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POLS 110 Study Guide - Final Guide: Social Liberalism, Positive Liberty, Economic Liberalism

Political Studies
Course Code
POLS 110
Eleanor Mac Donald
Study Guide

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Politics Exam Notes
How does the state work? (How does power function?)
Many different parts of different things to show overall interests of society, all
people represented
Only people of elite status have effect on state
Class battles between owners/workers, state policies to work with both parties
Elite emerges, hierarchy created, usually group of upper middle class from same
background will gain power in state
State must support capitalism within a society, minority owns all production and
majority does work
Power is the capacity to produce outcomes.
Elitist Analysis of Power
Elite control behaviour of others (supreme court, the wealthy)
Laws benefit the powerful
Who has power?
Pluralist Analysis of Power
Are “interests” of different groups reflected in “outcomes” of policy decisions
made by state?
oIndicates power is roughly shared
How is power distributed?
Third Analysis of Power
Power functions best when least noticed (consent better than coercion)
Consent occurs through the shaping of desire and beliefs
People unaware of their own “real interests”
- Social progression through reform and by changing laws rather then by revolution
Major Tenets of Liberalism
Individualism – rational human beings that want to survive
Freedom – enter into the contracts that benefit us
Reason – everyone will benefit when I make best contracts for myself
Property – way of benefiting from our use of reason
Contract – enter into contract to exchange goods and labour
Public/private split – state only involves itself in what it must, the other aspects of
a person’s life remain private
Social progress – when we all behave rationally, we help progress everyone in our
Assumption in individualism, rationality and competitiveness
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Liberalists believe that humans are:
Autonomous, rational, competitive, self-interested, acquisitive
Reason will lead to human progress
Human Nature and the State (Liberalist State)
Reason will lead to contract with other people to protect common interests
Protection from state itself
Common value of freedom
Recognize equality of others
Tolerant of human differences (ex. Religion)
Economic Liberalism
Linked to rise of capitalism
Industrial Capitalism – based on division of labour and increase in technology
The “invisible hand of the market”
oEach person seeking personal benefit also benefits everyone else
Best allocation of resources and talents
People do things in order to get money
Justification of private ownership
Social Liberalism
Linked to rise of democracy
Society should benefit individuals
Equality of opportunity beneficial
We benefit when others also enter into rational contracts (positive freedom)
State has role in social development
Individual and social rights
Greater social awareness and care for others
Return of classic liberalism
Rejects most reasons for state involvement
oLimited State Involvement, only involved in:
Law & order
Enforce private contracts
Support competitive markets
Limited State produces more most moral citizens because:
oLive with consequences of own actions
oDevelop self-reliance
oTalents develop to maximize opportunities for your own benefit
oRewarded for taking calculated risks
Negative freedom
Property is important
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Market economy will produce fairest and best outcomes
Everyone will benefit from economic advances made my capitalism
Comparison between Social Liberalism and Neo-Liberalism
Social Liberalism Neo-Liberalism
Positive freedom Negative freedom
Social rights Individual rights
Development democracy Protective democracy
Moral development in shared
democratic development
Moral development of individual as
consequence of competitive striving
Critical of neo-liberalisms anti-state
Critical of too much democracy - only
good if supports economic liberalism
-Preserving the best in society and opposing radical changes
Major Tenets of Conservatism
We will never full understand human beings, human nature too complex
Customs/traditions important as they are basis for stability
The importance of order and stability
Practical reason – Ie. What can we do to keep things stable?
Inequality – inevitable and part of life, should be left alone
Community of unequal’s – all people have different strengths and weaknesses,
doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get along
Society as organic whole – try to work as a whole, not taking out and replacing
Assumption in importance of stability and belonging
Conservative State
Natural leadership – respect authority
Need for government – importance of rule
Not aiming for a perfect society (practical)
Importance of compromise
Checks on power, checks on democracy
Use of power for good of whole
Importance of trust and national interest
Social Change and Conservatism
Social change very gradual
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