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» Economics » Economic policy » Topics begins with E » Economic constitution

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The term economic constitution becomes related to different meaning meanings. The term actually comes of to the terminology of the restaurant and social sciences. There he is understood in the sense "of the total decision over the order of the economic life of a community ".

Also in the jurisprudential linguistic usage in Germany different meaning meanings are attached to the term. In former times he was usually understood as the whole of all standards of the public and private right, in which regulations are contained for economic order. Today it became generally accepted however to name the term the whole of the economiceconomics legal rules in the rank of the constitutional law. To that extent the term means "economic constitution "in Germany the legal basic regulation of the economic order resulting from the Basic Law.

The economic constitution of the Basic Law

However the Basic Law does not contain differently than still those a section, which regulates explicitly "the economic life "of Weimar realm condition (kind 151 - 166 WRV). Also with the admission of the fundamental rights of the occupation liberty (kind 12 exp. 1 GG), the property warranty (kind 14 exp. 1 GG) and the general freedom of action (kind 2 exp. 1 GG) no economic system should be given to the Basic Law. This wanted to leave the parliamentary advice of the future. Also the socialization regulated in kind 15 GG should in it nothing change. Nevertheless in particular in the post-war period, in addition, this very day, about one argued which restaurant economics contains the Basic Law.

Hans's Carl Nipperdey

Hans's Carl Nipperdey the thesis developed that the economic constitution of the social free-market economy is the basis for the Basic Law. He saw the general freedom of action ensured in kind 2 exp. 1 GG as the Magna Charter of the free-market economy, which supplements the basic concept of the social free-market economy by the welfare state principle constitutionally ensured. The legislator must no laws create, which contrary-run the social free-market economy this with its legislation work consider and may therefore also.

Ernst Rudolf Huber

Ernst Rudolf Huber placed itself against Nipperdeys concept and stated, the Basic Law be the basis the concept of one "mixed economic constitution ". This results from the equilibrium between openness ensured in the fundamental rights on the one hand and the material system conclusion from other regulations.

Wolfgang Abendroth

Contrary to the conservative public law-learn the socialistically oriented Staatsrechtler and Politologe Wolfgang Abendroth had tried to stress the socialnational elements of the Basic Law. By the welfare state clause in his opinion of the society the constitutional possibility one open, "its own bases umzuplanen ". Socialism can be carried out therefore also under the Basic Law; who occurs for it, offence against the liberal democratic constitutional structure and may not be pursued therefore also not as an alleged condition enemy.

The Federal Constitutional Court

The Federal Constitutional Court rejected these beginnings early and already committed themselves in the investment aid decision from 20 July 1954 (BVerfGE 4, 7) going by that the Basic Law guarantees neither the politico-economic neutrality of the government and legislative power still one only with means conforming to market trends "social free-market economy" which can be steered. The condition giver decided not expressly for a certain economic system. Therefore the Federal Constitutional Court speaks of "the economiceconomics neutrality "of the Basic Law.

Further development

The Federal Constitutional Court to a large extent maintained its iurisdiction "of the politico-economic neutrality "and it also in the participation decision of the 1. March 1979 (BVerfGE 50, 290), in which it around the constitutionality of the law of codetermination went, essentially confirms. However the Federal Constitutional Court already pointed out in this decision seriously still as in the investment aid decision that the legislative possibilities for the transformation in the fundamental rights would have to find their borders.

Also later change of Basic Law, in particular the 1967 with kind 109 GG imported possibility of the global control and also the development in connection with the German unit and the European integration changed nothing in prevailing opinion in the politico-economic neutrality of the Basic Law.


  • Peter Badura/Fritz Rittner/Bernd law of codetermination 1976 and Basic Law, Munich 1977
  • Ernst Rudolf Huber, the controversy over the economic constitution (I), in: 1956, P. 97 FF.
  • Hans's Carl Nipperdey, economic constitution and Federal Constitutional Court, Cologne, Berlin, Munich 1960

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