Although all liberals stress liberty, they differ on their intended meanings of the word. Friedrich Hayek and others adopted a minimal and negative view of liberty as the absence of coercion. But even this formulation is ambiguous. Some Chicago liberals identify wealth as the expression of liberty. By contrast, republican liberty is denied in terms of the absence of potential coercion. A slave is unfree even if he or she is uncoerced. In the republican view, legal or policy interventions by the state do not necessarily reduce liberty. Another tradition, including John Stuart Mill, Thomas H. Green and Michael Polanyi, takes a complementary and positive view of liberty in terms of individual development. Considerations of what people need for their autonomous growth and flourishing must follow. Final sections of the chapter examine the nature of human needs and the institutional means required for their ongoing identification.
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