economies (“the growing role of financial motives, financial markets , Financial actors and financial institutions in the process of domestic and international economy ”). The liberalization of the financial markets has made global investments easier and easier. More and more capital collection agencies such as insurance companies and pension funds, but also private households, invested their money directly and indirectly through capital investment companies in foreign stocks and bonds. A declining proportion of these financial assets was moved in the conventional banking system, while an increasing proportion was in a gray area of ​​hedge funds, mutual funds or index products.

An important characteristic of financialization is the shareholder value orientation, which reduced all corporate goals to shareholder interests. Exchange rate gains became more important than returns, and long-term profitability took a back seat to short-term financial indicators. The increasing speculation led to price fluctuations, volatile prices, regular financial crises and an overall unstable economic environment. Distributions, share buybacks, and financial investments became more important than physical investments. The volatile prices and the shareholder value orientation made physical capital investments less attractive for companies from the supply side. Accompanied by a high interest rate policy of the central banks, the profitability shifted from real capital investments to financial assets.

In this context, a risk also appears that the enormous growth in financial assets was not offset by a corresponding growth in goods and services. Since in an economy the financial assets of one always correspond to the financial liabilities of the other, the financialization is ultimately something like a dramatic balance sheet extension .


A second megatrend of the neoliberal epoch is closely linked to financialization, namely the redistribution from labor to capital and within labor income from poor to rich. Perhaps the most important characteristic was that mass incomes no longer kept pace with productivity growth. As a result, the share of mass income in national income decreased significantly in all industrialized countries, while the share of capital income rose at the same time.

Location competition

Another central feature of the neoliberal model is increasingly aggressive competition between locations . This transfers the logic of individual economic competition to entire national economies, whereby it is overlooked that, in contrast to corporate competition, the competitors are also customers. Above all, however, the location competition became the central rhetorical figure for the implementation of a new economic policy, the goals of which were low inflation and low national debt. The high interest rate policy of the central banks achieved the first goal. The governments' austerity policy, however, led, contrary to the actual objective, to higher national debt with stagnating government quotas. The sluggish development of wage incomes undermined the financial basis of the welfare state. Instead of burdening the growing capital income to compensate, taxes on capital income were lowered precisely in these decades.

Balance sheet

The shareholder value orientation, the liberalization of the financial markets, the volatile calculation prices and the shift in profitability between the real and financial economy are likely to have had fundamental effects on the investment behavior of companies. These supply-side aspects were supplemented on the demand side by the great redistribution during the neoliberal era. Due to financialization and wage restraint, investments in relation to profits decreased in the industrialized countries. At the same time, the redistribution led to a debt dynamic. In the USA, stagnating mass incomes were more than offset by private borrowing, while in Germany and Austria wage restraint led to a dampening of imports and a corresponding build-up of current account surpluses. In the course of the redistribution, the private sector in the USA, in Germany and Austria abroad and in almost all countries the public sector have borrowed. All economic sectors were thrown out of whack in one direction or the other and the gap between income and expenditure steadily widened. Financialization acted as a buffer for imbalances between sectors. The turmoil in the subprime mortgage market that made itself felt in the US in 2007/08 was without a doubt the trigger for the crash in the financial markets. The permanent increase in debt inherent in the neoliberal model is, according to the (post) Keynesian reading, the cause of the 2008 financial crisis .

Reception and criticism

Noam Chomsky

In 1998, the linguist Noam Chomsky published Profit over People - Neoliberalism and Global Order. In it he takes the view that neoliberalism has achieved worldwide hegemony since Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher . This has led to the privilege of a few rich people at the expense of the great majority. Large corporations and cartels dominated political life in the USA. The free market thus does not in the least produce a competitive order. Democracy is permanently undermined by the political influence of large companies on the US parties. The US governments contributed to this through subsidies and import tariffs . A typical example of government support for large corporations is the World Trade Organization . Chomsky sees libertarian socialism as an alternative .

Michel Foucault

The French philosopher Michel Foucault first analyzed the development of modern penal systems in Europe in his 1975 work “Surveiller et punir” ( Monitoring and punishing. The birth of the prison ). In it he initially only described "monitoring and punishing" as a system of exercise of power that has been established and perfected over the last four centuries. In doing so, he developed “surveillance” and “ discipline ” as central terms in his theory of an overall social concept in which surveillance becomes both a means and a tool for disciplining individual individuals within a society.

With the use of the term “ governmentality ” in lectures at the Collège de France from 1977 to 1978, Michel Foucault captured the subject level of the “government” as responsible or governing actors within the framework of his work “The Will to Know ” 1977 ( Bio Power ) and "monitoring and punishing" analyzed systems of the established power mechanisms or micro-powers.

