Medieval scholastics, German ordoliberalism and EU Competition Law; a History of Ideas
PhD student: Mr W. Vandermeulen
Promotor: W. Druwé
Duration: 1/9/2021 - 30/6/2027
Recent research has shown that the historical roots of EU competition law go back further than the 19th century, which is classically presumed to be its starting point. There is evidence suggesting that certain ideas about monopolies, cartels, price fixing, ... go back as far as the 13th century. During the late Middle Ages and Early Modern Times, they were refined and developed intensely in the Christian scholastic tradition as it existed in Europe between
the days of Thomas Aquinas and the work of Hugo Grotius. During the 20th century, those ideas regained importance through the works of authors such as Hffner and Eucher, who sought to formulate an alternative to the economic policies of the Nazi's. This school of thought, known as 'Ordoliberalism' or 'the Frankfurt School', greatly influenced the development of competition law within the EEC (later: EU) during the 1950s and '60s. The goal of my research is
double. On the one hand, it is descriptive as it seeks to document the ideas of the scholastics and their reception by the German ordoliberals. On the other hand, it is normative given that it seeks to find if and to what degree modernday problems, discussions, unclarities, ... within EU competition law could be dealt with more efficiently by being aware of the historical context within which certain ideas, definitions, mechanisms, ... were developed.