Repository | Book | Chapter


(2008) The birth of biopolitics, Dordrecht, Springer.

LAST WEEK I TRIED to show you how ordoliberalism necessarily entailed a Gesellschaftspolitik, as it was called, that is to say, a policy of society and a social interventionism that is at the same time active, multiple, vigilant, and omnipresent. So, on the one hand there is a market economy, and on the other an active, intense, and interventionist social policy. But we should again carefully underline that this social policy in ordoliberalism is not to function like a compensatory mechanism for absorbing or nullifying the possible destructive effects of economic freedom on society or the social fabric. In actual fact, if there is a permanent and multiform social interventionism, it is not directed against the market economy or against the tendency of the market economy. On the contrary, this interventionism is pursued as the historical and social condition of possibility for a market economy, as the condition enabling the formal mechanism of competition to function so that the regulation the competitive market must ensure can take place correctly without the negative effects that the absence of competition would produce. The Gesellschaftspolitik must not nullify the anti-social effects of competition; it must nullify the possible anti-competitive mechanisms of society, or at any rate anti-competitive mechanisms that could arise within society.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9780230594180_7

Full citation:

Senellart, M. , Ewald, F. , Fontana, A. (2008)., 21 february 1979, in M. Senellart, F. Ewald & A. Fontana (eds.), The birth of biopolitics, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 159-184.

This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.