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To What Extent did classical liberalism meet the needs of so

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Anju Saji

on 4 March 2015

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Transcript of To What Extent did classical liberalism meet the needs of so

To What Extent did Classical Liberalism meet the needs of society?
Why did ideologies develop in opposition to Classical Liberalism?
How did Classical Liberalism respond to competing ideologies?
How did the concept of Equality expand?
Not everyone saw the Industrial Revolution and classical liberalism as positive influences to the economic and political structures of society.
Grassroot Movements
These were considered the movements of those who opposed classical liberalism and capitalism.
These were reactionary individuals who protested the use of industrial machinery
When skilled artisans were being replaced by efficient machines, their leader Ned Ludd (known to be the first person to destroy machinery in 1779) helped form the Army of Redressers (1811). Their movements were known as Luddism.
The Army of Redressers broke into factories and destroyed corporate machinery
They wanted to get rid of machines because it was what caused their unemployment and labour redundancy
Government Response= destruction of industrial machinery is made punishable by death (capital offense)
On April 20, 1812, Emanuel Burton's mill was unsuccessfully attacked. This is because Burton knew of the possibility of the attack so he posted armed guards. The guards killed a few Luddites. Angry, other Luddites burned Burton's house down, but the government military killed more Luddites afterward.
Eventually government suppressed movements through force and law. Those who were caught were killed or put into penal colonies.
These were working-class individuals who wanted social and political reform.
The six goals of their movement: universal suffrage for all men over 21, equal-sized electoral districts, voting by secret ballot, end the need for property qualifications for government, pay for MPs, and annual elections.
The right to vote was necessary in order for improvements for the working class and organizations. This would help them affirm modern liberalism, because previously the right to vote did not apply to the working class.
This Charter was rejected by the Parliament three times even though there was millions of signs on the petition.
Chartist leaders were arrested and thrown in jail. Protestors were wounded and killed. People began to focus on socialist movements after being rejected the third time.
Chartists showed the discontentment of common British society.
However most of the Chartist goals were met through the Reform Acts of 1867& 1884.
Socialist Ideologies
Some individuals rejected lack of equality & humanitarianism in classical liberalism. Socialism is the belief that resources should be for, and controlled by the public, not private owners/investors. Socialists value some of the principles of collectivism such as economic equality, and cooperation. They believed the main problem in the Industrial Revolution was that it lacked fair/just distribution of wealth to workers. Unlike the Grassroot Movements (Luddites, Chartists), socialist ideologies were successful.

