German political and economic ideology in the twentieth century and its theological problems: The Lutheran genealogy of ordoliberalism
European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
Ordoliberalism, Ideology, Economic thought, Religion
Ordoliberalism is widely considered to be the dominant ideology of the German political elite today and consequently responsible at least in part for its hard ‘austerity’ line during the recent Eurozone crisis. This article presents a genealogy of the main concerns, concepts and problems around which early German ordoliberalism was formed and structured as a political and economic ideology. Early ordoliberalism is shown to be rooted in an interwar Germanophone Lutheran Evangelical tradition of anti-humanist ‘political ethics’. Its specific conceptions of the market, the state, the individual, freedom and duty were developed on a Lutheran Evangelical basis. Analytically, the article considers ideological influences of theology on political and economic theory not so much in terms of consensus and ideational overlap, but rather in terms of shared concerns, concepts and problems across different positions.