In the lecture “Naissance de la biopolitique” on January 24, 1979, Michel Foucault dealt with the relationship between German ordoliberalism (and especially Walter Euckens) and neoliberalism and classical liberalism, as well as the influence of Edmund Husserl's philosophy on Eucken.

Michel Foucault did not appear explicitly as a "direct" critic of neoliberalism; rather, through his analytical preparatory work or the formation of theory and terms, he developed the basis of the governmentality studies that are popular in scientific discourse today , which often deal with "neoliberal" restructuring of the state or of society.

Stephan Schulmeister

The Austrian economist Stephan Schulmeister sees neoliberalism as “the most successful project of counter-enlightenment and the self-incapacitation of politics”. He was "the ideology in the interest of finance capital (the" rentiers "), not real capital (the entrepreneurs)." His "" therapies "aggravate the" diseases "of unemployment, precarious employment, national debt, social insecurity and poverty." The neoliberal The social model is a "false whole" and "ethics and morals have no place in this worldview".

Neo-Marxist interpretation

From a neo-Marxist perspective, neoliberalism is a class project. Neoliberalism interprets this perspective as a reaction to the weakening of capitalist claims to rule during the phase of Fordism . The goals of this countermovement are to push back employee interests, increase business profits and polarize income distribution . One of the most influential critical essays from a neo-Marxist point of view comes from David Harvey . In his book A Brief History of Neoliberalism , Harvey points out that neoliberalism can also be interpreted as a political project to restore the power of economic elites.

Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau see neoliberalism as an attempt to question the ideas of freedom of classical liberalism and the following political ideologies. Liberalism sees state interventions to combat inequalities as a means of gaining freedom. Political freedom was soon included in the discourse, and ultimately poverty and large social inequalities were portrayed as factors that endanger freedom. Neoliberalism, on the other hand, tries to return “to the traditional conception of freedom, which is understood as non-interference in the right of unlimited appropriation and in the mechanisms of the capitalist market economy”. This includes the attempt "to discredit every 'positive' conception of freedom as potentially totalitarian."

"Progressive" neoliberalism

Nancy Fraser recognizes an alliance of the advocates of neoliberal politics - particularly finance capital, tech companies, and "symbolic industries" - with the liberal-progressive movements that would have campaigned against discrimination in the Clinton era . The women's movement , but also other movements of the underprivileged (anti-racism, multiculturalism, LGBTQ movement) would have made the mistake of sacrificing the issue of social balance to a false "understanding of emancipation under the auspices of achievement, diversity and empowerment". They were committed to the “building of a meritocratic performance society” and “propagated the storming of the management floors”, while the simple service work was passed on to “poor, colored migrants” and the old industry “fell victim to”. Hillary Clinton is a typical representative of this constellation; it represents finance capital and feminism at the same time in an alliance that Fraser calls progressive neoliberalism . Sociologist Michael Kreiter speaks in this context of a "neoliberal multiculturalism": the academic elites would have the "color blindness" ( color blindness ) of neoliberalism fully internalized and welcomed them in terms of a meritocratic competition, with the participation of immigrants could participate, the promotion of disadvantaged in their own country, however, rule out what would lead to new lines of division.

Criticism from an ecological perspective

Some environmentalists see the form of the globalized economy, which has arisen through the deregulation of markets, privatization and a reduction in the state quota, as a threat to the ecological balance and natural diversity of our planet. Removing market restrictions would ignore the fact that biological resources are limited. Neoliberal concepts of the market, which put private return expectations in the foreground, would promote an overexploitation of the biosphere and harm the common good, because all money that is apparently earned from nowhere comes from some kind of liquidation of social, human or natural capital.

Experience from the Corona crisis

According to the economist and president of the German Institute for Economic Research Marcel Fratzscher , the limits of free markets and the strength of politics became apparent in the Corona crisis. If companies were to rely solely on free competition, the risks would currently be abundant. He told the German Press Agency: "I would say that the Corona crisis is something like the last nail in the coffin for neoliberalism." In addition to the Spiegel , the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also took up Fratzscher's statement in its news service.

In Chile, the corona virus is exacerbating the problems of the neoliberal development model against which millions have protested in recent months. Because the pandemic shows that economic interests were put before social interests in the country. Now three crises are becoming more visible: the health crisis, the social crisis and the democracy crisis.

To cushion the crisis in Georgia, the government, which has hitherto mostly adhered to neoliberal doctrines, is resorting to unfamiliar means: price controls for basic foodstuffs, support for the unemployed for six months and a temporary waiver of income tax for the first 750 lari (approx. 220 euros); Even for incomes of up to 1,500 Lari, the previously sacred “flat tax” is suddenly in question. One of the side effects of SARS-CoV-2 could be that old ideological structures are shaking in the Caucasus as well.

