Social liberalism Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_liberalism
Political ideology within liberalism
This article is about the variety of liberalism that supports a regulated market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights. For the branch of liberalism that advocates civil liberties with an emphasis on economic freedom, see Classical liberalism. For the ideology that stresses the freedom of individuals from traditional cultural norms, see Cultural liberalism. For the political philosophy that incorporates liberal principles in socialism, see Liberal socialism. For advocacy of social reform, see Progressivism.
John Stuart Mill contributed enormously to liberal thought by combining elements of classical liberalism with what eventually became known as the new liberalism. Mill developed this philosophy by liberalising the concept of consequentialism to promote a rights based system. He also developed his liberal dogma by combining the idea of using a utilitarian foundation to base upon the idea of individual rights. The new liberals tried to adapt the old language of liberalism to confront these difficult circumstances, which they believed could only through a broader and more interventionist conception of the state could this be resolved. Ensuring that individuals did not physically interfere with each other or merely by impartially having formulated and applied laws could not establish an equal right to liberty. More positive and proactive measures were required to ensure that every individual would have an equal opportunity for success.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a group of British thinkers known as the New Liberals made a case against laissez-faire classical liberalism. It argued in favour of state intervention in social, economic, and cultural life. What they proposed is now called social liberalism. The New Liberals, including intellectuals like Thomas Hill Green, Leonard Hobhouse, and John A. Hobson, saw individual liberty achievable only under favourable social and economic circumstances. In their view, the poverty, squalor, and ignorance in which many people lived made it impossible for freedom and individuality to flourish. New Liberals believed through collective action coordinated by a strong, welfare-oriented, and interventionist state could alleviate these conditions.
Although still partially informed by older Liberal concerns for character, self-reliance, and the capitalist market, this legislation nevertheless marked a significant shift in Liberal approaches to the state and social reform, approaches that later governments would slowly expand and that would grow into the welfare state after the Second World War. What was new in these reforms was the underlying assumption that the state could be a positive force, that the measure of individual freedom ... was not how much the state left people alone, but whether he gave them the capacity to fill themselves as individuals.
However, the German left-liberal movement fragmented into wings and new parties over the 19th century. The main objectives of the left-liberal parties—the German Progress Party and its successors—were free speech, freedom of assembly, representative government, secret and equal but obligation-tied suffrage, and protection of private property. At the same time, they were strongly opposed to creating a welfare state, which they called state socialism. The main differences between the left-liberal parties were:
The National-Social Association, founded by the Protestant pastor Friedrich Naumann also maintained contacts with the left liberals. He tried to draw workers away from Marxism by proposing a mix of nationalism and Protestant-Christian-value-inflected social liberalism to overcome class antagonisms by non-revolutionary means. Naumann called this a "proletarian-bourgeois integral liberalism". Although the party could not win any seats and soon dissolved, he remained influential in theoretical German left-liberalism.
In the Weimar Republic, the German Democratic Party was founded and came into an inheritance of the left-liberal past and had a leftist social wing and a rightist economic wing but heavily favoured the democratic constitution over a monarchist one. Its ideas of a socially balanced economy with solidarity, duty, and rights among all workers struggled due to the economic sanctions of the Treaty of Versailles, but it influenced local cooperative enterprises.
In France, solidaristic thinkers, including Alfred Fouillée and Émile Durkheim, developed the social-liberal theory in the Third Republic. Sociology inspired them, and they influenced radical politicians like Léon Bourgeois. They explained that a more extensive division of labour caused more opportunity and individualism and inspired more complex interdependence. They argued that the individual had a debt to society, promoting progressive taxation to support public works and welfare schemes. However, they wanted the state to coordinate rather than manage, encouraging cooperative insurance schemes among individuals. Their main objective was to remove barriers to social mobility rather than create a welfare state.
David Lloyd George, who became closely associated with this new liberalism and vigorously supported expanding social welfare
The welfare state grew gradually and unevenly from the late 19th century but fully developed following World War II, along with the mixed market economy and general welfare capitalism. Also called embedded liberalism, social liberal policies gained broad support across the political spectrum because they reduced society's disruptive and polarizing tendencies without challenging the capitalist economic system. Businesses accepted social liberalism in the face of widespread dissatisfaction with the boom and bust cycle of the earlier financial system as it seemed to them to be a lesser evil than more left-wing modes of government. Characteristics of social liberalism were cooperation between big business, government, and labour unions. Governments could assume a vital role because the wartime economy had strengthened their power, but the extent to which this occurred varied considerably among Western democracies. Social liberalism is also a generally internationalist ideology. Social liberalism has also historically been an advocate for liberal feminism among other forms social progress.
