‘Liberals have always been divided over the role that the state should play in the economic and social spheres.’ Discuss. (30 marks)

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Dulcimer
  • Created on: 30-12-14 18:15
View mindmap
  • ‘Liberals have always been divided over the role that the state should play in the economic and social spheres.’ Discuss. (30 marks)
    • The Economic Sphere 
      • Early Liberal Party
        • Committed to classical liberalism ideas
          • particularly
            • Laissez faire capitalism
              • individuals would be allowed to enter and succeed or fail in the market on their own merits 
                • without state help or hindrance 
              • economy would operate strictly according to the laws of supply and demand 
                • Inequality was viewed as an incentive to enterprise 
              • repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 
                • marked the triumph of such a laissez faire approach in the UK 
          • Herbert Spencer
            • The Man Versus The State (1884)
              • laissez faire liberalism to Darwin’s theory of evolution
                • Spencer’s ideal society was one characterised by competition and the ‘survival of the fittest.’
                  • Result = Progress
                • Comparison
            • Opposed government extension
              • particularly any policies to deal with social problems
                • poverty & child exploitation in factories
                  • Weak not surviving part of natural process
          • Samuel Smiles
            • Self-Help
              • (1859)
      • Values, programmes and policies promoted by the Liberal Party in the Last 3rd of the 19th Century
        • reduced its commitment to the free market 
          • accepting that some redistribution of wealth was required 
          • material inequalities should be narrowed 
            • ALBEIT by increased state activity
              • accepting that some redistribution of wealth was required 
              • T H Green
                • Positive freedoms > negative freedoms
                • Actual freedom
                  • to achieve full potential and personal development
                    • even if state intervention is necessary
        • Although out of government 1922-2010
          • Progressive Liberalism continued to influence Liberal Party economic thinking
      • Liberal Democrat Party’s attitudes towards economic policy 
        • progressive rather than Classical Liberalism dominated thinking in this policy arena 
          • leaders with policies that showed this in particular regard to taxation, public spending and green policies
            • Ashdown
            • Kennedy
            • Campbell
        • pro-market ideas outlined in the ‘Orange Book’ 
          • by those Liberal Democrats who believed that their party had moved too far to the left on economic policy 
        • divisions are still apparent today 
          • as rifts between Clegg and his Liberal Democrat opponents clearly reveal 
            • since he took his party into coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 
    • The Social Sphere 
      • First two thirds of the nineteenth century 
        • classical liberalism influenced Liberal Party thinking and policy 
          • party accepted what was basically a ‘survival of the fittest’ system 
          • commitment to negative freedoms which advocated freedom from external interference 
            • especially by government and the state 
          • state was viewed as a necessary evil 
            • role being merely to safeguard law, order and security 
      • Last third of 19th & early 20th century
        • Progressive Liberalism began to challenge the classical ideas 
          • T. H. Green and his criticisms of classical social theorists such as Samuel Smiles 
            • Green began the idea of positive freedom
              • means for a person to have the power to fulfil their potential
                • to have freedom from internal restraints
          • Hegel
            • proponent of positive freedom
              • "Freedom is the fundamental character of the will, as weight is of matter... That which is free is the will.
                • Will without freedom is an empty word."
        • Liberal Party changed its position on the role the state should play 
          • attempt to improve social welfare 
          • because free-market capitalism was perceived as being responsible for the setting up of barriers to genuine freedom for the working classes 
            • disadvantaged by poverty, ignorance and sickness 
        • ‘positive’ as opposed to ‘negative’ freedoms 
          • Policy examples 
            • Lloyd George
              • pension reforms
                • Early part of 20th Century
            • Beveridge Report 
              • 1942 
        • Post-war Liberals and most Liberal Democrats today 
          • continued to support this ‘progressive’ approach towards social policy 
            • Whilst some divisions are apparent 
              • over the extent to which the state should be involved in welfare provision and social policy 
                • differences are less pronounced here than they are in the economic domain 

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »See all Liberalism resources »