The Ordoliberalismus is a concept for a market-based economic system in which one by the state -created regulatory framework to economic competition and the freedom of citizens on the market designed to ensure.
The concept of ordoliberalism was essentially developed by the so-called Freiburg School of Economics at the University of Freiburg , to which Walter Eucken , Franz Böhm , Leonhard Miksch and Hans Großmann-Doerth belonged. The first approaches can be found in the 1937 book “ Ordinance of the Economy” . However, the term ordoliberalism was first coined by Hero Moeller in 1950 based on the magazine ORDO - Yearbook for the Order of Economy and Society . The name goes back to the ordo idea of the scholastic university theology , as differentiated from the closed monastic theology at that time ( Latin ordo "order, [knight] order").
The theoretical starting point of ordoliberalism was the teachings of Adam Smith and other representatives of classical economics . But ordoliberalism is also based on the negative experiences with both the state interventionism of the first half of the 20th century and with the laissez-faire - liberalism . A central economic planning in the Soviet Union and the Nazi regime in the German Reich refused Walter Eucken from, especially since the suppression of economic freedom, the repression goes hand in hand also of political freedom. The central concern for Eucken was a “humane and functional order” that unites political and economic freedom.
In order to understand ordoliberalism, a distinction must be made between the structuring of the forms of order in the economy on the one hand and the direct control of economic processes on the other. Ordoliberalism sees a politically established framework, the Ordo , as the basis for functioning competition; The state can and should largely stay out of the economic process itself. Eucken summed up the model of ordoliberalism as follows: State planning of forms - yes; state planning and control of the economic process - no . The aim of ordoliberalism is to reconcile social ideas and the performance principle , order and decentralization .
Eucken developed the basic principles of a competitive order that should guarantee efficiency and freedom through the unhindered operation of the competitive process. For Eucken, the constituent principles of the competitive order are a functioning price system , free access to the markets , private ownership of the means of production , freedom of contract , liability principle and a constancy of economic policy . Since Eucken considered it impossible to achieve a competitive order without the monetary value being sufficiently stable, he assigned the primacy to monetary policy . A policy geared towards the implementation of the competitive order must take into account the togetherness of the constituent principles of such a competitive order, as well as the interdependence of the economic order with other areas of life. The individual economic subjects should also bear full responsibility or be liable for their actions (liability principle - according to Walter Eucken, “Whoever has the benefit must also bear the damage”). That is why parts of ordoliberalism criticize limited liability society .
According to Eucken, there are areas in which the constituent principles of the competitive order are not sufficient to keep the competitive order functioning. He names social policy , efficiency- related monopoly positions , income distribution , labor markets and environmental problems. The last four areas mentioned coincide with the regulatory principles elaborated by Eucken. However, the measures required to enforce the regulatory principles must not be implemented through a selective economic policy, but must be based on the principles of the economic constitution.
Eucken devotes a lot of space to questions of social security and social justice . For Eucken, properly understood social policy is saved in a regulatory policy that enables individuals to help themselves. Efficiency-related monopoly positions d. H. Concentrations of economic power through monopolies (including state monopolies), cartels and other forms of market dominance should be prevented by the state. B. by an independent cartel office . The distribution of income resulting from competition needs a regulatory correction for households with low incomes, for example through income taxation with a progressive rate profile . There may be a need for regulatory action on the labor market if wages fall below the subsistence level and if you are unemployed . Although these problems can largely be solved through optimal competition on the supply and demand side , minimum wages are advocated under certain circumstances . In the labor markets , too , neither suppliers nor buyers should have monopolistic positions of power. Eucken sees the difference between material goods and labor markets in the fact that work is not a commodity. In order to prevent exploitation, legacy on the labor markets must be countered by monopoly-like organizations. Eucken addressed this demand to both the employers and the trade unions . Unions would become problematic bodies of power if they attempt to drive wages above competitive wages or impair the mobility of workers. However, unions played an important role in balancing out the inequality of the market positions of workers and employers. In environmental policy , government intervention is seen as necessary to limit external effects .
