Impact of Classical liberalismClassical liberalism puts greater focus on individual freedom.Several liberals argued that the free exchange of goods between nations couldlead to world peace. The changing economic and social conditions of the 19thled to a division between neo-classical and social liberals who agreed on theimportance of individual liberty. Classical liberalism stresses the importance ofhuman rationality, and is an ideology that embraces the principles ofindividualism: Rule of Law Rights and Freedoms Private Property Economic freedom Self-interest Competition
Industrial RevolutionThe era known as the Industrial Revolution was a period in whichfundamental changes occurred in agriculture, textile and metalmanufacture, transportation, economic policies and the social structure inEngland(1760-1850).The Industrial Revolution made Liberalism andcapitalism the dominant force in Europe. Economic changes expanded themiddle class and the promise of equal opportunity gave people a chance toimprove their standard of living and achieve material gain. The growth ofbusiness opportunities and explosion of consumer products led to thebelief that capitalism and progress were one and the same.
Robber Barons Business owners were perceived as greedy because they didn’t share profits with workers. Classical liberals would disagree, however, and say that they were simply collecting the financial reward for taking business risks. Robber baron is a pejorative term used for a powerful 19th century American businessman. By the 1890s, the term was typically applied to businessmen who were viewed as having used questionable practices to amass their wealth.
Income Gap and Cost of livingIncome gap comprises disparities in the distribution of economic assets andincome within or between populations or individuals. Income gap variesbetween societies and historical periods. Factors that impact Income gap are:greater inequality in wages and salaries, wealth condensation, taxes, taxhavens, education, computerization/growing technology, racism, gender,culture, development patterns, innate ability and nepotism. Cost of living is thecost of maintaining a certain standard of living. Cost of living calculations arealso used to compare the cost of maintaining a certain standard of living indifferent geographic areas.
Challenges of the working classClassical liberalism was challenging for workers until governments createdlegislation to protect the workers and improve the living conditions in the cities,life for the new class of workers was demanding. Poor working conditions, lowwages, long hours, crowded living conditions, slums, poor sanitation wereprevalent.
Child labourChild labour refers to the employment of children in any work that depriveschildren of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school,and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful.During Industrial Revolution, workers, including children, were exploited whilerapid urbanization let to the creation of slums and poor living conditions. Inresponse, new ideologies competed for popular support. Among them weresocialism and Marxism. Each ideology attacked the new societal structures.
Charles Dicken and IndustrialRevolutionCharles Dickens portrayed the Industrial Revolution as a dirty and melancholyera. In the novel, "Oliver Twist", hard times are expressed through tough laborand long hours with little pay. The children in the novel symbolized the harshchild workers of the time. Also, "Hard Times" portrayed the bourgeoisie of thetime as strict, demanding, and arrogant. This displays Dickens views of theupper class and their demanding attitude.
Evolution of liberalismBecause of the emerging problems in society, governments began puttingrestrictions on laissez-faire capitalism. Modern liberalism extents classicalliberalism by widening the scope of every individuals freedom as anempowerment and transforms the principle of equal liberty into social equality.
Factory ActsThe Factory Acts were a series of Acts passed by the Parliament of the UnitedKingdom to limit the number of hours worked by women and children first in thetextile industry, then later in all industries.
Labour unionsThe Industrial Revolution concentrated labour into mills, factories and mines,thus facilitating labour unions to help advance the interests of working people.Labour unions are groups of people who try to improve the working conditionsand wages for either a specific group of workers or an entire industry. Thepower of a union could demand better terms by withdrawing all labour andcausing a consequent cessation of production. Employers had to decidebetween giving in to the union demands at a cost to themselves or suffering thecost of the lost production. Skilled workers were hard to replace, and thesewere the first groups to successfully advance their conditions through this kindof bargaining.
The welfare state As voting rights were extended to a wider range of the population in the 1800s, governments had to pass laws and introduce policies and programs that were in the interests of many different groups if they wanted people to vote for them. The introduction of government programs (EI, old-age pensions) resulted in the eventual formation of the welfare state. This is a society in which government plays a large role in providing for the needs and common good of its citizens Some examples: education, health care, employment and disability insurance, public housing, social assistance Classical liberals argue strongly against creating a welfare state because they believe that it creates a dependence on government and discourages innovation and motivation in people Supporters of the welfare state disagree and suggest that when people are healthy, safe, and economically secure, they are better able to be creative and innovative
Evolution of Individual andCollective RightsIn the late 1800 with the evolution of classical liberalism, the individual rightswere better addressed. individual rights is associated with equality before thelaw and protection from the state. Examples of this are the Magna Carta.With the course of time, as Modern Liberalism evolved, the collective rightswere well pointed
Early Feminism With the Industrial Revolution, many women worked in factories under the supervision of men. Many men were threatened by the introduction of women into the workforce and fought to limit what jobs women could do, and hours of work and wages for women By the mid-1800s many believed that equality should be extended to women The suffrage movement is considered the first wave of feminism
Protection of Human Rights In their pursuit of ensuring basic needs, a decent standard of living, and safety and security for all people, liberal governments began to define and identify human rights The United Nations (UN) adopted the United Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This document contains some of the rights that early liberal thinkers believed to be essential to the progress of humankind, including: The right to vote The right to be treated equally by the law The right to liberty and freedom of thought and worship The right to own private property By the mid to late 20th century, the extension of individual rights and freedoms to all people regardless of their race, economic status, sexual orientation, nationality, or gender, became a focus of modern liberal governments Today, human rights violations are monitored around the world and reported through the UN, the media, and other organizations
To what extent did the classicalliberalism meet the needs ofsociety?Classical liberalism is not intended to meet the needs of society. It helps theneeds of the individual that in turn benefits society as a whole with a level offefficiency that no managed system can approach. Classical liberalism is adecentralized and cooperative system that responds automatically to needs ofsociety because there is personal incentive to help address the needs ofothers.