The Financial Times wrote in a historical text, "The virus exposes the fragility of the social contract," was the title of the article written by the newspaper's chief editor. She argued that the prevailing political direction in recent years must be reversed and that proposals such as a universal basic income and higher wealth taxes must be considered. In order to demand collective sacrifices, one must offer a social contract that benefits everyone. Indeed, billions are now being spent on the social security system in the UK. In Sweden the ceiling for unemployment insurance has been raised. Apparently the middle class remembers that the welfare state doesn't just protect the weak and poor.


Literature on economic theory

Primary literature

Secondary literature

  • Hans Besters: Neoliberalism . In: Roland Vaubel and Hans D. Barbier (Hrsg.): Handbuch Marktwirtschaft . Neske, Pfullingen 1986, p. 107-122 .
  • Willi Alfred Boelcke : Liberalism: 3b) Neoliberalism . In: Willi Albers (Hrsg.): Concise dictionary of economics . tape 5 . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1983, p. 44-45 .
  • David J. Gerber: Constitutionalizing the Economy: German Neoliberalism, Competition Law and the 'New Europe' . In: The American Journal of Comparative Law . tape 42 , 1994, pp. 25-84 .
  • David Harvey : A Little History of Neoliberalism . Rotpunktverlag, Zurich 1994.
  • Gerrit Meijer: The History of Neoliberalism: Affinity to Some Developments in Economics in Germany . In: International Journal of Social Economics . Vol. 14, No. 7/8/9 , 1987, ISSN  1758-6712 , pp. 142-155 .
  • Gerrit Meijer: The History of Neoliberalism: A General View and Developments in Several Countries . In: Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Economiche e Commerciali . Vol. 34, 1987, pp. 577-591 .
  • Christian Müller: Neoliberalism and Freedom. On the socio-ethical concern of the Ordo School . In: ORDO . tape 58 , 2007, p. 97-106 .
  • Egon Edgar Nawroth: The social and economic philosophy of neoliberalism . Kerle, Heidelberg 1962.
  • Jürgen Nordmann: The long march to neoliberalism. From Red Vienna to the free market. Popper and Hayek in Discourse. VSA Verlag, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 978-3-89965-145-4 (also Diss. Marburg 2004).
  • HM Oliver Jr: German Neoliberalism . In: Quarterly Journal of Economics . Vol. 74, 1960, pp. 117-149 .
  • A. Peacock and H. Willgerodt: German Neoliberals and the Social Market Economy . MacMillan, London 1989.
  • Philip Plickert: Changes in Neoliberalism. A study on the development and charisma of the “Mont Pèlerin Society” . Lucius & Lucius Verlag, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8282-0441-6 .
  • Andreas Renner: Neoliberalism - An attempt to clarify the terms . In: Walter Bührer (Ed.): Switzerland under pressure from globalization . Sauerländer, Aarau 1999, p. 35-50 . Also published as The Two “Neoliberalisms” . In: Questions of Freedom . Issue 26 (October / December), 2000.
  • Manfred E. Streit: Neoliberalism - A questionable system of ideas? In: ORDO . tape 57 , 2006, p. 91-98 .
  • Milene Wegmann: Early neoliberalism and European integration , Nomos, Baden-Baden 2002 ISBN 3-7890-7829-8
  • Hans Willgerodt: Neoliberalism - Origin, Concept of Battle and Opinion . In: ORDO . tape 57 , 2006, p. 47-89 .
  • Gerhard Willke: Neoliberalismus , Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-593-37208-8
  • Joachim Zweynert: The emergence of economic paradigms - theoretical historical considerations . In: Freiburg discussion papers on the economics of order . No. 8 , 2007, ISSN  1437-1510 .
  • Wendy Brown : The Creeping Revolution - How Neoliberalism Destroys Democracy . Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-518-58681-5 .

