- Walter Eucken on patent laws: are patents just nonsense upon stilts’? (2012)
- As recent newspaper headlines show the topic of patents/patent laws is still heavily disputed. In this paper I will approach this topic from a theoretical-historical and history of economic thought-perspective. In this regard I will link the patent controversy of the nineteenth century with Walter Eucken’s Ordoliberalism – a German version of neoliberalism. My paper is structured as follows: The second chapter provides the reader with a historical introduction. At the heart of this paragraph are the controversy and discourse on patent laws in nineteenth century Europe as well as the pro and contra arguments presented by the anti-patent/free-trade movement respectively by the advocates of patent protection. The focus of my paper is on the struggle for the protection of inventions and innovations in nineteenth century Germany, since Walter Eucken, main representative of the Freiburg School of Law and Economics, picks up the counter-arguments presented in the national debate and in particular by the Kongress deutscher Volkswirthe. The third chapter deals intensively with the question whether patent laws are just ‘nonsense upon stilts’ from an ordoliberal perspective. Here, Eucken’s arguments against the current patent system are elaborated in great detail. The paper ends with a summary of my main findings.
- Völkerrecht und Weltwirtschaft im 19. Jahrhundert. Die Internationalisierung der Ökonomie aus völkerrechts- und wirtschafts(theorie-)geschichtlicher Perspektive (2009)
- Tagungsbericht des Workshops "Völkerrecht und Weltwirtschaft im 19. Jahrhundert. Die Internationalisierung der Ökonomie aus völkerrechts- und wirtschafts(theorie-)geschichtlicher Perspektive", der vom 3. bis 4. September 2009 in Frankfurt am Main stattfand. Veranstalter: Exzellenzcluster "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen"; in Kooperation mit der Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main; dem Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte
- Von Hayek and ordoliberalism on justice (2013)
- Variations and disparities between von Hayek and Ordoliberalism can be detected on diverse levels: 1. philosophy of science; 2. setting dissimilar priorities; 3. social philosophy; 4. genesis of norms; and, 5. notion of freedom. Therefore, it is possible to make an important distinction within neoliberalism itself, which contains at least two factions: von Hayek’s evolutionary liberalism, and German Ordoliberalism. The following essay not only takes the neoliberal separation of different varieties as granted; it proceeds further. It focuses on the topic of justice and elaborates the (slightly) differing conceptions of justice within neoliberalism. Thus, the specific contribution of the paper is that it adds a sixth dimension of differences (which is highly interconnected with the differing conceptions of genesis of norms). In this paper, I emphasize the (often neglected) subtle differences between von Hayek, Eucken, Röpke, and Rüstow, with special emphasis on their theories of justice. In this regard, I focus not only on Eucken and von Hayek; in addition, I include the concepts of justice developed by Rüstow and Röpke, as well, and, in consequence, broaden the perspective incorporating Eucken as a member of the Freiburg School of Law and Economics, and Rüstow and Röpke as representatives of Ordoliberalism in the wider sense. The paper tackles these topics in three steps. After briefly examining and discussing the existing literature and providing a literature overview on the decade-long debate on von Hayek and Ordoliberalism, I then describe von Hayek’s conception of commutative justice; particularly, justice of rules and procedures (rather than end-state justice). Then, I examine Eucken’s, Rüstow’s, and Röpke’s theories of justice, which consist of a mixture of commutative and distributive justice. Then, I draw a comparison between the ideas of justice developed by Eucken, Röpke, Rüstow, and von Hayek. The essay ends with a summary of my main findings.
- Paternalist economic policies: foundations, options, and challenges (2013)
- This paper analyzes the inherent dangers of paternalist economic policies associated with the newly established economic sub-disciplines of behavioral economics, economic happiness research and economic psychology. While the authors in general welcome these sub-disciplines for enriching and critically evaluating mainstream economics – especially their criticism of the Homo oeconomicus-heuristic is of great value contributing to a more realistic idea of man –, the political-economic implications as well as inherent risks of paternalist economic policies should be received with concern and thus be subject to a critical review. The paper is structured as follows: In the first step, we recapitulate Kahneman’s, Thaler/Sunstein’s, and Layard’s versions of paternalism pointing at similarities and differences alike. We contrast libertarian or soft paternalism of behavioral economics (Thaler/Sunstein) and economic psychology (Kahneman) with (Layard’s) happiness economics and its hard paternalism. In the second step, we analyze the political and economic implications and consequences of paternalism. We give an overview of the main points of criticism of paternalism from a constitutional economics perspective. The Ordnungs- vs. Prozesspolitik argument is discussed as well as epistemological, political-economic or idea of man arguments. The paper ends with some concluding remarks.
