What is economic liberalism? Simply put, economic liberalism is an economic and political theory favoring strong support for the marketplace and free-market economy in the way of personal property and production. The underlying principle is the idea that a society's progress can be measured by how well it has provided goods and services to its people. It also holds that people have a right to economic freedom and privacy, as these are key to the efficient operation of a marketplace. The classical liberal ideal of economic liberalism is often called “liberal socialism” because it favors a comprehensive system of economic policies, including extensive government regulation of markets and prices.
In contemporary terms, economic liberalism can be seen as a broad approach to economic problems – one that involves both state and private action to promote economic welfare. Proponents of economic liberalism claim that true liberalism does not support specific industries or protectionist measures such as protectionism. Instead, these are ideas of protecting individual rights – for example, protecting the environment from pollution, establishing appropriate prices and supporting technological innovation. Classical liberal economists tend to support a moderate form of economic policy, advocating the recognition and utilization of individual rights and the regulation of markets to enhance economic welfare.
By contrast, the more radical forms of liberalism believe in the absolute necessity for free-market capitalism. For these philosophers, economic liberalism is equated with laissez faire and unlimited access to capital. They advocate the regulation of markets to ensure adequate levels of competition and protect the interests of consumers. These radicals oppose the idea that the market can achieve equilibrium by itself and they seek to channel and balance economic activity through a strict system of regulation and taxation. The concern with economic liberalism has recently intensified because of the recent economic recession and the threat of stagflation in advanced economies.
Classical liberals and classical liberal economic thinkers oppose protectionism. Protectionism, they argue, is not consistent with liberty and economic freedom. For protectionism to have any meaningful effect on the free market, it would have to prevent the introduction of goods and services that would otherwise compete with those that are already in existence. Protectionism, they argue, also denies consumers the ability to choose how they purchase their goods and service. For these reasons, classical liberals support economic liberalism and oppose protectionism.
A further distinction that might be drawn between classical liberals and protectionists is that between economic liberals and laissez faire economic policies. For laissez faire, the state should seek to promote an overall increase in economic activity and income, providing consumers with adequate information and resources so that they can make economically responsible decisions. Protectionism, by contrast, restricts entry into the market for competitive reasons. It does not allow the market to function as it would if consumers had access to all available options. Protectionism inhibits competition and hinders economic activity.
While protectionism and laissez faire economic policies both limit access to markets, economic liberalism theoretically does not limit access to the markets at all. Therefore, economic liberalism provides a space for economic activity and prosperity, while laissez faire limits access to prosperity. While protectionism and laissez faire are both bad ideas, it is protectionism that poses the greater threat to our constitutional system and the economic prosperity we are all striving for. The time has come for us to find better remedies for protectionism and laissez faire.
One of the best things in life is seeing a smile on your parents' faces, and realizing that you are the reason. Just because someone else is not nice to us, doesn't mean we have to reciprocate in the same way. For every human in this world, God has given something noble and good in his heart. Always take care of your heart.
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