Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Understanding Ordoliberalism

with 5 comments

In the EU competition law world “ordoliberal” is a label that is often used as a way of disqualifying a Judgment, decision or opinion as “excessively formal” or not sufficiently in line with some trends of economic thinking. Some also use it as a synonym for “absurd” and “nonsense”.

But when you dig deeper you realize that many don’t really know what “ordoliberalism” really was, or is.

Ordoliberals were the first proponents of the concept of “social market economy” and essentially hold that there was a need for public intervention to ensure a healthy level of competition (the existence of competition law itself is a corollary of this sensible tenet, as, by the way, I developed in my piece on Antitrust and the Political Center).

I always thought I should write something about this on the blog in an attempt to clarify (or rather help me understand) the real meaning of this often wrongly used label and of its implications in the competition law field.

But yesterday I discovered that someone has already done the work; the piece just by Peter Behrens linked to below is possibly the best piece on ordoliberalism and competition law that you will be able to find:

The Ordoliberal Concept of ‘Abuse’ of a Dominant Position and its Impact on Article 102 TFEU

Enjoy the weekend read!

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

11 September 2015 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. Thanks for this post, Alfonso! It brings back good memories of the ASCOLA conference, where Professor Behrens and I presented together. I am sure he will be pleased to see that you have said a word about his paper (very well received) on the blog!

    Pablo Ibanez Colomo

    11 September 2015 at 12:34 pm

  2. Thanks for the tip. I look forward to reading this piece. I believe the historic significance and the current relevance of ordoliberalism for the enforcement of Art. 102 TFEU has also been put in an interesting perspective by P. Larouche and M.P. Schinkel in the following 2013 paper: .

    Cedric Argenton

    11 September 2015 at 2:56 pm

  3. The Behrens paper is truly interesting. An instant contender for the next antitrust ‘writing awards’.

    Incidentally, the paper shows how monolingualism (or at least monolingual reasearch) has led other authors to severe misunderstandings. Back in the day, my PhD advisor explained that serious research in any field of Law required reading at least German, French and English proficiently. I should have taken the advice more seriously (and actually written the thesis).


    22 September 2015 at 1:54 pm

  4. […] [2]    Peter Behrens, “The Ordoliberal Concept of ‘Abuse’ of a Dominant Position and its Impact on Article 102 TFEU,” September 9, 2015, Nihoul/Takahashi, Abuse Regulation in Competition Law, Proceedings of the 10th ASCOLA Conference Tokyo 2015, forthcoming. Available at SSRN: link. Quoted here. […]

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