New Liberalism vs Old Liberalism



  • based on ideas of the ‘Rainbow Circle’ (a group of progressive Liberal politicians and thinkers, including Hobhouse, Hobson and Haldane).
  • the state should provide a ‘safety net’ for the most vulnerable.
  • government intervention should be limited to helping only the most vulnerable
  • aimed to solve the social problems caused by industrialisation: slum housing, increasing poverty, ill-health and ignorance.
  • economic growth alone would not solve social problems .
  • most people should help themselves rather than rely on the state for support.
  • taxes should be increased to fund government intervention to support the vulnerable.
  • Laid the foundations for the post-1945 welfare state.
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  • associated with William Gladstone, Liberal leader 1867-1894.
  • self-help: individuals and families should support themselves.
  • individual freedom of speech and worship.
  • minimal government intervention.
  • thrift: individuals, families and government should be careful with money. Their spending should not exceed their income.
  • economic growth would solve social problems.
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