German economics appears to be a different land. Some critics have even suggested German policymakers and academics live in a “parallel intellectual universe”. The conflict with U.S. economic policy pragmatism is a hardy perennial in international debates – long before the most recent conflicts in G20 (about the persistent German current account surpluses). In fact, discussions about Germany’s role in international economic policy coordination predate the G5 meetings of the mid-1970s.
A distinctive trait of German economics is its reference to Ordo, an economic policy approach developed by Walter Eucken (and colleagues) of Freiburg University in radical opposition to the totalitarian Nazi economics. Of chief concern was the guarantee of individual freedom. Competitive markets were seen as most effective in reining in private market power. In modern terms, the focus was on microeconomic issues. Macro (stabilization) policies, other than the stabilization of the value of money, were seen of not much avail, if at all. (This is obviously very close to policy ineffectiveness proposition also heard in other economic circles.) The Ordo school was highly influential and the German Wirtschaftswunder was seen as corroborating the analysis. Later, Ordo philosophy had a decisive impact on the institutional design of Europe’s monetary union (rule orientation, Stability and Growth Pact, Fiscal Compact etc.).
This workshop will address these issues and search for common ground. Each session starts with a 20-minute impulse, followed by two 10-minute remarks by discussants and then opens to discussion with the participants.
2:00 - 3:15 p.m. – Panel 1: German Ordo Economics: A Successful Policy Design?
3:15 - 3:25 p.m. – Coffee break
3:25 - 4:35 p.m. – Panel 2: Contradictory Narratives: What’s Wrong with the EMU?
4:35 - 4:45 p.m. – Coffee break
4:45 - 6:00 p.m. – Panel 3: Global Imbalances: Coordinating with Different Script Books