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Transcript of Liberalism
The Liberal State
Adam Smith "The Wealth of Nations"
Free market was not as regulating as Adam Smith had thought
Further development of industrialization led to:
Hereditary class positions
Unequal bargaining power (ex: rich employer, poor desperate worker)
Had industrial capitalism brought prosperity and liberty for all?
The Solution The interventionist state
1) Step in to guarantee living at an adequate level
2) Be responsible for basic welfare services (health, education, housing)
3) Ensure freedom of speech and press
"freedom and choice"
Origins & Development
First liberals challenged absolutism & the divine right of kings
Criticized the privileges that came with the "accident of birth"
Liberals call for a market economy free from government intervention
Representative government + market-based economics
State role should be limited to order and security
Government should not supervise religion, the press or free speech
The Problem with Misconceptions
A commitment to the individual
The desire to construct a society in which people can satisfy their interests
Humans are rational and reasonable
People are entitled to equal rights, and they should be rewarded according to their talents & willingness to work
What about the rest of the world?
Thomas Hobbes & John Locke: "the social contract"
A portion of their liberty
Respect & obedience
Protection of their rights
Safety & security
Liberal Attitudes Towards the State:
Governments' authority comes from the people & their consent
Governments should be neutral when its individuals come into conflict
A form of political rule
Limited government + regular free and fair elections
Laissez-faire [let them act]
Rationalist approach on human nature
Wealth is the amount of goods produced, not gold and silver
Government intervention retards growth; it banishes competition
The invisible hand
Freedom of choice [what goods to make, where to work, what to buy]
Driving forces: self-interest & acquisition/consumption of wealth
Belief that unrestrained pursuit of profit would lead to general benefit