Free Liberalism Is The Ideological Justification Of Capitalism. Discuss Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Capitalism, Liberalism, Society, Democracy, Politics, Freedom, Economics, Government

Pages: 9

Words: 2475

Published: 2020/11/20

For many individuals the idea of liberalism reflects equal opportunities, while capitalism promotes unequal opportunities. With these two conflicting ideologies existing in the society, one wonders if one can exist without the other. Clearly, the relationship between liberalism and capitalism is similar to a love-hate relationship that cannot be broken by the laws of the country. Capitalism creates forward movement that enhances liberalism as it fosters a formal equality in the workplace. On the other hand, capitalism lends itself to the emergence of powerful individuals who have control over vast capital. Capital improves status and status improves the conditions of life in terms of power and influence over the government. But, in a society that equates hard work with financial reward, liberalism will automatically give way to the uneven distribution of wealth. There is no doubt that with the freedom to choose there are limitations to economic success. The truth is: liberalism cannot exist without some element of capitalism. In fact, liberalism serves as an ideological justification of capitalism in the modern society.
Liberals based their ideology on the premise that the economy has zero game and is a pie that everyone in the society can share. Capitalists, on the other hand, shape their ideology on the premise that the economy is a garden that can be nourished with hard work and dedication. These theories surface daily in the society as everyone has the opportunity to work and reap the rewards of their labor. Clearly, the capitalist theory represents a larger investment in the economy and such investments by major private corporations enhance economic growth and production in terms of sales and paid taxes. In contrast, liberalists believe that the government promotes liberty and freedom with their political goals. But, when one carefully analyzes the economic structure of the society, one realizes that liberalism exists because of capitalism. In fact, the freedom involved in liberalism allows one to work hard and build a capitalist society. Liberalism is the dominant style of leadership and governance in the country and suggests that it is only an ideological justification of capitalism. Government decisions reflect the political ideology of capitalism despite the freedom involved in liberalism.
Liberalism can be a political, economic, or even religious idea, (Martinez & Garcia, 1997, n.p). Based on Martinez and Garcia’s beliefs, liberalism comes with capitalist ideas as one chooses where to work, their political parties, and their religious preferences, but there are major corporations and religious groups that stifle the choices that individuals make regarding their democratic rights. The underlying belief is that liberalism comes through free marketing. It enforces the beliefs of capitalist’s power and control in the society and forces one to deviate from liberalism and lean towards capitalism. There is no doubt that the power that comes with owning assets forces one to integrate capitalist thoughts and practices in business and manipulate trading in a number of ways.
In general, liberalism accentuates an individual’s equality and rights to every opportunity in the society, yet capitalist disrupts the process as those who are affluent are better able to afford an Ivy League education. Critics suggest that different types of liberalism put forward different policies, yet the policies are united based on the support involved in a number of capitalist principles. Liberals tend to support the structure of government that reflect liberal democracy and promote fair and transparency in elections. Nonetheless, capitalism emerges when political parties sway the ideas of the individual.  
On the other hand, Riley (1990, par. 1) suggests that moderate ideologies and moderate political viewpoints occupy positions between the more extreme wings of the power of the state. In fact, these moderate views create a balance between freedom, individual rights, the ability of the government to coerce power even as they maintain power and balance. This balance shapes the structure of the judiciary policies of the government, as it maintains both liberal and capitalist views. The fact is that liberalism is important to the different political ideologies. Although its dimensions differ from society to society, (Riley, 1990, par. 2) postulates that there are “core elements which can be identified, examined and understood” and infringes on the authenticity of liberalism.
Capitalism is similar to the idea that one survives because of one’s strength. It is a general term that promotes an economic system where production occurs through complete or mostly privately owned companies which operate for profit. In general, capitalism involves the right of the members of the society to act as "legal persons" in order to promote business ventures. MacBeath – Watkins (2011: par, 8) notes “capitalism was an economic system, not a system of governance, so the ideology of America and England continued to be liberalism.” Clearly, MacBeath – Watkins agrees that capitalism is an ideology that allows for a comprehensive worldview that capitalists create wealth in the society.
Nevertheless, individuals divest self on the premise of one’s natural liberty based on the bonds of the civil society. These bonds promote the need for individuals to feel safe and peaceful in the society, and cannot be found in the capitalist society. One draws the line between capitalism and liberalism when one looks at the freedom to choose a way of life. Still, the government can become tyrants and create laws that go against liberalism in one swift moment. With liberalism comes freedom of the choice of government, but remove the right with taxation and laws. Arguably, liberalism and its freedom are limited to many political spheres and do not cross the economic divide in the society. One sees the government embracing private monopolies such as telephone and power companies, yet the government indicates that they allow for freedom in every respect.
