Rowman and Littlefield International

The Birth of Austerity

German Ordoliberalism and Contemporary Neoliberalism

Edited by Thomas Biebricher and Frieder Vogelmann

Publication Date: Sep 2017

Pages 278

Hardback 9781786601100
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Paperback 9781786601117
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Ebook 9781786601124
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Ordoliberalism and the ‘Freiburg School’ have gained traction in contemporary political economy in response to two factors: a rising interest in governmentality studies and the banking, financial and sovereign debt crisis in Europe. In the face of these crises, Germany has assumed a position of quasi-hegemony in the European Union, making decisions about bailouts, the politics of crisis management and the rise of austerity.

This volume gathers together English translations of seminal ordoliberal texts by thinkers ranging from Walter Eucken and Wilhelm Röpke to Franz Böhm, Alexander Rüstow and Hans Grossmann-Doerth. Offering some foundational insights into ordoliberalism, these essays give insight into a field that is much misunderstood outside Germany. The second half of the book comprises of analyses of contemporary issues in light of ordoliberal thought, showing how its ideas endure and relate directly to austerity policy across Europe.
Introduction / Part I: Sources / 1. The Ordo Manifesto of 1936 , Walter Eucken, Franz Böhm and Hans Grossmann-Doerth / 2. Structural Transformations of the State and the Crisis of Capitalism , Walter Eucken / 3. The Different Types of Economic System, Walter Eucken / 4. Competition as the Basic Principle of the Economic Constitution, Walter Eucken/ 5. Principles of Economic Policy, Walter Eucken / 6. Economic Ordering as a Problem of Economic Policy and a Problem of the Economic Constitution, Franz Böhm / 7. Decartelization and De-concentration: A Problem for Specialists or a fateful Question?, Franz Böhm / 8. State Policy and the Necessary Conditions for Economic Liberalism , Alexander Rüstow / 9. General Sociological Causes of the Economic Disintegration and Possibilities of Reconstruction, Alexander Rüstow / 10. Social Policy or Vitalpolitik (Organic Policy), Alexander Rüstow / Part II: Analyses / 11. Ordoliberalism as Governmentality, Johanna Oksala / 12. Europe after Ordoliberalism: A Philippic, Christian Joerges / 13. Is Germany’s and Europe’s Crisis Politics Ordoliberal and/or Neoliberal?, Brigitte Young / 14. Economic Order and Political Intervention. Michel Foucault on Ordoliberalism and its Governmental Rationality, Lars Gertenbach
This book is indispensable reading for everyone interested in current debates on institutional economics, economic policy, the crisis of the Euro, and the role of Germany in it. It assembles several master texts from the Ordoliberal School, most of which were never published in English, and provides a lucid introduction into a widely unknown “Third Way” tradition in economic theory and policy.
Wolfgang Streeck, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne
An excellent handbook on the influential and peculiar German version of neoliberalism. It contains classical texts as well as contemporary analyses of the content and impact of ordoliberalism by leading scholars. No one can understand European politics today without knowledge about ordoliberalism. This book is a good starting point.
Peter Nedergaard, Ph.D., Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen.
Understanding the tenets and implications of Ordoliberalism is essential for grasping what is happening in European political economy and governance today. The Birth of Austerity provides this understanding through its carefully selected and translated works by the Ordoliberals themselves and its fine ensemble of analyses by contemporary critical thinkers. The introduction by Biebricher and Vogelmann is a model of clarity and insight. This is an important and immensely useful volume.
Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley
Thomas Biebricher is Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the Goethe-Universität.

Frieder Vogelmann is a Research Fellow in Political Theory at the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies, Bremen University.

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