Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Economic Liberalism, Neoliberalism, Robert Nozick
Course CodePolitical Science 1020E
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Community 1 – Oct. 13
What is the conception of the good?
• A view about what makes people’s lives worth living
• Your view of the good life, what makes life worth living
The Story of the Course So Far
What is Politics, Power, and the State?
Politics: Question on the exam?
Power: the currency of politics
State: institution that is the focus of politics
We are asking about the fundamental political (moral) values at the heart of our social and
political lives; social justice, freedom, equality
Next: what does it mean to say that our society is liberal and democratic?
A Central Liberal Claim:
Liberals are mainly concerned with individual freedom
What does this imply about the value of community?
What is implied with the value of community in relation to the liberal commitment to freedom?
Liberalism is not Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is sometimes called economic liberalism
Neoliberalism defends unrestricted markets: laissez-faire economy (No parties in Canada are
“liberal” in the economic sense)
But liberalism only wants to defend individuals’ freedom to form, revise, and pursue a
conception of the good life.
Seven Community-Inspired Objections to Liberalism
Do Liberals Assume that People are Selfish?
Sometimes “community” is a code for “morality”: people should care for each other, so we
should reject egoistic liberal (somehow institutionalized selfishness) individualism
But liberalism is a moral doctrine: it says that the freedom (as autonomy) of each person
• Liberal morality aims to ensure that individuals are free to decide for themselves how to
live, as long as they treat others with equal respect
• The appeal to individual rights is not institutionalized selfishness
Do Liberals Recommend a Minimal State?
Any liberal state should protect and promote the freedom of individual citizens
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