Right-Wing Populism and Neoliberalism in Germany: The AfD’s Embrace of Ordoliberalism
(2019) New Political Economy, 24 (3), pp. 385-403.
This article analyses the ambiguous relation between right-wing populism and neoliberalism in Germany. It concentrates on the connections between and convergence of right-wing populism and ordoliberalism, a specific type of neoliberalism that was developed by the Freiburg School since the late 1920s and which the new right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) explicitly focuses on in its economic programme. In its attempt to analyse the affinity of the AfD to ordoliberalism, this study relies on Michel Foucault’s account of ordoliberalism in his book The Birth of Biopolitics and his concept of governmentality. It was found that the AfD wants to bring ordoliberalism into service of an authoritarian project in Germany and beyond. This economic approach combines neoliberalism with authoritarian forms of government through the governmentalisation of the state. Ordoliberals prescribe a regulatory framework for the economy which is centred on the creation of a competitive order. It is meant to produce and justify social differences. Right-wing populists connect the economic differentiation system provided by ordoliberalism with the differentiation systems of nation, race, religion and culture. Thus, the neoliberal principle of competition is used not only to justify inequality among German citizens but also among European countries. © 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Alternative for Germany (AfD); authoritarian liberalism; neoliberalism; ordoliberalism; right-wing populism