Governing with ideas
On the phenomenolgoical roots of the ordoliberal tradition
This article deals with ordoliberalism, a school of economics and legal theory that emerged in the 1930s and whose ideas became particularly influential in the shaping of the post-WWII German economic model. Instead of a purely political or economic doctrine, the article approaches ordoliberalism as a philosophical theory that originated as a response to the crisis of economics and scientific reason in general, to the growing dispersion of individual sciences and the loss of their common foundation. By focusing on the relation between Edmund Husserl and Walter Eucken, the founder of ordoliberalism, the article highlights some of the methodological and conceptual innovations that constituted the unique approach of ordoliberalism, namely, its aim to construct economics as a rule-oriented science with a strong emphasis on constitutional choice and institutional issues. According to the main argument, the ordoliberal emphasis on law and executive institutions was a consistent outcome of their theoretical decision to construct economics as a normative science of ideal forms.
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