The Birth of Austerity: German Ordoliberalism and Contemporary Neoliberalism

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9781786601117: The Birth of Austerity: German Ordoliberalism and Contemporary Neoliberalism

Ordoliberalism and the ‘Freiburg School’ have gained traction in contemporary political economy in response to two factors: a rising interest in governmentality studies and the banking, financial and sovereign debt crisis in Europe. In the face of these crises, Germany has assumed a position of quasi-hegemony in the European Union, making decisions about bailouts, the politics of crisis management and the rise of austerity.

This volume gathers together English translations of seminal ordoliberal texts by thinkers ranging from Walter Eucken and Wilhelm Röpke to Franz Böhm, Alexander Rüstow and Hans Grossmann-Doerth. Offering some foundational insights into ordoliberalism, these essays give insight into a field that is much misunderstood outside Germany. The second half of the book comprises of analyses of contemporary issues in light of ordoliberal thought, showing how its ideas endure and relate directly to austerity policy across Europe.

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About the Author:

Thomas Biebricher is Professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the Goethe-Universität.

Frieder Vogelmann is a Research Fellow in Political Theory at the Institute for Intercultural and International Studies, Bremen University.

Review:

This book is indispensable reading for everyone interested in current debates on institutional economics, economic policy, the crisis of the Euro, and the role of Germany in it. It assembles several master texts from the Ordoliberal School, most of which were never published in English, and provides a lucid introduction into a widely unknown “Third Way” tradition in economic theory and policy. (Wolfgang Streeck, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne)

An excellent handbook on the influential and peculiar German version of neoliberalism. It contains classical texts as well as contemporary analyses of the content and impact of ordoliberalism by leading scholars. No one can understand European politics today without knowledge about ordoliberalism. This book is a good starting point. (Professor Peter Nedergaard, Ph.D., Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen)

Understanding the tenets and implications of Ordoliberalism is essential for grasping what is happening in European political economy and governance today. The Birth of Austerity provides this understanding through its carefully selected and translated works by the Ordoliberals themselves and its fine ensemble of analyses by contemporary critical thinkers. The introduction by Biebricher and Vogelmann is a model of clarity and insight. This is an important and immensely useful volume. (Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley)

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