Utopian Socialists
Utopia=imaginary, perfect, world used as a comparison to reality.
Utopians are humanitarians who advocated for better conditions for the working class. They were idealists who did not intend to change the social, political, and economic systems. Most believed that improved working conditions & a better education eradicated the worst aspects of capitalism.
Robert Owen believed that corruption was created by the harshness of human life. He believed that individuals could reach their full potential if they were given the freedom to pursue their interests (classical liberalism).
He also believed that education is key to achieving humanity. He improved workers living conditions, by giving them a higher standard of living and better quality of life. Owen was also concerned about working conditions and child labour. He designed an incentive where there was more cooperation between workers and supervisors. Owen wanted to also improve peoples moral character.
Some socialist ideologies suggested the end of private property. Socialists agreed that private property results in exploitation, and that society should be classless. Also they believed that government intervention results in economic equality.
This was also known as scientific socialism or communism.
Karl Marx believed that in order to overthrow capitalism, there needed to be a class struggle between workers & owners. Ultimately workers revolutions helped make changes to society. He wrote "The Communist Manifesto".
Marxist views suggest the abolition of private property and the centralization of factors/machinery through the state. This helped implement command economies.
Marxist parties were not successful in classical liberalist societies.
Generally socialist were non-violent, while through leaders like Lenin, communism arised.
Leon Blun followed Marxist ideas but still believed in socialism. He became the first socialist Prime Minister of France but resigned due to disparity in economic policy.
Marxism became popular and many Marxist/Communist countries thrived during the Great Depression.
Classical Conservatism
Edmund Burke (1729-1797) believed that Revolutions developed ideas of classical conservatism. He was close to Adam Smith. He believed that government represented the will of the people. It was the legacy of the past and the future inheritance for our descendents. Burke saw that the educated needed to dominate the irrational and uneducated public. His other beliefs included: that those who should be suitable to lead should lead and that society should form a hierarchy. Burke thought that the government should be chosen by a limited electorate with special rights, privileges, and responsibilities. He thought that leaders should be humanitarians, and that social stability should be achieved through law, order, and maintenance of customs/traditions. Burke was against tyranny (monarchy/dictators).
He viewed that people were not all equally gifted, therefore not everyone should participate in affairs of state. Ultimately, the absolute will of the people will lead to chaos.
Classical liberalists eventually witnessed the merits of their opponents views, beliefs, and practical applications, to the extent where they slowly altered their own views.
Welfare Capitalism
Welfare State
This was the addition of government protection for workers to the classical liberalist economy.
Classical liberalists began to see that there needed to change to the idea of capitalism.
Capitalism only focused on the benefit of corporations and not the rights/freedoms of the workers.
Labour Unions began to form as social programs designed to protect workers both socially and economically.
In order to prevent many worker complaints, industrialists like George Pullman gave out non-monetary rewards. Pullman built a village for his workers out capitalist reasons, not humanitarian.
Britain= Factory Acts series (beginning in 1810) improved working conditions in factories. There became to be decreased working hours, worker age regulation, and restricted working hours for women and children.
Germany= the government passed laws allowing workers illness and maternity leaves. There also became to be insurance for work-related injuries and old-age assistance.
President Roosevelt advocated for both labour and capital to be treated fairly. He coined the term "square deal" after his response to mine owners. The mine owners wanted him to send the army to straighten their revolting workers. Eventually, there was a compromise settlement. Later onwards, Roosevelt founded the National Progressive Party. His platform was generally progressivism.
Welfare capitalism was aimed for the workplace, however it it did not address child poverty, education, disability, etc.
Also, by the time period of WW1, the government sought more support from the industrialists.
In the 1920's, America prospers- there's mass production, consumer spending is high, there's low unemployment, wage increases, high supply/demand for grain, and even the stock market/credit increases. In the 1930's, stock market suddenly drops. France regains its ability to provide grain to Europe. Due to this, low demand, but high supply of grain in America. Banks begin to fail, factories shut down, unemployment rates increase, there becomes low demand for goods, and trade declines. Ultimately, the Great Depression was caused by free-market economic systems. Due to the Great Depression, the need for welfare state preceded the need for welfare capitalism. During the time, laissez-faire capitalism failed and economic and political views emerged into modern liberalism.
Influence of Great Depression on Labour
Political leaders worried that as the economy sank down, people would be encouraged to embrace Communism.
In Canada the Crowsnest Pass coal workers went on strike (1932). Originally the workers were part of an American miners union, however they formed a new Canadian Union (Mine Workers Union of Canada) after feeling that the American union ignored their grievances. Due to the Depression, mine owners lowered hours and wages of workers. Most Union members were moderates, however eventually leftists took over the Union. It became supported by the Communist Party of Canada. The strike did last 7 months, but there was compromise from both sides. The strike became the "Red Conspiracy" to both the government and capitalists.
Keynesian Economics
This was also known as demand-side economics. Keynesian Economics were the beliefs of John Maynard Keynes in response to the Great Depression.
Keynes was against free market/ the classical liberalist economy.
He believed that full employment does not always occur when there's a balance between supply and demand. Also he thought that in times of distress, people hoard their wealth causing a recession period.
Keynes wanted to avoid the unpredictability & destruction of unregulated market systems.
Keynes believed that periods of inflation were followed by periods of recession.
Prices of products increase during inflation = affordability decreases = unemployment increases due to factories shutting down = economy declines = leads to recession = this can eventually lead to a Depression
In order to moderate economic cycles, consumer demand needed to be controlled. During inflation, banks should raise taxes, and government should reduce spending on infrastructure. During deflation, taxes should decrease and government spending should increase to help the public (even if a deficit is created). The deficit would then be fulfilled during the next inflation cycle.
Government should regulate demand by manipulating the supply of money available to producers and consumers.
Monetary Policy= actions of a country's central bank to control supply of money. This would be like to lower interest rates, or printing/destroying mint.
Fiscal Policy= taking and spending functions of the government.
The government should be the biggest spender in the economy because its decisions directly effect the economy.
The Government should play a role in establishing economic certainty in the lives of their citizens.
Keynes Theories in Practice
American President Franklin D.Roosevelt attempted Keynes theories.
He implements many public works programs, built dams to help boost the economy.
His "New Deal" series of programs provided emergency relief, banking reforms,and tried to invigorate agriculture and economy.
This was a shift to the the welfare state and mixed economy. It was solidified after WW2 when legislation passed that the state should look after their citizens.
Labour standards produced improved goods and gave workers better working conditions. However legislative reforms intended to benefit the working class, was made only by the government and capitalists- the general public did not have a voice. The workers wanted an equal voice that spoke for their own interests. People began to seek for equal opportunity and equal respect for all members of society.
Labour Standards and Unions
Universal Suffrage
Classical Liberalism claimed equality for males, but only certain men were considered equals.
The right to vote was heavily restricted.
Britain= Parliament was composed of only aristocrats who elected each other into power.
Canada= the right to vote was determined by wealth or influence in the 18th century.
Women, FNMI, and other specific religious/ethnic groups did not obtain the right vote until years later.
The classical liberal view= voting is a privilege
The modern liberal view= voting is a right/responsibility
Eventually by 2002, all Canadian citizens were given the right to vote, including prison inmates.
Equality Rights for Women in Western Democracies