- Ordoliberalism and the evolution of norms (2010)
- The first part of the following paper deals with varying points of criticism forwarded against Ordoliberalism. Here, it is not the aim to directly falsify each argument on its own; rather, the author tries to give a precise overview of the spectrum of critique. The second section picks out one argument of critical review – namely that the ordoliberal concept of the state is somewhat elitist and grounded on intellectual experts. Based on the previous sections, the final part differentiates two kinds of genesis of norms: an evolutionary and an elitist one – both (latently) present within Ordoliberalism. In combination with the two-level differentiation between individual and regulatory ethics, the essay allows for a distinction between individual-ethical norms based on an evolutionary genesis of norms and regulatory-ethical norms based on an elitist understanding of norms. A by-product of the author’s argument is a (further) demarcation within neoliberalism.
- On the economic ethics of Walter Eucken (2010)
- 2008/9 sees the 60th anniversary of the German economic and currency reform of June 20, 1948, and the adoption of the Grundgesetz on May 23, 1949, which committed the country to the ideals of a socially committed market economy. Both of these events are important points along the path taken by the Federal Republic of Germany to reach the system of a social market economy. Since the term, Social Market Economy is often used in several different contexts and sometimes to mean contradictory things, we must ask: what exactly does the term social market economy entail? What economic-ethical ideas and theories are behind it? This paper will trace the origins of the social market economy (chapter 2) and explain the central characteristics of the Freiburg School of Economics (chapter 3), one of the main pillars of the social market economy. Central to this paper is the oeuvre of Walter Eucken, one of the leading representatives of the ordoliberal Freiburg School. The aim is to identify socio-political factors of influence and inspiration on his theory of economic policy (chapter 4) and evaluate similarities to the works of Kant, Smith and other economic philosophers. Chapter 5 will seek to elucidate Eucken’s “Program of Liberty”. We shall also allow ourselves a slight diversion to elaborate on the parallels between this work and Kant’s understanding of freedom and autonomy. Chapter 6 deals with Eucken’s dual requirements of an economic and social order (i.e. functioning and humane socio-economic order). In chapter 7, we seek to answer – with considerable reference to Adam Smith – to what extent it can be assumed that self-interest and the common good are mutually compatible. This paper concludes with a few remarks about the topicality of ordoliberalism in relation to modern, German-speaking economic ethics (chapter 8).
- On the affiliation of phenomenology and ordoliberalism: links between Edmund Husserl, Rudolf and Walter Eucken (2010)
- This paper explores the various personal and intellectual links between Edmund Husserl, Rudolf and Walter Eucken. Our interdisciplinary approach gives an insight into Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology, Walter Eucken’s Ordoliberalism as well as in the interdependency between phenomenology and economics for which Rudolf Eucken’s philosophy of intellectual life plays an important role. Particular affiliations between phenomenology and economics can be found in the following topics: epistemology, the idea of man, the comprehension of liberty and the importance of legal or social orders, institutional rules and frameworks of regulations.
- Individual versus regulatory ethics: an economic-ethical and theoretical-historical analysis of german neoliberalism (2013)
- Following Foucault's analysis of German Neoliberalism (Ordoliberalism) and his thesis of ambiguity, this paper introduces a two-level distinction between individual and regulatory ethics. In particular, its aim is to reassess the importance of individual ethics in the conceptual framework of Ordoliberalism. The individual ethics of Ordoliberalism is based on the heritage of Judeo-Christian values and the Kantian individual liberty and responsibility. The regulatory or formal-institutional ethics of Ordoliberalism which has so far received most attention on the contrary refers to the institutional and legal framework of a socio-economic order. By distinguishing these two dimensions of ethics incorporated in German Neoliberalism, it is feasible to distinguish different varieties of neoliberalism and to link Ordoliberalism to modern economic ethics.
- Individual and regulatory ethics: an economic-ethical and theoretical-historical analysis of ordoliberalism (2011)
- Based on Foucault’s analysis of German Neoliberalism and his thesis of ambiguity, the following paper draws a two-level distinction between individual and regulatory ethics. The individual ethics level – which has received surprisingly little attention – contains the Christian foundation of values and the liberal-Kantian heritage of so called Ordoliberalism – as one variety of neoliberalism. The regulatory or formal-institutional ethics level on the contrary refers to the ordoliberal framework of a socio-economic order. By differentiating these two levels of ethics incorporated in German Neoliberalism, it is feasible to distinguish dissimilar varieties of neoliberalism and to link Ordoliberalism to modern economic ethics. Furthermore, it allows a revision of the dominant reception of Ordoliberalism which focuses solely on the formal-institutional level while mainly neglecting the individual ethics level.