The economic policy, which was largely introduced by Ludwig Erhard in the Federal Republic of Germany , was based on the one hand on Alfred Müller-Armack's model of the social market economy , on the other hand on ordoliberal guidelines established by Eucken.
Ordoliberalism considers a framework to be necessary as the completely free market tends to dissolve itself. Vendors join forces, form cartels and negotiate prices. The providers could thus restrict competition - and thus the functionality of the market (legacy of the market). The damage competition could gain a preponderance over the performance competition . Ordoliberalism derives the tasks of the state and parts of the regulatory framework from this analysis . The regulatory framework must contain antitrust and competition laws, promote market transparency and free market access .
According to ordoliberalism, the ideal of complete competition ( complete competition ) has already been realized in individual markets. The yardstick for this is not the number of players on the market or the homogeneity of the goods , but rather whether the market players are powerless in relation to price formation (e.g. the grain market). The idea of order in Eucken is primarily directed towards the existing order. Here you can find forms of order that “correspond to the nature of the thing and the person” ... or not. He presents this as morphology (based on Goethe ). In a state of complete competition, the economic process is in market equilibrium for him . Therefore this "market form" is to be aimed for. In contrast to the oligopoly or the monopoly, nobody is able to economically control another market player.
The Ordo Thought
The ordo idea comes from "one of the highest symbolic values [...] of scholastic metaphysics ", as it was developed in particular by Thomas Aquinas . In the literature it is controversial to what extent the Ordo ideas of the Freiburg School are based on these intellectual historical roots. Nils Goldschmidt from the Walter Eucken Institute (2002) takes the view that Eucken’s intention was that of a “natural, God-willed order”. According to Michael Schramm, the concept of the medieval “ordo” also has religious roots, but Eucken does not use the term metaphysically, but economically . Heinz Grossekettler shares Schramm's view that Eucken had reserved the task of developing a functional and humane economic system for economic science. Grossekettler also points out that Goldschmidt refers almost exclusively to quotes from Eucken from the period before his epistemological breakthrough in 1934 and that he has undergone a change in this respect.
According to Lüder Gerken and Joachim Starbatty , Adam Smith in particular took up the ordo idea in social and economic history . He saw a natural order in which individual interests and the interests of society harmonize with one another as given. The ordoliberals would have taken up this idea of a natural order, but in contrast to the classics, they did not understand it as an order that comes about by itself, but as an order that has to be consciously designed.
According to Reinhard Blum, the ordoliberals referred not only to the scholastic conceptions of order, but also to their application of economic theory by the physiocrats . In contrast, according to Ingo Pies , Eucken was not a supporter but a declared opponent of the physiocrats' conception of natural law .
Ordoliberalism and Neoliberalism
Ordoliberalism belongs to a heterogeneous economic trend that is summarized under the generic term neoliberalism . The term ordoliberalism in the narrower sense stands for the “Freiburg School”, but the terms ordoliberalism and neoliberalism are sometimes used synonymously in the literature . According to Hans Willgerodt , however, the term neoliberalism is “misunderstood and even more misused by opponents of this concept for misinterpretation”. In the 1980s, neoliberalism was associated with the ideas of Friedrich August von Hayek and, most importantly, Milton Friedman , although neither of them called themselves that. Hans-Werner Sinn differentiates “true” neoliberalism from “radical concepts of the Chicago school around Milton Friedman”. According to Andreas Renner, the term neoliberalism experienced a change in meaning from the 1990s and has since been regularly identified with “market fundamentalism”. The economic ethicist Peter Ulrich contrasts ordoliberalism as a position of the “civilized market economy” with neoliberalism as a position of the “total market economy”.
