Liberalism Wikipedia

Liberalism failed to take root in India due to various factors such as the country’s history of colonization, the prevalence of caste and communal identities. The challenges posed by poverty and inequality have also made it difficult to promote liberalism among the masses. It also lays its focus on egotism, self-reliance, and self-accountability. As a UPSC CSE aspirant, understanding the concept of liberalisation, its objectives, and the subsequent economic impact is of utmost importance. It not only enhances your comprehension of India’s economic evolution but also equips you to appreciate the underlying dynamics of current economic issues.

The third element of the liberal international order is international norms. Liberal norms favour international cooperation, human rights, democracy and rule of law. When a state takes actions contrary to these norms, they are subject to various types of costs. However, international norms are often contested because of the wide variation in values around the globe. For example, the European Union placed an arms sale embargo on China following its violent suppression of pro-democracy protesters in 1989. For example, favourable views of the United States decreased significantly around the world following the 2003 invasion of Iraq because the invasion was undertaken unilaterally (outside established United Nations rules) in a move that was widely deemed illegitimate.

Wilson exercised restraint because of American public opposition, his own personal values, unified Mexican hostility and the military losses incurred in the fighting. International opinion also appears to have influenced Wilson’s thinking as anti-Americanism began to sweep through Latin America. As Arthur Link points out, ‘Altogether, it was an unhappy time for a President and a people who claimed the moral leadership of the world’ (Link 1956, 405). The Cold War featured extensive ideological competition and several proxy wars, but the widely feared World War III between the Soviet Union and the United States never occurred.

  1. The thinkers and philosophers of the Enlightenment period were sceptical about the role of laws, administration, custom etc.
  2. Democratic peace theory argues that democracies rarely, if ever, go to war with one another.
  3. For biographies of individual philosophers, see John Locke; John Stuart Mill; John Rawls.
  4. This was first seen post-World War II as liberals turned to international institutions and diplomats to carry out a number of functions the state could not perform in the wake of the war, such as protecting human rights.
  5. In times of conflict, war or unrest, a neutral and nonpartisan organization can cross all borders—physical and ideological— to provide unprejudiced care and support.

The recession of the Cold War in the mid-seventies and finally the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991 turned the condition of liberalism upside down. It was being felt that only liberalism could provide solace to all people of the world. It was capable of solving the basic problems both economic and political. John Adams, in his Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (1787), was more explicit. India’s economic reforms were aided by a balance of payments problem in 1985. This crisis caused the government unable to pay for basic imports and service its debt obligations.

History of Liberalization

First, democratic states are characterised by internal restraints on power, as described above. Second, democracies tend to see each other as legitimate and unthreatening and therefore have a higher capacity for cooperation with each other than they do with non-democracies. Statistical analysis and historical case studies provide strong support for democratic peace theory, but several issues continue to be debated. This means there are few cases of democracies having the opportunity to fight one another.

Liberalism, political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics. Liberals typically believe that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others, but they also recognize that government itself can pose a threat to liberty. The problem, then, is to devise a system that gives government the power necessary to protect individual liberty but also prevents those who govern from abusing that power. In John Locke’s theory, the consent of the governed was secured through a system of majority rule, whereby the government would carry out the expressed will of the electorate. However, in the England of Locke’s time and in other democratic societies for centuries thereafter, not every person was considered a member of the electorate, which until the 20th century was generally limited to propertied white males. There is no necessary connection between liberalism and any specific form of democratic government, and indeed Locke’s liberalism presupposed a constitutional monarchy.

Liberalism: Introduction, Origin, Growth and Elements

But the liberals do not advocate for absolute or unrestricted freedom because freedom/liberty will do more harm. His theory of natural rights, right to property, concept of consent, constitutionalism, people’s right to dislodge a government for its future to act in accordance with the terms and conditions of contract are classic examples of liberal thought. Modern liberals are generally willing to experiment with large-scale social change to further their project of protecting and enhancing individual freedom.

Liberalism In India

These institutional restraints can break down if the political culture of a society does not include a strong dose of liberal norms. For example, anti-statism (a belief that the power of the government should be limited) and anti-imperialism (a belief that conquest of foreign peoples is wrong) are liberal norms. A society infused by liberal norms has an added level of restraint above and beyond the purely institutional limitations on state power. A liberal citizenry will naturally oppose government actions that threaten individual liberty and choose represen-  tatives that will act on liberal preferences.

It believes that the interests or welfare of the individual should be given primacy over all other values and principles. Individual is the basic concept of political theory and arrangements shall be made to safeguard his interest. Liberalism says that since a political system consists of individuals it should be the chief objective of this system to see that their interests are fully protected and the individuals are quite capable of doing their own job. (1) The collapse of feudalism is an important cause of the origin of liberalism. In the feudal period the feudal lords practically controlled the economy and politics along with the church and its fall opened the advent of capitalism and emergence of a middle class which aspired to have a positive role in politics.

Liberalism contains a variety of concepts and arguments about how institutions, behaviours and economic connections contain and mitigate the violent power of states. When compared to realism, it adds more factors into our field of view – especially a consideration of citizens and international organisations. Most notably, liberalism has been the traditional foil of realism in features of liberalisation IR theory as it offers a more optimistic world view, grounded in a different reading of history to that found in realist scholarship. Modern liberals define Liberalism with characteristics like welfare State, positive liberty, and intervention of the State in the market to promote social welfare. The modern liberalism also calls for equal accessibility for all individuals.

Economic liberalization

Ultimately, the goal is for states to see institutions as mutually beneficial; a good example is NATO, which uses transnational ties to create a security community among Western countries. In the spring of 1914, the United States invaded the Mexican city of Veracruz because of a dispute over the detention of several American sailors in Mexico. However, US–Mexican relations were already troubled because of President Woodrow Wilson’s liberal belief that it was the duty of the United States to bring democracy to Mexico, which was a dictatorship. The initial objectives of the American war plan were to occupy Veracruz and neighbouring Tampico and then blockade the east coast of Mexico until American honour was vindicated – or a regime change occurred in Mexico. Instead, he reduced his war aims, halted his forces at Veracruz and withdrew US forces within a few months.

Moreover, India saw a massive transformation in its foreign exchange system, transitioning from a fixed exchange rate regime to a market-determined exchange rate system. India, prior to 1991, operated on an economic model characterised by heavy governmental control and protectionism. However, the economic crisis of 1991 marked a turning point in India’s economic policy. With the foreign reserves dwindling to a point that they could barely cover a few weeks of imports, India was compelled to reorient its economic approach. Thus, was born the era of liberalisation in India, driven by the trinity of economic reforms – liberalisation, privatisation, and globalisation (LPG). In conclusion, the liberalisation of the Indian economy marked a turning point in the nation’s economic history.

The primary institutional check on power in liberal states is free and fair elections via which the people can remove their rulers from power, providing a fundamental check on the behaviour of the government. A second important limitation on political power is the division of political power among different branches and levels of government – such as a parliament/congress, an executive and a legal system. When India liberalised its economy in 1991, it set the stage for a socio-economic transformation that would propel the nation into a new era of prosperity. The walls of protectionism were dismantled, as the Indian market opened its doors to the world.

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