Conservative Liberalism, Ordo-liberalism, and the State: Discipling Democracy and the Market

ISBN : 9780198854289

Kenneth Dyson
592 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jan 2021
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This book uses extensive original archival and elite interview research to examine the attempt to rejuvenate liberalism as a means of disciplining democracy and the market through a new rule-based economic and political order. This rebirth took the form of conservative liberalism and, in its most developed form, Ordo-liberalism. It occurred against the historical background of the great transformational crisis of liberalism in the first part of the twentieth century. Conservative liberalism evolved as a cross-national phenomenon. It included such eminent and cultured liberal economists as James Buchanan, Frank Knight, Henry Simons, Ralph Hawtrey, Jacques Rueff, Luigi Einaudi, Walter Eucken, Friedrich Hayek, Alfred Muller-Armack, Wilhelm Roepke, Alexander Rustow, and Paul van Zeeland, as well as leading lawyers like Louis Brandeis, Franz Boehm, and Maurice Hauriou. Conservative liberals also played a formative role in establishing new international networks, notably the Mont Pelerin Society. The book investigates the rich intellectual inheritance of this variant of new liberalism from aristocratic liberalism, ethical philosophy, and religious thought. It also locates the social basis of conservative liberalism and Ordo-liberalism in the cultivated bourgeois intelligentsia. The book goes on to examine the attempts to embed this new disciplinary form of liberalism in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States, and to consider the determinants of its varying significance across space and over time. It concludes by assessing the historical significance and contemporary relevance of conservative liberalism and Ordo-liberalism as liberalism confronts a new transformational crisis at the beginning of the new millennium. Is their promise of disciplining democracy and the market a hollow one?


Part I: The Origins of Conservative Liberalism and Ordo-liberalism
1 Ordo-liberalism in Comparative and Historical Perspective
2 Conservative Liberalism and Ordo-liberalism: From Child to Midwife of Crisis in Capitalism and Democracy
3 Conservative Liberalism as a Disciplinary Revolution
Part II: Patron Saints of Conservative Liberalism and Ordo-liberalism
4 Ordo-liberalism as Tradition, Ideology, and Model of Citizenship: Memorializing, Reinventing, Forgetting
5 Patron Saints: (1) The European Tradition of Aristocratic Liberalism
6 Patron Saints: (2) Continental European Ethical Philosophy
7 Patron Saints: (3) Theological Foundations of Ordo and Religious Traces
Part III: The Significance of Conservative Liberalism and Ordo-liberalism
8 Just a Germanic Tradition? The Cross-National Significance of Conservative Liberalism
9 Conservative Liberalism in American and British Political Economy
10 Conservative Liberalism in French and Italian Political Economy
11 How Ordo-liberal is Germany? Ordo-liberalism in Post-War National Unifying Mythology
12 The Historical Significance and Contemporary Relevance of Conservative Liberalism and Ordo-liberalism: A Hollow Promise?

About the author: 

Kenneth Dyson is Visiting Professor of European Political Studies, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University. His publications include States, Debt and Power (OUP, 2015), Architects of the Euro (co-edited with I Maes, OUP, 2016), and European Economic Governance and Policies (two volumes, with L Quaglia, OUP, 2010).

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