Alexander Riistow and Wilhelm Röpke
The theories of Alexander Rustow and Wilhelm Röpke are referred to as sociological neoliberalism (also sociological liberalism or religious or humanistically based neoliberalism). This is also assigned as a special direction to ordoliberalism in a broader sense, although this assignment is controversial. However, some authors also see far-reaching differences. The sociological (neo) liberalism is "far more willing to intervene than the ordoliberal conception", they differ "not only in the catalog of tasks, but also in the means considered permissible." Andreas Renner explains that this created confusion in the reception of the ordoliberals is that the ordoliberals, according to their self-image, primarily defined themselves through the subject area of economy and not through the method of economic incentive analysis. As a result, the social dimension and thus the connection to the more sociological works of Riistow and Röpke remained underexposed. The one-sided economic-political interpretation of the work of ordoliberalism has recently been recognized by a number of authors.
Ordoliberalism and Social Market Economy (Alfred Müller-Armack)
Based on the concept of ordoliberalism, Alfred Müller-Armack developed his central economic policy idea of the social market economy . Karl Georg Zinn writes: “However, there are [...] considerable differences between Müller-Armack and the neoliberal supporters of a free or liberal market economy. In many ways, Müller-Armack, with his philosophically broader ideas, is closer to the two emigrants Röpke and Riistow than to the purist Eucken, who is a purist from the theory of order. Müller-Armack gave social policy and state economic and structural policy far greater weight than Eucken, for whom social policy seemed necessary at best as a minimal program against extreme grievances and considered economic policy to be simply superfluous, even harmful, because an ideal market economy such as he did In his order theory, he thought that he would have no more cyclical business cycles and crises at all. ”The following table shows an attempt to delimit the two concepts:
|Ordoliberalism (Eucken)||Social market economy (Müller-Armack)|
|Pure regulatory policy||Regulatory and process policy|
|Qualitative economic policy||Also quantitative economic policy|
|Strictly oriented towards principles, with clear theoretical boundaries||Pragmatic, goal-oriented approach; soft demarcation; Individual decisions|
|Deriving all problem solutions from maintaining order||Furthermore, the need for state intervention to create social equilibrium or to correct market results|
|“Correct” economic policy removes the need for social policy||Separate areas of economic and social policy; Attempt to balance "freedom" and "(social) security"|
|Static concept||Continuous development; Adaptation to new challenges|
Ordoliberalism and Hayek
According to Wouter Devroe and Pieter van Cleynenbreugel, Friedrich August von Hayek is also frequently assigned to ordoliberalism. According to Lüder Gerken , Hayek significantly developed the Freiburg School of Ordoliberalism founded by Eucken and Böhm. Lars Gertenbach sees Hayek as one of the most important representatives of Freiburg ordoliberalism. Even Manfred E. controversy , Andreas Renner, Nils Goldschmidt and Michael Wohlgemuth arrange Hayek the Ordoliberalismus to, these authors did not limit Ordoliberalismus the Freiburg School, but several different types of different Ordoliberalismus. Stefan Kolev sees a reference to ordoliberalism in relation to Hayek's early work of the 1930s and 1940s. According to David J. Gerber, both Hayek and Eucken considered competition important, but did not believe in a strong state in later years. Mostly Hayek is assigned to the Austrian School .
After Walter Oswalt, Hayek's Freiburg chair successors Viktor Vanberg and Manfred E. Streit are trying to establish a line of tradition between Eucken and Hayek; He points out, however, that Eucken had already criticized Hayek's way to servitude ( The Road to Serfdom ) for not making a sufficient distinction between competition and laissez-faire. Eucken's ideas that economic policy issues should be decided rationally and morally are negated by Hayek's theory of group selection. The "irreconcilable antagonism" between Hayek and the ordoliberals around Eucken was formulated early on by Rüstow in such a way that between ordoliberal economists and "paleoliberal" economists like Hayek there was "the sharpest and most fruitful subcontracting antagonism". Kathrin Meier-Rust sees an incompatibility between the “old liberals” Hayek and the neoliberals (in the historical sense) Eucken, Röpke and Rustow. Sibylle Tönnies sees Hayek as an essential antagonist of a properly understood ordoliberalism. According to Manfred E. Streit, Hayek himself expressly considered himself to be the successor to his deceased friend Eucken when he was appointed to the University of Freiburg in 1962. Ingo Pies comes to the conclusion that, despite the differences in detail, the works of Eucken and Hayek would have the same conception; he refers to Hayek's inaugural lecture in Freiburg , in which he declared a long-term friendship with Eucken "based on complete agreement on theoretical and political questions". According to Manfred E. Streit, this seems "to be justified beyond a statement of courtesy, and not only because of similarities in their fundamental values, but also because of their common deep interests in questions of the economic order."
