The Strength of Ordoliberalism (3)

Ordoliberalism is well covered in Wikipedia. The topic must have been written by someone familiar with the perspective. The single exception that I have found is An Example of Neoliberalism as “Whig History“. The Social Market Economy is a good example of ordoliberalism explained. It opens as follows:

“The Social market economy (GermanSoziale Marktwirtschaft) is a form of market capitalism combined with a social policy favouring social insurance, and is sometimes classified as a coordinated market economy. The social market economy was originally promoted and implemented in West Germany by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1949.[3] Its origins can be traced to the interwar Freiburg school of economic thought.” (Wikipedia, Social Market Economy)

Ludwig Erhard was the German Chancellor to lean heavily on the advice of Ordoliberals, but when the Ordoliberals returned from exile, Germany’s first postwar Chancellor – Konrad Adenauer – began the process that his successor, the second Chancellor, Ludwig Erhard took further. That Adenauer was also a member of the Christian Democratic Union may be the reason for “the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching or, more generally Christian ethics”.

Max Weber’s famous work on The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is important. From the Wikipedia website above it looks at ordoliberalism from the outside, as it were, as “the third way…strongly inspired by Catholic social teaching and Christian ethics”:

“The social market economy was designed to be a third way between laissez-faire economic liberalism and social democratic mixed economies. It was strongly inspired by ordoliberalism and the tradition of Catholic social teaching or, more generally, Christian ethics.

The CDU is, even today, a party with the same philosophy, as Wikipedia below explains: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Democratic_Union_(Germany):

“The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (GermanChristlich Demokratische Union DeutschlandsCDU;German pronunciation: [ˈkʁɪstlɪç ˌdemoˈkʁaːtɪʃə uˈni̯oːn ˈdɔʏtʃlants]) is a Christian democratic[2][4][5] and liberal-conservative[2] political party in Germany. It is the major catch-all party of the centre-right in German politics.[6][7]Along with its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), the CDU forms the CDU/CSUgrouping, also known as the Union, in the Bundestag.

The leader of the party, Angela Merkel, is the current Chancellor of Germany. The CDU is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP) and sits in the EPP Group in the European Parliament. Internationally, the CDU is a member of the Centrist Democrat International and the International Democrat Union. The CDU is the second-largest political party in Germany by total membership.”

The roots of this party are clearly Christian, so it is hard to conclude anything other than the protestant ethic is a key element in its underlying philosophy.

There is, of course, a wider issue of the social market that is discussed further down the page, especially http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_market_economy#Main_elements, and the longer section that immediately follows this on #History. It is worth reading for the way it discusses ordoliberalism and its main representatives. The whole is clearly written by someone well-informed about ordoliberalism.

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