The author reconstructs the conceptual genesis of the social market economy (ESM), tracing it back to ordoliberalism. In the fi rst part she describes the main principles of the ESM (in the FRG of the 40s and 50s) and analyses the concept of the ordoliberal economic constitution. Then she argues that the EU would have adopted the same model. In the second part she investigates the origin of this concept going back to the crisis of the Weimar Republic, describing it as a reaction to the social democratic constitution and the pluralistic state. In the third part she examines the ordoliberal concept of community as an antidote to class society. The aim is to show how the ESM, by referring to ordoliberalism, ultimately aims to remove the confl ict over political decisions concerning the economy.
Keywords: ordoliberalism, social market economy, economic constitution, Weimar constitution, Federal Republic of Germany, European Union.