Senholz, (1985, par. 1) suggests that “to seek freedom as an organizing principle of society and a way of life for the individual is to strive for the freedom to speak his mind.” In addition, individuals demand the freedom to “work as he pleases, to give and find employment as he sees fit, to buy and sell his products freely and keep the rewards,” (Senholz, 1985, par. 1). This ideology that promotes individual freedom stems from liberalism, but the liberalist hides behind the inequality that comes with capitalism. Capitalism is different from liberalism in that it is the only system in the social organization of the society that allows for the division of labor. Many critics denounce capitalism as a system that causes inequality and exploitation of individuals, but this inequality is masked by liberalism. Capitalism fosters the development of oligopolies and monopolies which in turn contributes to the increase in unemployment. Nonetheless, capitalism continues despite the attempts by the government to promote liberalism. The harsh reality is that capitalism continues to exist despite numerous attempts to integrate liberalism into the society. Despite the numerous laws that the legislators pass and despite the excessive force that the governments employ across the world, private conglomerates continue to spread their wings in the society and promote capitalism. Could it be that nature enforces the need for mankind to be monopolistic and enforce capitalism?
The reality is that governments attempt to create political apparatus that promotes compulsion and coercion that interfere with almost every type of manifestation in the economic life of the country. Many governments cannot remove the conditions of capitalism. Therefore, one can easily suggest that liberalism is simply a form of capitalism. In many countries, the government imposes confiscatory taxes on distribution and production, but capitalist leaders continue to produce goods and offer services that promote capitalism. The government attempts to restrict or regulate a liberal output in the country; and still, capitalism continues to rise and produce goods and services that benefit the country. What else can one think of the slim margin between capitalism and liberalism? The fact is that both systems occur in accordance with each other and one cannot hope to achieve liberalism without the element of capitalism.
Despite the efforts of the many governments to set wage rates or prices, capitalists bypass the rule of law with their underground activities and the black markets. Governments are left to indulge in inflation or resort to passing laws for legal tender. Still, this does nothing to prevent capitalistic production through monetary destruction. There is not much that can be done to separate capitalism and liberalism. Therefore, one can conclude that liberalism is only an ideological assertion of capitalism. Capitalism strives despite the fact that governments attempt to promote liberalism with “no political plan, no economic legislation, no economic police, only freedom,” (Senholz, 1985, par. 6).
Adam Smith postulates that “the presence of many buyers and many sellers competing with one another in the marketplace would cause wasteful resource allocations to be weeded out by an invisible hand,” (Theory of Capitalism, n.d. par. 3). The concept of capitalism comes from the knowledge that “capitalism is a system of largely private ownership that is open to new ideas, new firms and new owners to new capital,” (Theory of Capitalism, n.d., par. 1). Despite the negative associations of the system of capitalism, the rationale behind the system lends itself to the innovations and selectiveness. Arguably, capitalism forms its foundations on the tendency to promote instability based on the presence of job insecurity, financial crises, and the exclusion of those who are not fit enough to survive the harsh competition in the economy. But, does it mean that capitalism does not exist in the society?
Bullard (2007: p.1) suggests that capitalism exists in other ways than in the economic standing of the society. As a fact, “among scholars of higher education, academic capitalism is a phrase used to describe current trends related to the influence of business ideals upon colleges and universities,” (Bullard, 2007: p. 1). Parks (2012, p. 85) reiterates the idea in his suggestion “the notion of academic capitalism has its foundation in labor economics in that those identifying a shift toward academic capitalism see an increase in the involvement of academia in the free market.” The “market and market-like behaviors on the part of universities and faculty” (Slaughter and Leslie, 1997, p.11 as cited by Bullard, 2007: p. 1) exists in the world of academic capitalism because of “the for-profit activity and market-like is competition among faculty and institutions,” (Bullard, 2007: p. 1). Additionally, students are now consumers, colleges are the vendors, and research in applied field have become commercialized as a new era emerges in the field of higher education in an entrepreneurial institution,” (Chait, 2002 as cited by Bullard, 2007: p. 2).
Similarly, the academic capitalism manifests self in the strong competitions and market forces existing in colleges and universities via competitive researches, training, and tests that involve course development. In essence, academic capitalism relates to situations that come with the academic staff of public funded universities operating in an increasingly competitive environment, (Bullard, 2007: p. 2). These institutions deploy academic capital in the form of research, teaching, consultancy skills (Deem, 2001, p. 14 as cited by Bullard, 2007: p.2), and remove the belief in freedom to choose academic courses based on personal beliefs.
