Year of Graduation
Transformation of Social Liberalism in 20th century : Idea and Practice
Faculty of Politics
The aim of the research is defining and explaining the main ideas and premises of social liberalism as well as exploring the ways and methods of the implementation of social liberalism principles in the field of enacting real political measures to resolve the existing problematic political situations. The work sheds light on the practice which was brought into existence when the welfare state was emerging and gaining force. General views and hypotheses of social liberalism theoreticians and specific recommendations concerning the socio-political structure and the economic sphere are laid out in this graduation paper. To accomplish the aim of analyzing the creation and development of the social liberal doctrine the research investigates the correlation between moral, ethical values and the distinct character of the rights and freedoms in social liberalism compared to the classical liberal theory of the Early Modern Period as well as the changes in the role and the prerogatives of the state brought about by the socio-economic transformations in industrially developed societies with the capitalist economic system ( the USA and the UK are analysed as examples). The work employs the sociological and the comparative research methods. The theoretical conclusions of the research indicate that social liberalism ideologists were convinced of the virtues of the free and competitive market and of the need for the minimum state interference in the public and private spheres as the target and the tool of achieving private freedom and a chance to self-realization. Therefore they attempted to find ways and methods of reducing the negative consequences stemming from the socio-economic conditions of the establishment of unfettered individualistic capitalism. Social liberal theoreticians base their ideas on the primacy of the values and freedoms asserted by the classical liberal theory. Yet, they deem it necessary to restrain to some extent the negative freedom of the individual in some spheres in order to grant him genuine freedom which is understood as a combination of the positive and the negative freedoms. However, the conditions brought about by the march of the scientific and technological progress in the industrial sphere and the unfettered capitalism resulted in the situation when the rights and freedoms of the classical liberal theory couldn’t give the individual the true freedom. Consequently, they had to be transformed to curb the negative freedom and to enhance the positive one. At the same time there is a valid reason to claim that in the first half of the 20th century social liberalism having offered a sensible solution to a number of socio-economic problems and conflicts existing in industrially developed countries of that time proved to be a viable alternative to individualistic liberalism, which was undergoing a crisis, and socialism, which was gaining momentum.