MODERN LIBERALISM POSITVES
As an ideology, modern liberalism is generally considered to be in the center of the economic spectrum and is based upon the idea of a mixed economy that includes elements from both the left and right. It first emerged out of the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the rise of socialist movements and values that swept across Europe and North America at the time. Historians consider the emergence of socialism, and in turn modern liberalism, as a response to some of the appalling conditions present in classical liberal societies of the Industrial Revolution. Modern liberalism was preceded by classical liberalism and both are part of liberalism as an ideology. Click here to read more about the history of modern liberalism.
As stated above, modern liberalism is associated with the center of the economic and spectrum because it allows for elements from both socialist ideologies and capitalist ideologies, combined with individual rights and freedoms and the principle of rule of law. As such, economists consider modern liberal societies to be examples of a welfare state and mixed economy. It developed in response to the perceived hardships created by classical liberalism in the 19th century and the early 20th century in England and the United States during the time frame of the Industrial Revolution and the Great Depression. Today, most modern democratic countries are some degree of modern liberalism, including: United States, England, France, Canada, etc. As such, when people today consider the positives and negative aspects of modern liberalism they often use the impacts of industrialization and economic recession to determine their response.
First off, there are several positive aspects of modern liberalism. On the positive side, a mixed economy benefits society because it focuses on the principles from the both the left (collectivism) and right (individualism) sides of the spectrum. This is positive because it means that a mixed economy does not contain the extreme left elements of a command economy or the extreme right elements of a free market economy and it instead tries to strike a balance between both. As such, many economists argue that a mixed economy is more stable because it can change to the conditions of the economy and be more free market or command when needed. For example, usually in a mixed economy, the government intervenes less in a period of boom which is when the economy is doing well. However, when the economy is in recession, the government generally intervenes more in order to prevent a crisis and improve the overall economy. Furthermore, under a mixed economy, the government still allows free market principles, thereby still allowing for self-reliance and competition in the economy. At the same time, a mixed economy avoids the issue of income disparity common in a classical liberal society under a free market economy, because it allows government intervention that steps in to provide basic social programs if people are in need. Therefore, many consider a mixed economy to be a system that balances the needs of the citizens with their freedoms. Furthermore, another positive of modern liberalism is that while it includes elements from the left side of the spectrum, it still allows for both individual rights and freedoms and rule of law. These principles are important in maintaining a society based on democratic values and their inclusion ensures that citizens in modern liberal countries enjoy freedom from oppression by their own governments.
Another positive development of classical liberalism was the emergence of rule of law. Similar to the development of rights and freedoms, rule of law protected citizens from the authoritarian rule of absolute monarchs. For example, the concept of rule of law is based on the idea that a country should be ruled by a distinct and clear set of laws instead of the individual rule of a singular person. Rule of law also holds that all people are equal before the law, including the rulers. As such, the development of rule of law in societies across Europe and the United States were positive because they limited the rule of the government and protected the security and well-being of individual people.