Adam Smith and Ordoliberalism: On the Political Form of Market Liberty

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In the context of the contemporary crisis of neoliberal political economy, the politics of austerity has reasserted the liberal utility of the state as the political authority of market freedom. This article argues that economy has no independent existence, and that instead, economy is a political practice. It examines the political economy of Adam Smith and the German ordoliberal tradition to decipher the character of the political in political economy and its transformation from Smith's liberal theory into neoliberal theology. Ordoliberalism emerged in the late 1920s at a time of a manifest crisis of political economy, and its argument was fundamental for the development of the neoliberal conception that free economy is matter of strong state authority. The conclusion argues with Marx that the state is the concentrated force of free economy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-250
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

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