From Liberalism to Neoliberalism, Part 2: Freedoms

Presented by Associate Professor Ľubica Učník


The idea of the individual and his/her liberty is the cornerstone of liberalism. From the beginning, the Anglo-Saxon tradition posited the state as the primary ‘enemy of liberty’ of the self-governing individual. However, the Continental tradition, in the fight against the power of the Church and Monarchy understood freedom differently. In this lecture, I will unpack these two traditions further.


The COVID-19 coronavirus has forced many Western Governments to rethink their ideological commitment to private markets using the economic calculus as the only solution to human problems. The pandemic year of 2020 exposed the problematic nature of private corporations driven by profit as primary suppliers of public health provisions. Fiscal policies were introduced to support private industries as well as help the States’ citizens to withstand the worst consequences of closed economies, thereby, supposedly, increasing the role of the state in market economies. This shift in pecuniary ‘solutions’ has thus led some commentators to proclaim the end of ‘the small state’, which is the mantra of neoliberalism. As a result, various announcements regarding the death of neoliberalism now abound.In these three lectures, I will suggest that the obituary for neoliberalism’s death is not only highly exaggerated but dangerously premature. To explain my reasoning, I will trace the various historical trajectories of neoliberalism.