However, he points to differences on important issues. Elsewhere, Streit writes together with Michael Wohlgemuth that this statement is a polite phrase and that apart from that, there are no concrete indications of a content-related agreement with Eucken's work. Nor would there be any explicit references to the works of the ordoliberals in Hayek's works (and vice versa). Ingo Pies expressly contradicts Streit and Wohlgemuth and refers to the close personal friendship between Eucken and Hayek. The undisputed finding that Eucken is not quoted in Hayek's writings is not necessarily evidence of differences of opinion. In fact, out of consideration , Hayek did not name Italian and German authors by name in his 1944 book The Path to Servitude . After Eucken’s death, Hayek turned to more recent developments, which is why a reference to Eucken was not to be expected. In this respect, Hayek's statement at his inaugural lecture in Freiburg was not pure politeness and flattery. Michael Wohlgemuth has stated elsewhere that Hayek's evolutionary social philosophy has "in most cases been quite complementary" to the Freiburg tradition and has thus given the ordoliberal research program decisive new impulses. However, according to Iris Karabelas, Hayek's work on developing a theory of cultural evolution from the 1960s suggested that he decidedly distanced himself from Eucken's research program during his time as full professor at the University of Freiburg.
According to Nils Goldschmidt and Michael Wohlgemuth, a complementarity is shown by the fact that Hayek's followers and successors to the Freiburg chair Hoppmann, Manfred E. Streit and Viktor Vanberg created “creative symbioses” between Hayek's work and ordoliberalism by carrying out Hayek's theory had further developed their own ideas that would have multiple references to the older Freiburg tradition. Eucken and Hayek are sometimes jointly referred to as the initiators of the economics of order , since they dealt largely independently of one another with the problem of economic and social order. According to Stefan Kolev, there are not only numerous similarities but also significant differences in both the theoretical and political ideas. Their social philosophies are not minimal state constructs; They are united in rejecting Keynesianism in theory and in practice. There are differences e.g. B. in the attitude to classical liberalism . While Eucken and the Freiburg School emancipated themselves from classical liberalism and were looking for a third way, Hayek explicitly saw himself following Humes and Smiths and their conception of the evolution of social developments. Hayek described the liberalism of the Freiburg School as "restrained liberalism" (English suppressed liberalism). Lars Gertenbach regards Hayek as the point of convergence of neoliberalism, since he is the only one to participate in both the Austrian School, the London School, the Chicago School and Ordoliberalism. But despite this fundamental agreement, there are also far-reaching differences, according to Gertenbach. In contrast to ordoliberalism, Hayek's neoliberalism does not see itself as a moderating and mediating way of the middle, especially in political terms. The ordoliberal idea of a conscious design of a market-driven rule system and the political orientation towards the criterion of social justice also contradict Hayek's theory of spontaneous order , since, according to Hayek's view, the attempt to consciously design rules is based on an “assumption of knowledge” (epistemological skepticism ).
