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Crisis, Free Economy and Strong State: On Ordoliberalism

Werner Bonefeld



The ordoliberal conception that the strong but limited state is the fundamental precondition of a free society entails a negative judgement about the character of market competition. In opposition to the laissez-faire idea of market self-regulation, it rejects as dangerous to the constitution of liberty the idea that markets always know best. Competition does not unite society. Instead, it manifests freedom in the form of unsocial relationships between economic agents and social classes. Ordoliberalism posits the state as planner for competition and guardian of enterprise. In this context, the article explores the ordoliberal meaning of democracy and liberal interventionism. It concludes by arguing that in the ordoliberal view, economic crises manifest a failure of political interventionism.

Keywords: Ordoliberalism, free economy, strong state, economic crisis, democracy, political authority


Bibliography: Bonefeld, Werner: Crisis, Free Economy and Strong State: On Ordoliberalism, ERIS, 3-2015, pp. 15-26.


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