Martin Wolf: why Vladimir Putin is wrong to claim liberalism is dead



In a recent interview
with the Financial Times, Vladimir Putin, Russia's
leader, argued, indeed insisted, that liberalism is dead. That the western ideas
of multiculturalism which he associates
with liberalism have proved absolutely
unsuccessful. Migration has been
a catastrophe. And we have to
reject liberalism. Is he right? No. Liberalism is not over. The fundamental
idea of liberalism is individual agency –
that people have rights, above all rights, to
manage their own lives, to pursue their own goals. And at the same time
to share in public life through the rights of
democracy, to have a free media, to have freedom of opinion,
and to vote and organise political parties. These are fundamental
liberal ideas. These ideas are of course
to some degree in tension. Individual economic freedom
and the collective voice in politics can be, and
often are, in opposition. But societies that have been
built around those ideas have been and are today the most
successful in world history. Nearly all, and certainly
all the large countries that are prosperous are also liberal. Economically, they have
relatively free markets. And they are
politically democratic. So when Mr Putin says
these ideas are dead, that's completely absurd. They're obviously incredibly
powerful because they have succeeded so well. And that's been true in
other parts of the world. China has succeeded, certainly
not a liberal society politically, but it's
liberalised economically. Mr Putin's regime,
on the other hand, has clearly been a failure. Politically it succeeded,
but economically, Russia hasn't caught up. It's more or less stagnant now. Its politics are those
of corruption and fraud. And it really hasn't
done very well. And he's pointed to the
west because of the failures at home. Nonetheless, democratic
and liberal regimes are showing serious weaknesses. We can see that in the
politics of protest, the nationalism, Brexit, the
protectionism of Mr Trump. So we have to recreate
the social compact that underpins liberal societies. We have to balance individuals
against the collective. We have to balance the economic
against the political to create a new form of liberal,
democratic society. It's through recreating itself
that liberalism has always succeeded. And it is the way, in my view,
that it will succeed again. Mr Putin is wrong. He must be wrong. But we have to prove he's
wrong by changing ourselves.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Liberalism gave rise to perversions and the destruction of the family as an institution of society. Liberalism destroys the population. Liberalism – there is hidden fascism! It is necessary to curtail liberalism, otherwise civilization will perish, there will be war.

  2. Превосходство запада в экономике связано не с либерализмом, а с жестким тоталитаризмом касаемо своих партнеров и союзников, а также независимых государств. США привыкли доить все страны, привыкли, что в их экономику вливаются деньги других государств, зачастую безвозмездно. У них огромный государственный долг, который они не собираются отдавать. Так что песни о том, что США за счёт свободы добились экономического роста- бред. Тем более, если учитывать проблемы с безработицей и наличие бездомных. Получается свобода быть бездомным)

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