Most of the social democratic parties in Europe (notably the British Labour Party) have taken on strong influences of social liberal ideology. Despite Britain's two major parties coming from the traditions of socialism and conservatism, the most substantive political and economic debates of recent times were between social liberal and classical liberal concepts.
Alexander Rüstow, a German economist, first proposed the German variant of economically social liberalism. In 1932, he dubbed this kind of social liberalism neoliberalism while speaking at the Social Policy Association. However, that term now carries a meaning different from the one proposed by Rüstow. Rüstow wanted an alternative to socialism and the classical liberal economics developed in the German Empire. In 1938, Rüstow met with various economic thinkers—including Ludwig Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Wilhelm Röpke—to determine how and what could renew liberalism. Rüstow advocated a powerful state to enforce free markets and state intervention to correct market failures. However, Mises argued that monopolies and cartels operated because of state intervention and protectionism and claimed that the only legitimate role for the state was to abolish barriers to market entry. He viewed Rüstow's proposals as negating market freedom and saw them as similar to socialism.
Following World War II, the West German government adopted Rüstow's neoliberalism, now usually called ordoliberalism or the social market economy, under Ludwig Erhard. He was the Minister of Economics and later became Chancellor. Erhard lifted price controls and introduced free markets. While Germany's post-war economic recovery was due to these policies, the welfare state—which Bismarck had established—became increasingly costly.
State can't take the place of individuals, but, it must take into consideration the individuals to make them improve and develop theirselves. Etatism includes the work that individuals won't do because they can't make profit or the work which are necessary for national interests. Just as it is the duty of the state to protect the freedom and independence of the country and to regulate internal affairs, the state must take care of the education and health of its citizens. The state must take care of the roads, railways, telegraphs, telephones, animals of the country, all kinds of vehicles and the general wealth of the nation to protect the peace and security of the country. During the administration and protection of the country, the things we just counted are more important than cannons, rifles and all kinds of weapons. ... Private interests are generally the opposite of the general interests. Also, private interests are based on rivalries. But, you can't create a stable economy only with this. People who think like that are delusional and they will be a failure. ... And, work of an individual must stay as the main basis of economic growth. Not preventing an individual's work and not obstructing the individual's freedom and enterprise with the state's own activities is the main basis of the principle of democracy."
Moreover, Atatürk said this in his opening speech on 1 November 1937: "Unless there is an absolute necessity, the markets can't be intervened; also, no markets can be completely free." He said that the principle of statism was a unique economic system for Turkey and that it was different from socialism, communism, and collectivism.
The post-war governments of other countries in Western Europe also followed social liberal policies. These policies were implemented primarily by Christian democrats and social democrats as liberal parties in Europe declined in strength from their peak in the 19th century.
American political discourse resisted this social turn in European liberalism. While the economic policies of the New Deal appeared Keynesian, there was no revision of liberal theory in favour of more significant state initiatives. Even though the United States lacked an effective socialist movement, New Deal policies often appeared radical and were attacked by the right. American liberalism would eventually evolve into a more anti-communist ideology as a result.American exceptionalism was likely the reason for the separate development of modern liberalism in the United States, which kept mainstream American ideology within a narrow range.
John Rawls' principal work, A Theory of Justice (1971), can be considered a flagship exposition of social liberal thinking, noted for its use of analytic philosophy and advocating the combination of individual freedom and a fairer distribution of resources. According to Rawls, every individual should be allowed to choose and pursue their conception of what is desirable. At the same time, the greater society must maintain a socially just distribution of goods. Rawls argued that differences in material wealth are tolerable if general economic growth and wealth also benefit the poorest.A Theory of Justice countered utilitarian thinking in the tradition of Jeremy Bentham, instead following the Kantian concept of a social contract, picturing society as a mutual agreement between rational citizens, producing rights and duties as well as establishing and defining roles and tasks of the state. Rawls put the equal liberty principle in the first place, providing every person with equal access to the same set of fundamental liberties, followed by the fair equality of opportunity and difference, thus allowing social and economic inequalities under the precondition that privileged positions are accessible to everyone, that everyone has equal opportunities and that even the least advantaged members of society benefit from this framework. This framework repeated itself in the equation of Justice as Fairness. Rawls proposed these principles not just to adherents of liberalism but as a basis for all democratic politics, regardless of ideology. The work advanced social liberal ideas immensely within the 1970s political and philosophic academia. Rawls may therefore be a "patron saint" of social liberalism.