Literature on neoliberalism as a catchphrase

Reception and criticism

Primary literature
Secondary literature
  • Nils Goldschmidt and Hermann Rauchenschwandtner: The Philosophy of Social Market Economy: Michel Foucault's Analysis of Ordoliberalism . In: Freiburg discussion papers on the economics of order . April 2007, ISSN  1437-1510 .
  • Robert W. McChesney: Noam Chomsky and the Struggle Against Neoliberalism . In: Monthly Review . Vol.50, no. 11 , April 1, 1999, pp. 40-47 .
  • Ljubiša Mitrović: Bourdieu's Criticism of the Neoliberal Philosophy of Development, the Myth of Mondialization and the New Europe . In: Facta Universitatis. Philosophy, Sociology and Psychology . Vol. 4, No. 1 , 2005, p. 37-49 .
  • Michael A. Peters: Neoliberal Governmentality: Foucault on the Birth of Biopolitics . In: Susanne Weber and Susanne Maurer (eds.): Governmentality and educational science. Knowledge - Power - Transformation . VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2006, ISBN 978-3-531-14861-8 , doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-531-90194-7 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Neoliberalism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Taylor C. Boas and Jordan Gans-Morse: Neoliberalism: From New Liberal Philosophy to Anti-Liberal Slogan. In: Studies in Comparative International Development. 44, No. 2, 2009, ISSN  0039-3606 , pp. 137-161.
  2. Hans Willgerodt : The neoliberalism - emergence, battle term and controversy . In: Ordo , Volume 57, 2006, pp. 47-89, ISSN  0048-2129
  3. Oliver Marc Hartwich: Neoliberalism: The Genesis of a Political Swearword (PDF; 316 kB)
  4. Taylor C. Boas and Jordan Gans-Morse: Neoliberalism: From New Liberal Philosophy to Anti-Liberal Slogan . In: Studies in Comparative International Development . 44, No. 2, 2009, ISSN  0039-3606 .
  5. Andreas Reckwitz: The market of our wishes. In: The time. November 28, 2018, accessed December 21, 2018 .
  6. Jurgen Reinhoudt, Serge Audier: The Walter Lippmann Colloquium. The Birth of Neo-Liberalism . 2018, ISBN 978-3-319-65885-8 . , Pp. 6-7.
  7. ^ Philip Mirowski, Dieter Plehwe: The Road From Mont Pelerin , 2009, ISBN 978-0-674-03318-4 , p. 13.
  8. a b c Oliver Marc Hartwich , Neoliberalism: The Genesis of a Political Swearword (PDF; 316 kB), Center for Independent Studies, 2009, ISBN 1-86432-185-7 , p. 20.
  9. a b Uwe Andersen and Wichard Woyke (eds.): Concise dictionary of the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany - Basics, conception and implementation of the social market economy . 5th edition. Leske + Budrich, Opladen 2003 ( online licensed edition Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education 2003).
  10. Duden Wirtschaft from A to Z. 3rd edition Dudenverlag, Mannheim 2008, p. 38.
  11. Oliver Marc Hartwich , Neoliberalism: The Genesis of a Political Swearword (PDF; 316 kB), Center for Independent Studies, 2009, ISBN 1-86432-185-7 , p. 22.
  12. ^ A b Taylor C. Boas and Jordan Gans-Morse: Neoliberalism: From New Liberal Philosophy to Anti-Liberal Slogan . In: Studies in Comparative International Development . tape 44 , no. 2 , 2009, ISSN  0039-3606 , p. 150 , doi : 10.1007 / s12116-009-9040-5 .
  13. ^ A b c Taylor C. Boas and Jordan Gans-Morse: Neoliberalism: From New Liberal Philosophy to Anti-Liberal Slogan . In: Studies in Comparative International Development . tape 44 , no. 2 , 2009, ISSN  0039-3606 , p. 146 , doi : 10.1007 / s12116-009-9040-5 .
  14. ^ A b Werner Plumpe: Economic crises. Past and present . Beck, Munich 2010, p. 98.
  15. a b c d e f g h i j Gerrit Meijer: The History of Neoliberalism: A General View and Developments in Several Countries . In: Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Economiche e Commerciali . Vol. 34, 1987, pp. 577-591 .
  16. Christoph Butterwegge, Bettina Lösch, Ralf Ptak, Critique of Neoliberalism , Springer, 2008, ISBN 3-531-15809-0 , pp. 17-19.
  17. Oliver Marc Hartwich , Neoliberalism: The Genesis of a Political Swearword (PDF; 316 kB), Center for Independent Studies, 2009, ISBN 1-86432-185-7 , p. 13.
  18. Oliver Marc Hartwich , Neoliberalism: The Genesis of a Political Swearword (PDF; 316 kB), Center for Independent Studies, 2009, ISBN 1-86432-185-7 , p. 18.
  19. Oliver Marc Hartwich , Neoliberalism: The Genesis of a Political Swearword (PDF; 316 kB), Center for Independent Studies, 2009, ISBN 1-86432-185-7 , pp. 19, 20.
  20. Quotation from: Katrin Meyer-Rust: Alexander Rustow - History Interpretation and Liberal Engagement, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-608-91627-X , p. 69.
  21. ^ Philip Mirowski, Dieter Plehwe: The Road From Mont Pelerin . 2009, ISBN 978-0-674-03318-4 , p. 15.
  22. ^ Philip Mirowski, Dieter Plehwe: The Road From Mont Pelerin . 2009, ISBN 978-0-674-03318-4 , p. 19.
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