In regards to liberalism and capitalism in the society one can easily think of being winners and losers in the society. Held suggests that the latter terminologies reflect “the new global order,” (Held, 1999: p, 4) where there is freedom and rights in liberalism and a loss in capitalism. Still, capitalism and liberalism suggest that there are lines of economic benefits that change under each ideology and as such one cannot separate the two prospects. Liberalists see the ideologies of liberalism as good mainly because freedom promotes a healthy society. The restriction that comes with capitalism takes away the freedom in the economic arena for the average worker. Marxists believes that capitalism “create and reinforce inequalities within and between countries,” (Held, 1999: p. 85).
Gaus (2015, par. 1) writes: “considering disagreements as to ‘the reach’ of liberalism,” there is no doubt that liberalism does not apply to all aspects of the society. Conversely, “freedom is normatively basic, and so the onus of justification is on those who would limit freedom, especially through coercive means,” (Gaus et. al, 2015: par, 2) or capitalism. There is a strong presence in the ideologies of political organizations that justify the belief in the liberal political authority instead of limiting the freedom of the citizens through capitalism. Nonetheless, “capitalist ideologies give an inverted explanation for market relations,” (Sypnowich, 2014: n.p) and individuals support the notion that liberalism and capitalism are interchangeable in the society.
Advocates for capitalism suggest that different economic perspectives pay particular attention to defining capitalism based on their personal preferences. A number of critics argue though that the society develops economically because of the capital rule of power relations, class, wage labor and capitalism. Clearly, these factors are present in the modern society even as the government seeks to deviate from capitalism which arises from globalization and imperialism. Arguably, capitalism exists under the current liberalist views that each society needs a structured government and organization. Humanist theorists correctly believe that capitalism supports segregation in the economic and social classes in the society. But, is social and economic division such a bad idea when the economy thrives?
Early liberal thinkers such as Locke Smith looked at the natural law surrounding marketing and the way individuals use liberalism to justify capitalism. Smith and Marx attempted to show that capitalism is a natural process that liberalism cannot stifle as this is common in many societies today. Clearly, liberalism justifies the presence of capitalism in the society as the alienability of labor and property are closely connected to the ideology of freedom. Liberalism and capitalism reflect the criticism of pre-capitalist economies that depend on traditional bonds and obligations, and correctly justifies the idea of a liberal market. The fact is that if products are alienable or settled in one sitting for cash payment, then they no longer have the obligations that define liberty.
In concluding, there is no universally acceptable meaning for liberalism, but one can argue that liberalism has different meanings to different individuals. In the modern society, the capitalist views demands that workers work hard to achieve their economic benefits. Arguably, both ideologies combine to produce a sound economic structure. To many individuals liberalism is a trend that surfaced to promote freedom and liberty among the people. Nonetheless, this freedom cannot exist within a society that promotes the capitalist belief in trade and power. The need to control and show ownership leads to the continuation of capitalism in a free liberal society. Even as many scholars believe that liberalism stems from the premise that there is commitment in a set of ideas and policies, there is still the belief that one must exert political and economical power to guide the development of the country. As such, liberalism becomes grounded in the principles of capitalism. Nonetheless, capitalism exists in the society because it is more practical and realistic as it regulates the economy with liberalism.

Works Cited

Bullard, Deanna Barcelona, "Academic capitalism in the social sciences: Faculty responses to
the entrepreneurial university" (2007). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Available
Gaus, Gerald, Courtland, Shane D. and Schmidtz, David, "Liberalism", The Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming
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Held, David, Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt, and Jonathan Perraton. 1999. Global
Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Introduction, pp. 32-86. Available at
Martinez, Elizabeth & Arnoldo Garcia, What is “Neo-Liberalism”?, National Network for
Immigrant and Refugee Rights, January 1, 1997 (posted at
MacBeath - Watkins, John (2011, January 30) The ideology of capitalism and the ideology of
Liberalism Available at
Park, Toby Academic Capitalism and its Impact on the American Professoriate, Vanderbilt
Riley, Jim L. (Dr.) Moderate Political Ideologies: Liberalism and Conservatism Regis University
Denver, CO © 1990 Available at
Senholz, Hans, Liberalism And Capitalism November 01, 1985 Available at
Sypnowich, Christine, "Law and Ideology", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter
2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =
Theory of Capitalism, The Center on Capitalism and Society (n.d) Available at

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