Wolfgang Streeck

Heller, Schmitt and the Euro

European Law Journal, Vol. 21, No. 3, May 2015, Special Section: Hermann Heller’s Authoritarian Liberalism, pp. 285-383, here: 361-370

Abstract: Heller understood that Schmitt’s ‘authoritarian state’ was in fact the liberal state in its pure form, weak in relation to the capitalist economy but strong in fending off democratic interventions in its operation. Had he lived, Heller would not have been surprised by the close affinities between Schmittian economic authoritarianism and postwar German ordoliberalism, as mediated by a figure like Alexander Rüstow. Neoliberalism as today we know it drew heavily on ordoliberal doctrine, in particular through Friedrich von Hayek who managed to merge it with Austrian economics into a powerful ideological force to replace Keynesianism after the 1970s. Today the European Union, especially in its incorporation as monetary union, closely follows the liberal-authoritarian template as devised by Schmitt and others in the final years of the Weimar Republic. The paper shows this with reference to the five European-level institutions that today govern the European free market while protecting it from democratic interference: the Parliament, the Council, the Commission, the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank.

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