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Is Western liberalism obsolete? Show more Show less
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In a 2019 interview with the Financial Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Western liberalism "obsolete". He is not alone. The death of the West's ideological mainstay, is being discussed by everyone, from former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, to Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, and high-profile journalists including Edward Luce and James Traub. Authoritarian China is ascendant. Free trade, the rule of law, freedom of movement and tolerance are in trouble around the world. So, has the cluster of ideas known as Western liberalism had its day?

Western liberalism is not obsolete, but under threat. Show more Show less

Western liberalism is in decline, and at risk of wipe-out.
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Western liberalism creates wealthier countries

Liberalism may be under threat, but most wealthy countries are still liberal market democracies.
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The Argument

Liberalism had been seen as the "norm" in many countries. Michael Cox, a professor of international relations at LSE, tells the BBC that "overall, we still live in a liberal world economy and most countries in the world are liberal democracies, not authoritarian ones" - although he believes liberalism does need to work to address issues like wage stagnation and a loss of a sense of community.

Counter arguments

A lot of people believe liberalism could be in decline - as evidenced by support for Brexit in the UK, or support for populist leaders including Donald Trump in the US, or Matteo Salvini in Italy. The financial downturn in 2008 was a major turning point, and the fact that markets were allowed to determine everything also brought about larger questions of identity and culture within the country, with people feeling that it was no longer their own.


Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 14 Sep 2020 at 06:53 UTC

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