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They assert the importance of what is often called the .However, the exact nature of the social minimum, the considerations that support it, and, indeed, its basic justifiability, are all matters of intense philosophical controversy.What they condemned was intervention in behalf of consumers.These statements all express a widespread view that a political community should seek to ensure that its members are all able to enjoy at least a minimally decent standard of living.Historically, economic liberalism arose in response to mercantilism and feudalism.Today, economic liberalism is also considered opposed to non-capitalist economic orders such as socialism and planned economies.To the vast majority of American classical liberals, however, laissez-faire did not mean no government intervention at all.
For example, a social market economy is a largely free market economy based on a free price system and private property, but it is supportive of government activity to promote competitive markets and social welfare programs to address social inequalities that result from market outcomes.[A]t the center of classical liberal theory [in Europe] was the idea of laissez-faire.Economic liberalism is an economic system organized on individual lines, meaning that the greatest possible number of economic decisions are made by individuals or households rather than by collective institutions or organizations.It includes a spectrum of different economic policies such as freedom of movement, but its basis is on strong support for a market economy and private property in the means of production.(Strictly speaking, we should perhaps speak of “enacting a social minimum policy regime”; but “enacting a social minimum” is a less clumsy phrase, and these comments should suffice to make clear what we mean by it.) These concepts—of the social minimum and of a social minimum policy regime—are intended to be quite abstract, and they clearly raise further questions.In particular: We shall now explore question (1) in sections 1.1–1.3, turning to question (2) in section 1.4.
We define a “social minimum” as that bundle of resources which suffices in the circumstances of a given society to enable someone to lead a minimally decent life.