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Modern Liberalism Core Concepts. Individualism Individuality Self-fulfilment achieved through the realisation of an individual’s distinctive or unique.

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Presentation on theme: "Modern Liberalism Core Concepts. Individualism Individuality Self-fulfilment achieved through the realisation of an individual’s distinctive or unique."— Presentation transcript:

1 Modern Liberalism Core Concepts

2 Individualism

3 Individuality Self-fulfilment achieved through the realisation of an individual’s distinctive or unique identity; that which distinguishes one person from all others This is created via refinement of our intellectual, moral or aesthetic qualities to enable self-development

4 John Stuart Mill

5 Lower pleasures Higher Pleasures People are not always the best judge of what is good for them (self interest) More educated need to decide on behalf of an ignorant population

6 Rule Utilitarianism to enable Law Developed from Act Utilitarianism An act is right if it conforms to a rule which, if generally followed, produces good consequences Should the greatest pleasure principle of the majority always be the rule? Mass society maximising the pleasure of the majority would it be the best society to live in ?

7 Positive Freedom

8 T. H Green The unrestrained pursuit of profit, as advocated by Classical Liberalists, had given rise to new forms of poverty and injustice The economic liberty of the few had blighted the life chances of the many State of Nature Man is not egotistical but empathetic – our egoism is constrained by elements of altruism The individual possesses social responsibilities not just individual ones – this view is clearly influence by socialists Green’s views are described as ‘Social Liberalism’

9 Negative Freedom Negative freedom merely removes external constraints on the individual, giving the individual freedom of choice E.g. a business wishing to maximise profits can employ the cheapest labour justified by negative freedom Economic freedom can therefore lead to exploitation and so freedom in the marketplace is an inadequate conception of freedom Acknowledges only legal and physical restraints on liberty

10 Positive Freedom Ability to develop and attain individuality Realise individual potential, attain skills and knowledge To achieve fulfilment Liberty may also be threatened by social disadvantage and inequality

11 The State An enabling state An increasingly wide range of social and economic responsibilities Society is still not more important than the individual - creating a distinction between modern liberalism and socialism The state cannot force people to be good but it can provide the conditions in which they can make morally responsible decisions People can only be self-reliant if the state creates the social conditions to allow it

12 Social Liberalism

13 Equality of Opportunity People are disadvantaged by their social circumstances This can be created via equal life chances Social security, health, education etc The creation of a welfare state - a state that takes primary responsibility for the social welfare of its citizen

14 Beveridge Report The Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services Was an influential document in the founding of the welfare state in the UK Published in December 1942 Chaired by William Beveridge, an economist, who identified five "Giant Evils" in society: Squalor, ignorance, want, idleness, and disease Proposed widespread reform to the system of social welfare to address these Highly popular with the public, the report formed the basis for the post-war reforms known as the Welfare State, which include the expansion of National Insurance and the creation of the National Health Service

15 Roosevelt and the ‘New Deal’ The ‘New Deal’ intended to alleviate economic want and joblessness, provide greater opportunities, and restore prosperity Work relief programs provided jobs Tennessee Valley Authority were created to promote economic development A Social security system was established The New Deal consisted of three types of programs designed to produce "Relief, Recovery and Reform“: Relief was the immediate effort to help the one-third of the population that was hardest hit by the depression. Recovery was the goal of restoring the economy to pre-depression levels Reform was based on the assumption that the depression was caused by the inherent instability of the market and that government intervention was necessary to rationalise and stabilise the economy, and to balance the interests of farmers, business and labour

16 ‘New Frontier’ Policies John F. Kennedy introduced a series of social and economic reforms: Unemployment benefits were expanded Aid was provided to cities to improve housing and transportation The agricultural act raised farmers’ incomes Anti-poverty legislation was passed Increases in social security benefits Increases in the minimum wage Expansions and improvements were made in Social Security Food stamps for low-income Americans were reintroduced Food distribution to the poor was increased Expansion in school milk and school lunch distribution

17 ‘Great Society’ programme Lyndon Johnson’s domestic reforms programme carried on from Kennedy Kennedy’s reforms were not completed due to his death Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms The elimination of poverty The elimination of racial injustice New major spending programs on: Education Medical care Urban problems Transportation

18 Rawls ‘A Theory of Justice’ Developed a defence of redistribution and welfare based on the ideas of ‘equality as fairness’ If people were unaware of their social position and circumstances then they would view an egalitarian society as ‘fairer’ than an in-egalitarian one, on the grounds that the desire to avoid poverty is greater than the attraction of riches Veil of Ignorance

19 Economic Management

20 John Maynard Keynes Deliver prosperity by managing their economies The Great Depression and the Wall Street Crash illustrated the dangers of a laissez faire economy After WW2 virtually all western countries adopted policies of economic intervention Keynes argued that the level of economic activity is determined by the total amount of aggregate demand in the economy He suggested that governments could manage their economies by influencing the level of aggregate demand

21 Keynesian Economics Government spending is an injection of demand into the economy Taxation is a withdrawal from the economy – it reduces aggregate demand and dampens down economic activity Governments should ‘reflate’ their economies at times of high unemployment by either increasing public spending or by cutting taxes Unemployment could be solved by government intervention – in this case by running a budget deficit (the government overspends) Tax and spend policies


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