Following economic problems in the 1960s and 1970s, liberal thought underwent some transformation. Keynesian financial management faced criticism for interfering with the free market. At the same time, increased welfare spending funded by higher taxes prompted fears of lower investment, lower consumer spending, and the creation of a "dependency culture." Trade unions often caused high wages and industrial disruption, while total employment was considered unsustainable. Writers such as Milton Friedman and Samuel Brittan, whom Friedrich Hayek influenced, advocated a reversal of social liberalism. Their policies—often called neoliberalism—had a significant influence on Western politics, most notably on the governments of United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the United States President Ronald Reagan. They pursued policies of deregulation of the economy and reduction in spending on social services.
Part of the reason for the collapse of the social liberal coalition was a challenge in the 1960s and 1970s from financial interests that could operate independently of national governments. A related reason was the comparison of ideas such as socialized medicine, advocated by politicians such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, facing criticisms and being dubbed as socialist by conservatives during the midst of the Red Scare, notably by the previously mentioned Reagan. Another cause was the decline of organized labour which had formed part of the coalition but was also a support for left-wing ideologies challenging the liberal consensus. Related to this were the downfall of working-class consciousness and the growth of the middle class. The push by the United States, which had been least accepting of social liberalism for trade liberalization, further eroded support.
Contemporary revival of social liberal thought
From the end of the 20th century, at the same time that it was losing political influence, social liberalism experienced an intellectual revival with several substantial authors, including John Rawls (political philosophy), Amartya Sen (philosophy and economy), Ronald Dworkin (philosophy of law), Martha Nussbaum (philosophy), Bruce Ackerman (constitutional law), and others.
In North America, social liberalism (as Europe would refer to it) tends to be the dominant form of liberalism present, so in common parlance, "liberal" refers to social liberals. In Canada, social liberalism is held by the Liberal Party of Canada, while in the United States, social liberalism is a significant force within the Democratic Party.
Some notable scholars and politicians ordered by date of birth who are generally considered as having made significant contributions to the evolution of social liberalism as a political ideology include:
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^Daniel Matthews-Ferrero; Patrik Fritz; Robert Steenland (24 April 2019). "EU country briefing: Slovakia". EURACTIV. Recent presidential elections were seen as a crossroads: sticking with the old establishment in the form of SMER-supported EC Vice-President for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, or a desire for change embodied in the political novice Zuzana Čaputová from the relatively new social liberal Progressive Slovakia (PS) party.
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^Denney, Steven (31 December 2015). "An Identity Crisis for South Korea's Opposition". The Diplomat. Retrieved 24 June 2019. "South Korea's main opposition social-liberal party is reeling (again) from intraparty factional struggle. Rebranded earlier this week "the Minjoo Party of Korea" (formerly New Politics Alliance for Democracy), the party is searching for a new identity and direction after high profile and popular assemblyperson Ahn Cheol-soo defected on 13 December."
^"Seoul Mayor's Death Shocks South Korea". The Diplomat. 9 July 2019. Retrieved 9 November 2021. Ryu Ho-jeong of the small liberal opposition Justice Party wrote on Facebook that she won't pay respects to Park, saying she doesn't want the alleged victim to “feel lonely.” Her message drew both strong support and opposition online.
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^ abGoldstein, Amir (Spring 2011). "'We Have a Rendezvous With Destiny'—The Rise and Fall of the Liberal Alternative". Israel Studies. 16 (1): 27, 32, 47. doi:10.2979/isr.2011.16.1.26. S2CID143487617. Thus, the PP continued to represent mostly white collar and government workers, intellectuals, and the labor intelligentsia, all of whom favored the social liberalism, broadly-based universal views, and social and religious pluralism that the party stood for.⁴(27); Kol wrote to Goldmann...: 'But the party must be founded on a clear ideological basis, and no such basis exists between our progressive humanistic liberalism and Herut.'²⁰(32); Kol emphasized that, 'The Herut Movement and social liberalism cannot dwell together in the same house.'(47)
^Franičević, Vojimir; Kimura, Hiroshi, eds. (2003) Globalization, Democratization and Development: European and Japanese Views of Change in South East Europe. "Towards the end of the 1990s the social-liberal Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan, DPJ) consolidated and replaced Shinshinto as a rival of LDP."
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^Adam Bronson (2016). One Hundred Million Philosophers: Science of Thought and the Culture of Democracy in Postwar Japan. University of Hawaii Press. p. 56. Maruyama Masao, the left-liberal historian of political thought