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Free Market Fairness$
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John Tomasi

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144467

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144467.001.0001

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Classical Liberalism

Classical Liberalism

(p.1) Chapter 1 Classical Liberalism
Free Market Fairness

John Tomasi

Princeton University Press

This chapter offers an intellectual history of liberalism, focusing on the classical view that was eventually displaced by modern, “high” liberalism. It first considers classical liberalism's notion of equality and property rights as well as economic liberty before discussing the ideas of thinkers like John Locke, Adam Smith, David Hume, and F. A. Hayek. It then explores the emergence of market society, with particular emphasis on what Smith called “the system of natural liberty.” It also examines classical liberal ideas in action during under revolutionary America and concludes with an analysis of the essential features of classical liberalism: a thick conception of economic liberty grounded mainly in consequentialist considerations; a formal conception of equality that sees the outcome of free market exchanges as largely definitive of justice; and a limited but important state role in tax-funded education and social service programs.

Keywords:   classical liberalism, high liberalism, equality, property rights, economic liberty, Adam Smith, F. A. Hayek, market society, natural liberty, justice

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