Liberalism and the problem of poverty

Critical Review 6 (4):493-516 (1992)
From the seventeenth to the mid?nineteenth centuries, the language of natural law and natural rights structured the commitment of liberalism to the development of both a market society and democratic political institutions. The existence of widespread poverty was seen, at various times, as a problem to be resolved either by an expanding commercial/capitalistic society or through democratic political reform. As Thomas Home shows in Property Rights and Poverty, liberalism as apolitical theory has, from its origins, been deeply committed to (at least a minimalist) social welfare policy. Nevertheless, not only have the dimensions of the problem of poverty increased with the growth of democratic capitalist society, but also, viewed from an historical perspective, it is the problem of poverty that exposes the fundamental tensions at the heart of liberal political theory.
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DOI 10.1080/08913819208443277
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John Locke (1966). Two Treatises of Government. Philosophical Quarterly 16 (65):365.

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