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Study Notes

Classical liberalism

Level:
A-Level, IB
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, IB

Last updated 3 Jun 2020

The classical liberal school of thought is opposed to an expansion in the role of the state.

With regards to social justice, classical liberals believe that social problems should be solved by market forces. This faith in the market even extends to the privatisation of essential public services. Ultimately, the marketplace is by far the best system for meeting our needs.

For instance, Adam Smith claimed an equitable society originates from a process of bargaining based on mutual self-interest. In contrast, the dead hand of the state can lead to over-regulation and excessive bureaucracy that undermines the economy.

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