To what extent do liberals agree about the economy


To what extent do liberals agree about the economy


  • All liberals believe the economy should offer freedoms to the consumer and producer as this promotes negative freedom. To enable this to occur there should be minimal government intervention. The state is not needed much within the economy as all liberals believe individuals are rational and are capable of making rational economic choices.... John Stuart Mill would also agree that a free market economy is needed as individuals should be able to do as they please as long as they don't harm anybody else "Over herself... the individual is sovereign" Mill wanted individuals to have choice as they are rational beings and deserve to be free in all their decisions. Therefore showing how liberals do agree strongly about the economy
  • All liberals would agree that in the economy there will be a rich and poor divide in the economy due to meritocracy. Because all individuals have equal chance to rise and fall there will be divides in the economy due to differences in how hard people worked.Betty Friedan would agree with this as she believes in equality of opportunity, she wanted men and women to have the opportunity to the same things (e.g jobs) and therefore believes as everybody has equal opportunity they have an opportunity to rise and fall..... Even though John Rawls was not an advocate of inequality, "No one knows his place in society, his class position or social status.. the principle of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance" he believed that within certain limits economic inequality is justifiable as it helps the economy become richer, or gives the poor a ladder to climb up in order to become wealthy. Therefore showing how although liberals have the same basic ideas about the economy, they do not completly agree.


  • Classical liberals believe that there should be a free market economy without government intervention. John Locke would agree that government intervention is not needed in the economy because it should be limited and individual liberty should be preserved (this means individuals being able to make their own economic choices) "Preservation of their lives, liberties and estates". Classical liberals wanted this to preserve negative freedom. Whereas modern liberals believe Keynesian economic management is needed in extreme circumstances like a recession. They believe this as it helps the worst and will help individuals live to their potential. Therefore demonstrating how they do no agree about the economy
  • Classical liberals believe that within an economy wealth should be privately owned, to preserve fugitive freedom. Classical liberals would support laissez-faire capitalism. Modern liberals however would believe that government is needed to play a positive role in the economy by promoting economic freedom through the use of taxes, to allow everyone more equal opportunities and economic support. Modern liberals believe in developmental individualism and therefore would want taxes to help the poorest live to their potential.This shows how modern and classical liberals do not agree about the economy.

Overall comparison

Modern liberals and classical liberals have similar views on the economy, however complications arise when discussing the economic divide between the rich and poor. Fundamental decisions on the economy such as state having minimal control over the economy is agreed. Both modern and classical liberals main aim is to preserve negative freedom. 


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