Ordoliberalism Revisited

  • Thomas F. Remington Emory University and Harvard University, United States


The recent publication of Kenneth Dyson’s book Conservative Liberalism, Liberalism, Ordo-Liberalism, and the State offers an occasion to reconsider the body of ideas known as ordoliberalism. The books reviewed here represent much of the most recent scholarship in English on the subject. In this essay, I undertake two tasks: first, to clarify what the term properly refers to and in particular how it is related to “neoliberalism,” and, second, to consider its influence on postwar German policies and institutions. I argue that much of the recent discussion of ordoliberalism and neoliberalism overlooks important differences between early ordoliberal thinking and the ideas associated with neoliberalism. Over time, as neoliberalism evolved and particularly as it became an ideological justification for policies and institutions justifying the accumulation of concentrated market power, these differences have become wider even as they have been obscured by misreadings of ordoliberalism. A better understanding of ordoliberalism can also provide insights relevant to the contemporary debates about the crisis of liberal democracy and capitalism. Is it in fact a “third way” for ordering an economy, an alternative to neoliberalism and socialism?

Author Biography

Thomas F. Remington, Emory University and Harvard University, United States

Thomas F. Remington is Goodrich C. White Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the Emory University. He studies the development of political institutions in transitional states. Dr. Remington is the author of numerous books and articles on Russian politics, including The Politics of Inequality in Russia (Cambridge, 2011). His current research addresses the formation of social policy in Russia and China.

He was the Chair of the Political Science Department at the Emory from 2001–2007. He has been a member of the Boards of Directors of the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research and the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.

How to Cite
Remington, T. (2022). Ordoliberalism Revisited. Changing Societies & Personalities, 6(1), 10–34. doi:10.15826/csp.2022.6.1.161