Feminism is the belief then men and women should be treated equally. The belief is thought to have rooted from the time of Enlightenment. Although, "the rights of man", was taken seriously, as to only include males, it provided people with the ideas of civil liberty.
Throughout history there has been a single purpose to females- as subordinates to man, and mother to his children.
Mary Wollstonecraft argued that education not only made better wives/mothers, but also knowledge made woman and man equals.
Ideas of "separate sphere" emerged during 19th century Victorian age which affirmed the inequality of women.
Women were believed to be inferior to men. They had no voice, and any restrictions placed on them were followed willingly or obeyed forcefully. Women in all classes worked hard-they were a source of cheap labour.
Slowly women began to interfere in public affairs, such as anti-poverty campaigns, child labour movements, and even tried to gain equitable divorce and property laws to be made equal to both men and women. Women agitated a lot for liquor controls too. They began to desire the right to vote.
Eventually during the 20th century, the government passed laws to promote equality of women. There were gender equality rights entrenched into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
However universal women's suffrage is still not accepted in some parts of the world.
In order to improve standard of living, workers formed unions.
This recognized the right of individuals to organize and bargain collectively.
Workers in a trade could bargain collectively for better hours and wages. They could even threaten to go on strike.
Unions gave ordinary people the power to bargain with powerful employers. The Union would negotiate for wages and decent working conditions, therefore, undermining capitalist powers.
Eventually the International Labour Organization was formed (1919), and in 1948, the UN recognized two additional articles regarding fair labour into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These were Articles 23 & 24.
Throughout the various chapters discussed in this Related Issue, it becomes conclusive that classical liberalism failed in producing equitable political, social, and economic systems. Individuals had many perspectives on the values society should focus on. Socialism focused on the ideologies of equality, harmony, and peaceful, human co-existence, where many hoped that one day, a government would not be necessary. With the addition of time and circumstances, classical liberalism slowly evolved. The first initiative was dramatic improvements to the working class. Then came the creation and acceptance of unions. Finally there come to the extent of equality rights for both men and women. Although classical liberalism did not completely change, there became more emphasis on achieving the welfare-state. Eventually classical liberalism transformed into modern liberalism.

Voice of Moderate Socialism
Fabian Society was from England (1884)
Members included George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, Emmeline Pankhurst, Bertrand Russell, and John Maynard Keynes
They formed the British Labour Party (1900)
Two previous Labour PM’s in Britain are members of the Fabian Society.
Fabians wanted liberalism to shift toward socialism
The CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation) in Canada was a moderate and democratic socialist party
They wrote the text “Regina Manifesto” about the failures of capitalism.
Eventually the CCF transformed into the NDP after merging with many labour groups
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