The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Liberalism and Economics

  • Ralf Dahrendorf
Reference work entry


Liberalism is the theory and practice of reforms which has inspired two centuries of modern history. It grew out of the English Revolutions of the 17th century, spread to many countries in the wake of the American and French Revolutions of the 18th century, and dominated the better part of the 19th century. At that time, it also underwent changes. Some say it died, or gave way to socialism, or allowed itself to be perverted by socialist ideas; others regard the social reforms of the late 19th and 20th centuries as achievements of a new liberalism. More recently, interest in the original ideas of liberals has been revived. Thus, classical liberals, social liberals and neoliberals may be distinguished.


Anarchism Beveridge, W. H. Buchanan, J. M. Capitalism Classical liberalism Conservatism Democracy Friedman, M. Hayek, F. A. von Invisible hand Keynes, J. M. Liberalism Liberty Locke, J. Market Minimal state Natural rights Neoliberalism Nozick, R. Popper, K. Rule of law Smith, A. Social contract Social democracy Social liberalism Social market economy Social rights Socialism Stagflation supply-side economics Totalitarianism Uncertainty Unemployment Welfare state 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralf Dahrendorf
    • 1
  1. 1.