Social liberalism also referred to as reform liberalism is a political concept that seeks to uncover the balance between personal freedom and social justice. Economic freedom is a system of economics that explains conservative organization along individual lines which means that the greatest possible number of decisions on the economy is made by households or people rather than an institution or organization (Nielsen, 2015).
Both socialism and economic liberals share a similar position on various issues. They are both for Civil Rights and gender equality. According to Coates (2014), they vehemently oppose sexism as well as racism, and they are wary on the participation of religion in the government. They also share economic views in that they advocate for social security, minimum wage and other legislations that focus on helping the poor. For example, after the World War I, Lloyd George liberalism in Britain introduced some programs to help the poor. In 1906, local authorities were mandated to provide free food in schools. In 1908, Young persons Legislation was introduced which offered punishment to individuals who neglected children. The same year, pensions for people over 70 years was also added, and in 1911 the National Insurance Legislation was passed. Under Margret Thatcher leadership, she introduced tax exception for poor people with temporary employment (Coates, 2014).
Both social Liberalism and economic liberalism are based on the assumptions of self-interest, and they share in the preference of individuals being self-reliant by taking responsibility for their lives.
Economic liberalism is a combination of both classical liberalism and neo-liberalism economic concepts. Social liberalism, by contrast, is modern liberalism or welfare liberalism that is linked with the notion that unregulated market economy produces unfair and unequal wealth distribution. Socialists and economics have contrasting views on capitalism which is the economic system.
Economic liberalism wishes to reform capitalism by offering a way to catch the poor before they even hit bottom by regulating the upper class and their firms so that their efforts for profit do not offer a lot of harm. Socialists advocate for the end of capitalism and replacing it with an equitable and a just economic system. That is, an economic system which is controlled by ordinary citizens and based on the needs of the world and its populace rather than the greedy individuals and the wealthy few (Coates, 2014). For instance, Thatcherism was strongly linked to the idea of the government controlling the supply of money as a way of controlling inflation hence limiting individuals liberty promoted by socialism.
Economic liberalism promotes negative freedom, unlike socialism which advocates for positive freedom. Unrestrained business for profit under economists in the United Kingdom gave rise to a new form of poverty and injustice due to the freedom possessed by owners of factors of production. The economic freedom of the few impacted the life chances of many people as it led to extreme exploitation (Nielsen, 2015). On the other hand, socialism promoted positive freedom which acknowledged liberty for all individuals regardless of them being either owners of factors of production or labor.
While the two movements share same positions, the difference in them is that the economists strengthen capitalism while the socialist weaken it. The socialist offer people with the tools and the right attitude that needs to defeat a prosperous economy which discriminates the poor (Nielsen, 2015).
Coates, D. (2014). The UK: Less a liberal market economy, more a post-imperial one. Capital & Class, 38(1), 171-182.
Nielsen, K. (2015). On the Choice between Property-Owning Democracy and Liberal Socialism.. Unpublished. Posted online at http://phil. ucalgary. ca/profiles/kai-nielsen.
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