Economic Libertarianism

In Michael Freeden, Lyman Tower Sargent & Marc Stears (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies. Oxford University Press. pp. 405 (2013)
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One core strand in the revival of free market doctrines in the second half of the twentieth century has been economic libertarianism, noted for the priority it gives to the economy and to economic reasoning about politics and public affairs. This chapter traces the evolution of economic libertarianism, from the Ordo-Liberal critique of collectivism and totalitarianism, to the neoliberal critique of social democracy and the welfare state. It explores the diversity of the ideas and policies associated with economic libertarianism, and its relationship with Conservatism. This is traced through discourses on the state, democracy, knowledge, and culture, which reveal the strengths as well as some of the dilemmas and weaknesses of this influential form of political economy.



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