Chapter

Liberalization and Its Discontents

Russell Hardin

in Liberalism, Constitutionalism, and Democracy

Published in print November 1999 | ISBN: 9780198290841
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599415 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198290845.003.0005
 Liberalization and Its Discontents

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As there are two liberalisms, so also there are two major liberalizing transitions that non‐liberal polities may make. They may become politically liberal and they may become economically liberal. It is possible that eventually a society must be both politically and economically liberal if it is to be either, although, despite many arguments in defence of this supposition, evidence suggests that, at least, politically illiberal societies can be relatively liberal in their economic management for decades and maybe longer and politically liberal societies can have very strong central control of their economies. Initial liberalization is a matter of essentially spontaneous recoordination from one form of government order to another. The main discontents in the liberalizations of the societies of the eastern nations are the difficulties involved in economic reform, the dispiriting rise of group conflict, including violent ethnic conflict, and the loss of the program and hope of egalitarianism.

Keywords: central control; egalitarianism; ethnic conflict; liberalization; recoordination; transitions

Chapter.  17382 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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