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To the point in 800 words

Timon Renz makes first place in the „Think-Ordo! Essay Contest“

Freiburg, Apr 18, 2017

To the point in 800 words

Photo: Thomas Kunz

Is ordoliberalism a blessing or a curse for Europe? That is the question the University of Freiburg’s blog „Think Ordo!“ asked students to answer in the form of an essay contest. Timon Renz wrote a convincing piece: His essay „Ordoliberalism as Southern Europe sees it: authoritarian and anti-democratic“ landed him in first place. Mariella Hutt asked the economics and political science student why it was worth boiling down such a complex subject into 800 words.

Short and concise: Timon Renz had to focus on the essentials when writing his essay about ordoliberalism. Photo: Thomas Kunz

Mr. Renz, how did you get the idea to write your essay about ordoliberalism from a Southern European perspective?

Timon Renz: I follow the English-language media in Southern Europe along with what German newspapers write about Southern Europeans. It is noticeable how economic policy, which is allegedly influenced by Germany, is strongly criticized. Oftentimes all the Greeks, Italians and Portuguese can do is shake their heads at it all. I can completely understand the Southern Europeans’ criticism. They go directly from college graduation to the unemployment line. People’s dreams are dead. They have nothing to look forward to and that at such a young age.

What made you decide to participate in the essay contest?

It was through the seminar „Economics Blog“ that I did with Prof. Dr. Tim Krieger. We wrote articles for the blog „Think Ordo!“ in class, presenting and discussing current economic affairs. I was totally into writing. In addition, I had taken an introductory class in business journalism that offered helpful writing tips. Through these classes I gained the confidence to tackle such a complex issue.

But writing is a part of college life.

That’s true. But for class papers I often write scientific texts loaded with foreign words and convoluted sentence structures. In the course I learned to write short, pithy sentences that are formulated as clearly as possible. One teacher told us: „Even smart readers deserve to read simple texts.“

What was the most difficult part of writing your piece?

Writing an essay is a lot of work, which is hard to believe because it reads so easily. The most difficult part is the subject: Ordoliberalism is not a unified theory, but rather a variety of approaches, schools of thought and ideas. Breaking it down into smaller parts is painstaking. I had to remind myself that I could only scratch the surface of the issue with a 1,000-word text. I had to know exactly what I wanted to say without losing myself with too many words.

What would you like to achieve with this essay?

Ordoliberalism is not the most popular topic amongst students, even those who study economics. It is usually just mentioned briefly. I would love for students in Freiburg to pay more attention to it because it is an exciting topic. It is simply overlooked that ordoliberalism could indeed be a promising economic order – along with planned economies and neoliberalism. Besides it is important to me that readers better understand the Southern European viewpoint. We often laugh about their work ethic or their illegal employment and falsely judge their situation from our perspective here in Germany.


Timon Renz’s Essay „Ordoliberalism as Southern Europe sees it: authoritarian and anti-democratic“

Blog Posts in Think Ordo

If you are interested in learning more about ordoliberalism, you can participate in the summer semester 2017 lecture series „Ordoliberalism’s influence in Europe: Past, Present and Future“.

Further information