Does Classical Liberalism Imply an Evolutionary Approach to Policy-Making?
Freiburg Discussion papers on Constitutional Economics No. 14/07
36 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2014
Date Written: August 6, 2014
This paper argues that an evolutionary approach to policy-making, which emphasizes openness to change and political variety, is particularly compatible with the central tenets of classical liberalism. The chief reasons are that classical liberalism acknowledges the ubiquity of uncertainty, as well as heterogeneity in preferences and beliefs, and generally embraces gradual social and economic change that arises from accidental variation rather than deliberate, large-scale planning. In contrast, our arguments cast doubt on a different claim, namely that classical liberalism is particularly compatible with the evolutionary biological heritage of humans.
Keywords: classical liberalism, evolution, Darwinism, economic policy, cultural evolution, institutional evolution
JEL Classification: D63, D79, H11, B30, B41, Z10
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