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Das Gebäude des Walter Eucken Instituts von außen
Walter Eucken Institute Walter Eucken and the Freiburg School of Ordoliberalism

Walter Eucken and the Freiburg School of Ordoliberalism

Born on January 17th, 1891 in Jena, son of the philosopher and Nobel Prize laureate Rudolf Eucken, was Professor of Political Economy at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, from 1927 to 1950. In the midst of the National Socialist regime and in a period when totalitarian ideas dominated the thinking of most intellectuals, Eucken together with his colleagues, Professors of Law Franz Böhm and Hans Großmann-Doerth, developed the legal and economic principles of a free economic and social order in Germany. After World War II this economic and socio-political approach which has been developed by the Freiburg School – as it came to be called –, formed the basis of Professor Ludwig Erhard’s economic policy after 1948. The great success of this policy – often referred to as the „economic miracle“ – was one of the most important prerequisites for the social and political stabilization of the newly established order in West Germany. He died on 20. March 1950.

Ordoliberalism and Ordnungspolitik. A Brief Explanation, by Viktor J. Vanberg

In the debate surrounding the Eurozone crisis, “Germany’s rule-based legal approach” has become a target of criticism by many of its European partners.

Searching for the reason or “ideology” behind this approach, a number of commentators have pointed to the lasting influence of Ordoliberalism, exemplified by titles such as “The Long Shadow of Ordoliberalism: Germany’s Approach to the Euro Crisis” or “Of Rules and Order – Germany’s Ordoliberalism has had a big influence on policy during the Euro crisis.” The purpose of this little booklet is to offer a brief introduction into the tradition of Ordoliberalism, its roots in the so-called Freiburg School, and the rationale behind the concept of Ordnungspolitik that is at the core of this tradition. To the text…

Personalities of the Freiburg School Friedrich A. von Hayek

In 1961 Hayek accepted the call for a professorship for economic policy at the University of Freiburg (Breisgau) and was not far later elected as director of the Walter Eucken Institute. In the following years he developed amongst others his important articles concerning the theory of spontaneous collocation and the conception of competition as a discovering process. In 1967 Hayek…

Portrait von Friedrich A. von Hayek

Personalities of the Freiburg School Hans Grossmann-Doerth

In 1933 Grossmann-Doerth changes as regular extraordinary professor for commercial, business and labour law as well as civil law to the University of Freiburg (Breisgau). In his inauguration speech, which took place 11. May 1933, he talked about ‘Selbstgeschaffenes Recht der Wirtschaft und staatliches Recht’ (self created law of economy and constitutional law) and presented the core statements of his…

Portrait von Hans Großmann-Doerth

Personalities of the Freiburg School Franz Böhm

Franz Böhm called competition ‘the most ingenious instrument of disempowerment’ (‘genialste Entmachtungsinstrument’). He pointed out the necessity to defend the economic order of competition against danger from private forces and trusts as well as the necessity to protect the market-based order of civil law as an order of legally equals against dangers emerging out of the acting of interest groups,…

Portrait von Franz Böhm