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The Liberal Party and the Economy, 1929-1964$
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Peter Sloman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723509.001.0001

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Progressives, Distributists, and Neoliberals

(p.230) Conclusion:
The Liberal Party and the Economy, 1929-1964

Peter Sloman

Oxford University Press

The conclusion draws together the main arguments developed in the preceding chapters. It argues that the mid-twentieth-century Liberal Party was fragile but resilient, and suggests that the party’s main ideological tension lay not so much between classical and social liberalism as between two different forms of social liberalism: the activism of Keynes and Beveridge and the more cautious distributist tradition. Many Liberals remained sympathetic to market economics and engaged constructively with the early neoliberal movement, but they also embraced Keynesianism as a means of achieving full employment without central planning. The party’s electoral revival from the late 1950s onwards was accompanied by a renewed engagement with mainstream progressive opinion and social democratic ideas. The chapter ends by considering the Liberal Democrats’ contribution to the Cameron–Clegg coalition and its relationship with the party’s long economic heritage.

Keywords:   Liberal Party, social liberalism, distributism, market economics, planning, Keynesianism, neoliberalism, Social Democratic Party, Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg

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