Social Philosophy and Policy 28 (2):19-55 (2011)
AbstractLiberalism generally holds that legitimate political power is limited and is to be impartially exercised, only for the public good. Liberals accordingly assign political priority to maintaining certain basic liberties and equality of opportunities; they advocate an essential role for markets in economic activity, and they recognize government's crucial role in correcting market breakdowns and providing public goods. Classical liberalism and what I call “the high liberal tradition” are two main branches of liberalism. Classical liberalism evolved from the works of Adam Smith and the classical utilitarian economists; its major 20th century representatives include Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. The high liberal tradition developed from John Stuart Mill's works, and its major philosophical representatives in the 20th century are John Dewey and, later, John Rawls. This paper discusses the main distinguishing features of the classical and the high liberal traditions and their respective positions regarding capitalism as an economic and social system. Classical liberals, unlike high liberals, regard economic liberties and rights of private property in productive resources to be nearly as important as basic liberties. They conceive of equality of opportunity in more formal terms, and regard capitalist markets and the price system as essential not only to the allocation of production resources, but also as the fundamental criterion for the just distribution of income, wealth, and economic powers. High liberals, by contrast, regard the economic liberties as subordinate to the exercise of personal and civic liberties. They are prepared to regulate and restrict economic liberties to achieve greater equality of opportunities, reduce inequalities of economic powers, and promote a broader conception of the public good. And while high liberals endorse markets and the price system as essential to allocation of productive resources, they do not regard markets as the fundamental criterion for assessing just distributions of income, wealth, and economic powers and positions of responsibility. The paper concludes with some reflections upon the essential role that dissimilar conceptions of persons and society play in grounding the different positions on economic justice that classical and high liberals advocate
Similar books and articles
Justice and Truth: A Critical Examination of the Liberal Contract.Jacques Poulain - 2003 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 77:53-72.
High Leverage Finance Capitalism, The Economic Crisis, Structurally Related Ethics Issues, and Potential Reforms.Richard P. Nielsen - 2010 - Business Ethics Quarterly 20 (2):299-330.
The fa Ade of equality in liberal democratic theory.Richard Lichtman - 1969 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 12 (1-4):170 – 208.
Liberal Values vs. Liberal Social Philosophy.Nicholas Capaldi - 1990 - Philosophy and Theology 4 (3):283-296.
Academic Capitalism as a Key Challenge and the Emergence of the New Economy Scenario.Michelina Venditti & Emilia Ferone - 2012 - World Futures 68 (4-5):352 - 366.
Bringing Capitalism Back for Critique by Social Theory.Jennifer M. Lehmann (ed.) - 2002 - Jai.
The Private Equity-Leveraged Buyout Form of Finance Capitalism: Ethical and Social Issues, and Potential Reforms.Richard P. Nielsen - 2008 - Business Ethics Quarterly 18 (3):379-404.
Religious Imagination in a Late Secular Age: Extending Liberal Traditions in the Twenty-first Century.Linell E. Cady - 2011 - American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 32 (1):23 - 42.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
Workplace democracy—The recent debate.Roberto Frega, Lisa Herzog & Christian Neuhäuser - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (4):e12574.
The dominating effects of economic crises.Alexander Bryan - 2021 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 24 (6):884-908.
Are Economic Liberties Basic Rights?Jeppe von Platz - 2014 - Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 13 (1):23-44.
Are economic liberties basic rights?Jeppe von Platz - 2014 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (1):23-44.
Rethinking the Very Idea of Egalitarian Markets and Corporations: Why Relationships Might Matter More than Distribution.Pierre-Yves Néron - 2015 - Business Ethics Quarterly 25 (1):93-124.
References found in this work
A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning Into Moral Subjects.David Hume & D. G. C. Macnabb (eds.) - 1738 - Collins.