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Wegner, G (2019). Overcoming Economic Nationalism: The “Invisible Hand” Solution of the European Union. Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch, 139(2-4), 421-436. https://doi.org/10.3790/schm.139.2-4.421
Wegner, Gerhard (2019). "Overcoming Economic Nationalism: The “Invisible Hand” Solution of the European Union" Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch, vol. 139no. 2-4, 2019 pp. 421-436. https://doi.org/10.3790/schm.139.2-4.421
Wegner, G (2019). Overcoming Economic Nationalism: The “Invisible Hand” Solution of the European Union. Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch, Vol. 139 (Issue 2-4), pp 421-436. https://doi.org/10.3790/schm.139.2-4.421

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Overcoming Economic Nationalism: The “Invisible Hand” Solution of the European Union

Wegner, Gerhard

Journal of Contextual Economics – Schmollers Jahrbuch, Vol. 139 (2019), Iss. 2-4 : pp. 421–436

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Wegner, Gerhard, Chair of Institutional Economics and Political Economy, University of Erfurt, Nordhäuser Str. 63, 99089 Erfurt, Germany.

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Abstract

After the First World War, a previously well-functioning economic order collapsed in Europe and the Western countries. Economic nationalism of the interwar period also changed the international economic order dramatically and became one issue of the Colloque Walter Lippmann. After the “half- and three quarters Western democracies” (Tooze 2015) of the period prior to World War I had turned into full democracies, they proved incapable of restoring the liberal pre-war economic order domestically and in international trade. Bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations failed, giving rise to a new debate on the prerequisites of an international economic order. I argue that decades later the European Union found a solution to that issue. Of key importance was the gradual constitutionalization of the European Treaties. I show that the trade liberalization prepared by the courts resembles a concept suggested by Jan Tumlir but defies application to non-EU countries. By transforming fundamental economic freedoms laid down in the European Treaties into subjective rights through jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice, the process of trade liberalization occurred in a non-politicized mode. The incompleteness and tardiness of creating a Common Market was the inevitable price for this success story. A withdrawal from this constitutionalization of basic economic freedoms, as proposed recently, for example, cannot be recommended. Their arguments are being examined. The reduction of the European Treaties would lead to a re-politicization of trade policy bearing unforeseeable consequences for free competition.