Learning Liberalism and the Welfare State
New Thinking in Political Economy series
Chapter 2: The Liberal Model of Market Order: The Evolutionary View
2.1 INTRODUCTORY REMARKS At the outset I drew the attention to a role of economic liberalism which diﬀers from the legitimation approach in recent conceptions of economic liberalism. Unlike this approach, I leave aside the normative question of deriving a legitimate political order or a new constitution. By accepting the constitutional status quo I do not, however, deem diﬀerent democratic constitutions to have equal legitimatory status. For instance, there are good reasons to distinguish between the legitimacy of direct and representative democracy, or between centralized political systems and federalism; these political systems diﬀer with regard to the extent to which they allow citizens to articulate and follow their political preferences. Neither do I argue that economic liberalism cannot contribute to conceiving criteria for gauging the legitimacy of alternative democratic constitutions. Rather, I suggest that one consider the extant political order and its political output in a preliminary sense as legitimate, leaving aside reﬂections which challenge the legitimacy of economic policy. I presuppose, here, that the focus be limited to democratic political regimes. My premise is motivated by the need to explain the potential conﬂict between current (which I tentatively qualify as legitimate) politics and the emergence of welfare in the market order. To question the legitimacy of democratic politics in general is beyond my scope here, for even in cases of political failure, the legitimacy of democratic politics can remain intact, as I show later on. It is then more interesting to explain why non-liberal...
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