Making Liberalism Work

Issue Date July 2023
Volume 34
Issue 3
Page Numbers 77–89
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The basic premise of liberalism, that a market economy and liberal democracy are mutually reinforcing, is under attack. High inequality, deep dislocations due to globalization and technology advances, and right-wing populism threaten it. But much of what is called liberalism is a neoliberal project that has dominated policymaking since the early 1980s. The rebuilding of the German economy after the Second World War shows that an entirely different model of liberalism, embodied in the “social market economy” ideal, is possible. For liberalism to work, however, we must recognize that a market economy serves society and not the other way around, and that competition in the market arena and political arena helps preserve freedom.

About the Author

Thomas F. Remington is visiting professor of government at Harvard University and Goodrich C. White Professor of Political Science (emeritus) at Emory University. His books include The Returns to Power: A Political Theory of Economic Inequality (2023).

View all work by Thomas F. Remington