Pascal Salin

Liberalism Publication date : April 1, 2000

In France, the general public usually associates the word “liberalism” with extreme materialism, unreserved worship of the marketplace, excessive individualism, and social disintegration. Liberalism is always qualified with the adjective “ruthless”, and identified with right-wing politics, U.S. imperialism, and globalisation.
But is it as simple as that? Isn’t it time to get rid of this diabolic perception? The economic and political debate can only be enhanced by clearer thinking. But to arrive at that, it is essential to understand liberal thinking and to analyse it in depth .
This is what Pascal Salin sets out to do in his book, which is both a synthesis of contemporary liberal thought and a historical overview. He also confronts liberalism with major contemporary issues and questions the most common clichés about liberal thought.
Following a review of liberalism’s basic principles (private property and personal liberty), the author presents the most important ideas of modern liberal economics (firms, participation, competition, financial markets, de-nationalisation), as well as some major social issues (immigration, social services, welfare, and the environment). In addition, he addresses such global concerns as: Does a liberal economic policy actually exist? What should be done about taxation? How should globalisation be regarded?
This is an in-depth revaluation of liberal thought. It will help the general reader to assess the philosophies and principles that can guide our society in facing today’s economic challenges.

Pascal Salin teaches economics at the University of Paris I. He is the author of Macro-Économie, L’Arbitraire Fiscal, and La Vérité sur la Monnaie, all published by Editions Odile Jacob.