The Meaning of Ordoliberalism: Strengths and Weaknesses in the Light of the Varieties of Capitalism Approach

Friday, 3 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
CLM.2.05 (Clement House)
Lothar Funk, University of Applied Sciences Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany
Ordoliberalism and the varieties of capitalism approach (VOC) are two prominent contemporary academic schools of thought t

hat strive for hegemony in explaining and predicting economic events as well ad shaping economic policy. While VOC is relatively new, dissemination in large parts of social sciences was quite fast, but in economics it is foremost accepted by somewhat Keynesian-inspired scholars only. The ordoliberal tradition stems from the 1940s, but remained, above all, a (west) German nationall tradition (FUNK 2002). Almost only in European competition policy and when the euro was adopted, it played a significant role outside of Germany. But still then its influence remained foremost national because the initial architecture of the euro could be also explained with broader neoliberal mainstream approaches which are globally wide-spread.

According to the paper both schools of thought have strengths and weaknesses. Both approaches appear to have certain blind spots that the paper tries to highlight and to amend.  Rather than attacking each other, it would be better to create

a synthesis as a result of mutual learning. The paper starts to integrate both concepts which leads to policy conclusions that can contribute

the framework of the euro architecture. Ordoliberals have to accept that it is misleading to ask for a short- term adaptation out of line with the respective incentive structure of a certain VOC and need to better address demand-side problems.Simultaneously, proponents of VOC would better strengthen further their analysis of the supply-side.