Rudolf WiethölterWirtschafts- und Arbeitsrecht

Rudolf Wiethölter, Wirtschafts- und Arbeitsrecht, in: Rudolf Wiethölter (ed.), Rechtswissenschaft, Frankfurt am Main 1968, 246 et seq.


Rudolf Wiethölter, born 17 July 1929 in Solingen, Germany, is a German lawyer and professor Emeritus for civil law at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitty of Frankfurt at Main. His book “Rechtswissenschaft”, which was written in cooperation with Rudolf Bernhardt and Erhard Denninger, became “a celebrated classics of the ’68 Generation” and enrolled Wiethoelter in the history of jurisprudence. His political law theory is characterized by a disenchantment with the law.


In this essay by Prof. Dr. Rudolf Wiethölter, Chapters XIII and XIV therein deal with economic and corporate constitutional law.Wiethölter considers the topic of economic law from the viewpoint of political law theory.

In chapter XIII, the author deals with the problem and definition of economic constitutional law.He notes the modern trend towards an increased politicization of the economy.He defines economic constitutional law as the interplay between political and economic events, i.e., between the constitutional, state and social theory. However, in the opinion of the author, the preconceptions for precise enlightenments and systematic outlines on this issue are missing. Therefore, his work only distinguishes trends, developments and approaches in this legal field. He concludes that economic law is a political right and that the setting of norms will become a deliberate political means. Law as a form will be deliberately transformed into law as a function – as an instrument. The law is still not developed enough for these modern requirements. Prof. Wiethölter sees the mission of the society in the 20th century as one which politicizes law and economics within the meaning of the demands of a democratic society unto itself, and he calls the formula, which in his opinion could be realized: from the nonpolitical (neo-) liberalism to political (neo-) pluralism, but not a laissez-fair-pluralism.

In Chapter XIV, Prof. Wiethölter addresses corporate constitutional law (CCL) and emphasizes how comprehensive this term is. CCL encompasses (among other things) companies, constitution, law, expanded participation, economic democracy, connection of capital and labor, democratization of society and of economic life; in other words, the Federal Republic of Germany in specific aspects. The author examines whether the CCL debate is ready to leave the stage of the discussion in favor of action. In the opinion of Prof. Wiethölter, the appropriate key to a CCL workshop provides for an extended participation, which is also a part of social and political institutions. Here, the trade unions play an important role.Prof. Wiethölter considers companies as a significant part of the public and political life; these large-scale companies are winning a new social and institutional importance and must be democratized. He compares the importance of large-scale companies in modern society with the political importance of cities, municipalities, public organizations and corporations.

The author also introduces the viewpoint that law is not ready to respond to the demands of modern life and comes to the conclusion that CCL is only an appropriate keyword for the creation of new and complicated democratic mechanisms. It is about a proper understanding of modern state, society, economy, interest representation, checks and balances and federalism. The CCL-discussion is about nothing less than the political and democratic society itself and the direction of its development between “capitalism” and “socialism”.


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