Early Work on Ordoliberalism

Although my first article on ordoliberalism was “Forms of Tenure and Social Structure: A Comparison of Owning and Renting in Australia and Sweden” The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 29, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 41-56 became a comparison of Australia and Sweden as two contrasting routes to housing, I continued to be interested in ordoliberalism and how Sweden contrasts with Australia and eventually all English-speaking societies.

The role of home ownership and its organisation as a monotenure by policies that steer everyone into home ownership, the only form of tenure suitable for permanent housing, appears again and again in my early work. Hence, much of my work centred on understanding why this is so. Most of this early work was in the form of a critique of home ownership. The Myth of Home Ownership: private versus public choices in housing tenure (Routledge and Kegan Paul, Direct Edition, 1981) was my first book. Being a Direct Edition there was only one run of this publication, and it had to be typed by me on a typewriter, which made adding or removing text problematic. This is also why it looks so amateurish, probably photocopied by Routledge. You can see a list of these here.

Despite this, I still think this book is the best I have written (partly because it was the first statement of my research agenda), involving a comparison of tenure in Sweden, Britain and Australia. The second book The Great Australian Nightmare: a critique of the home-ownership ideology (Georgian House, Melbourne, 1983) turned the eulogising of The Great Australian Dream around to examine its negative aspects. It was written while in Australia in the late 1970s. The third book, Housing and Social Theory (Routledge, London, 1992) only deals with ordoliberalism indirectly in relation to welfare and housing. Instead, it focuses on the epistemological basis of housing. It also spends a considerable amount of effort on the relation between housing and welfare, on how home ownership can be defined, using the symbolic interactionist perspective, and on the concept of hegemony. I used Bryan Turner‘s work extensively as well on the dominant ideology thesis.

The last book From Public Housing to the Social Market: rental policy strategies in comparative perspective (Routledge 1995), drew on ordoliberal ideas extensively, and was why it referred to The Social Market, and referred to it as the Third Way. Here for the first time I went into the ideas and their development in Germany, especially pp. 11-16. This period of the early 1990s was one in which ordoliberalism suddenly was given a lot of attention. Die Wende and German reunification put the spotlight on Germany. See the post on Ordoliberalism 21 July 2013, which  was the trigger for this interest. Why ordoliberalism? Because it was closely identified with Germany, while others saw its abandonment of ordoliberalism as important. We now know that Germany and Austria are the two countries that have banking sectors that are locally anchored. See German Ordoliberalism.

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