Ingo Pies counters the widespread criticism of passivity by stating that Hayek's plea not to plan the order cannot be interpreted as having demanded 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. Hayek is concerned with the spontaneity of order, but not with the spontaneity of rules. According to Hayek, it is quite conceivable that the formation of a spontaneous order is entirely based on rules that were made on purpose. According to Stefan Kolev, it can be stated independently of this that Hayek tends to underestimate the dangers arising from the exercise of power in the market process. According to Philipp Batthyany, the principle applied to Hayek was that (state) rules only apply to the types of behavior, not to changes in market results, i.e. H. the distribution of power and income. According to Eucken's ordoliberal conception, the income distribution resulting from competition requires a regulatory correction for households with low incomes, for example through income taxation with progressive pay rates . Hayek rejects income taxation with a progressive tariff. However, he advocates a minimum income "below which nobody needs to sink", this minimum security is a natural duty of society. According to Reinhard Zintl, for Hayek the extent of what is politically considered necessary in prosperous societies can legitimately be well above the physical subsistence level. For Hayek, however, it is important that it is not about correcting supposed injustices in the competitive process, but about collective responsibility.
Iris Karabelas locates Hayek in classical liberalism , which is where Hayek sees himself in later years. According to Iris Karabelas, the prevailing view is that Hayek's extreme or evolutionary (ordo) liberalism is located outside of the essential strands of ordoliberalism, namely the Freiburg School and sociological (ordo) liberalism, in the old economic liberalism of the 19th century.
Ordoliberalism and Political Liberalism
According to Ralf Ptak, ordoliberalism was defined by “a complete break with the roots of political liberalism, while the economic liberal element was absolutized and condensed into an authoritarian liberalism.” Ordoliberalism defined itself from the beginning against Marxism and socialism , but above all against Keynesianism emerging in parallel and the macroeconomically founded welfare state. The assertion of a committed opposition to National Socialism is rejected by Ptak as a legend. This representation is seen from another side as an “anti-liberal attack”, Ptak is primarily concerned with the “disavowal of liberal attitudes”. Eucken's political liberalism was so solidified in 1933/34 "that he could consistently take a stand against the National Socialist regime." The political scientist Philip Manow emphasizes the origins of ordoliberalism in Protestant theology and thus justifies the "anti-liberal character" with which early ordoliberalism campaigned for a strong state. In contrast, Michael Schramm points out that Eucken was personally influenced by religious background convictions, but conceptually his scientific argumentation was not dependent on it. Thomas Apolte sees the demand for a “ strong state ” as the most thoroughly misunderstood expressions of ordoliberalism. Eucken's strong state does not draw its strength from an authoritarian attitude, but from liberal restraint. The strength results directly from the fact that the state concentrates on questions of order that are more susceptible to consensus and leaves the potentially more conflict-laden coordination of interests to social coordination mechanisms.
In order to properly understand the use of this formula by Eucken, it must be noted, according to Ingo Pies , that the connotation of the term "strong state" was drastically revalued by National Socialism and now arouses associations with authoritarian politics. In the Weimar Republic , however, this formula was widespread across the entire political spectrum.
In the Federal Republic of Germany , ordoliberal ideas, especially in the law against restraints of competition in the first phase of the social market economy, were politically implemented by the first Federal Minister of Economics, Ludwig Erhard , but only in part from an ordoliberal perspective.
The Freiburg School's influence in economics and law has declined significantly since the 1960s. This threatens to banish the Freiburg School scientifically in the area of the history of dogma and politically in the area of non-binding Sunday speeches, since the teachings of the Freiburg School are now confronted with a creeping repression or an overwhelming trivialization.
Against the background of the financial crisis from 2007 , various authors such as Hans-Werner Sinn and Sahra Wagenknecht paid tribute to the topicality of ordoliberalism. According to Andreas Freytag and Gunther Schnabl , the crisis policy, which was geared towards a very loose monetary policy, invalidated essential basic regulatory principles. This explains a decline in productivity gains, growing inequality and increasing political polarization. According to Sebastian Müller and Gunther Schnabl, the disruption of the market economy in Germany jeopardizes the achievements of the European integration process .
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