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European economic constitution and the transformation of democracy: on class and the state of law

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JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Mar 2015
DatePublished (current) - 2015
Issue number4
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)867-886
Early online date24/03/15
Original languageEnglish


In the context of contemporary analyses of the Europe Union as a post-democratic form of economic governance, this article explores the (ordo)liberal character of monetary union as a regime of imposed liberty. The argument holds that rather than forcing the member states into retreat, the economic constitution of Europe strengthens their liberal foundation, securing their utility as the organised force of a mode of social reproduction founded on free labour. It develops the character of the liberal state as the political form of a free market economy with reference to Adam Smith’s classical political economy and the German ordoliberal tradition, which calls for a rule-based system of federated forms of economic governance to secure a free labour economy in conditions of mass democratic aspirations for a freedom from want. It explores the rationale of the ordoliberal distinction between the liberal character and the democratic character of the state and, in this context, assesses the meaning of liberal democracy in a post-democratic Eurozone.

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