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date: 06 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Having emerged in the 1930s and 1940s as the German variety of neoliberalism, the ordoliberal perspective on economics provides an intriguing set of politicoeconomic problems and solutions. While its impact on postwar German economic policy is commonly recognized, more light needs to be shed on the role of ordoliberal ideas within scientific discourses. Embedded in the intellectual climate during the formative years, the essentials of Walter Eucken’s and Wilhelm Röpke’s paradigms regarding the theory of orders and order-based policy are presented in comparative perspective. Possible mutual gains from trade between Freiburg and Vienna are explored in two steps. Historically, the particular proximity of Friedrich Hayek’s early social philosophy to ordoliberal reasoning and to its notion of the competitive order deserves attention. Conceptually, clarity from widespread misinterpretations and higher awareness of existing and potential substantive commonalities can generate crucial impulses for a better understanding of liberty and its prerequisites.

Keywords: competitive order, Walter Eucken, Freiburg School, neoliberalism, order-based policy, ordoliberalism, Wilhelm Röpke, theory of orders

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