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Both support free enterprise, private property, and smaller government, etc., but what are their differences? I know it has nothing to do with Objectivism, but it's still worth to ask.

asked Jan 24 '12 at 14:25

Collin1's gravatar image


edited Jan 24 '12 at 18:10

Not sure how this question relates to Objectivism, but I'll offer an answer nonetheless.

Liberalism is a political doctrine whereas neoliberalism is an economic doctrine. Political liberalism when applied to the realm of economics results in neoliberalism; i.e. the sovereignty of the individual and his rights when in the marketplace.

The prefix "neo" was placed on the term after the economic era which saw the popularization of Keynesianism (i.e. state-centric approach to market "fine-tuning") beginning in the early 20th century. This may be the cause of your confusion. I would recommend reading the Wikipedia articles on each term to gain a basic understanding.

It may also be worth noting that neoliberalism is not exactly laissez-faire economics, which is what Ayn Rand advocated. Neoliberals tend to support a small amount of government regulation of the marketplace.

answered Jan 24 '12 at 16:10

JK%20Gregg's gravatar image

JK Gregg ♦

Although it claims support for free markets, Classical Lockean-style Liberalism doesn't support many of the tenets of Capitalism (which is a key part of neoliberalism). For example, the ideas of wage labor, partial/share ownership and using/renting the capital of others are rejected by Classical Liberalism.

One of the ideas central to Classical Liberalism is that labor should directly lead to ownership, rather than to a wage. While Liberalism described some of the foundational concepts behind property rights, some Marxists have cited this line of thinking as supporting their "worker first" philosophy, since it places no value on the creation or use of capital.

Modern Classical Liberalists seem to believe that Capitalism is seriously flawed, because it somehow encourages abuse by the "rentiers" (owners of capital).

answered Jan 24 '12 at 19:27

Rick's gravatar image

Rick ♦

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Asked: Jan 24 '12 at 14:25

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Last updated: Jan 24 '12 at 19:27