The aim of the trialogue series "German Sonderweg?" was to promote an opening for more plurality in economics by including all relevant stakeholders and by creating a diversity of perspectives. In the dialogues, perspectives within German economics and political economy were brought together to discuss the premises and orientation of the discipline. The aim was to give a voice to approaches from mainstream economics as well as heterodox positions. The focus was not so much on the question of which economic theory better represents reality and which economic policy instruments are more effective, but rather why there is a German special path at all.
Plural economics and the German Sonderweg
For several decades, the neoclassical school has been the theoretical core of a dominant economic theory in science and politics. In Germany in particular, the neoclassical perspective is regarded as an unquestionable paradigm at universities. This also has an impact on policy advice, where academic neoclassicism is blended with sprinklings from the ordoliberal tradition and other theoretical approaches to form a specifically German mainstream.
During the financial crisis of 2008, political economics was neither able to sufficiently recognise nor satisfactorily explain its dynamics and causes. In the political arena, economics is less and less trusted to contribute to solving upcoming social challenges - not least because the one-dimensional focus on a mainstream perspective persists despite the 2008 financial crisis.
International developments in economics, and especially in policy advice, are more pluralistic than is perceived in Germany. More and more researchers are turning to approaches in which historical, sociological and philosophical aspects take up more space; more and more international organisations such as the OECD or the IMF are coming to divergent economic policy conclusions. Developments in Germany are increasingly being seen as a special German path.
Research Institute for Social Development, Aktionsgemeinschaft Soziale Marktwirtschaft, University of Siegen, Institute for New Economic Thinking