The varied perspectives which focus on liberalism and free societies are as important as the ways in which they can be achieved in today’s world. Brad Lips’s “Liberalism and Free Society in 2021” critically captures the agents of change which could lead to liberalism. It provides answers to questions like – what are the current challenges faced globally? What are the problems of the common people? What policy reforms and communication tools could be used for motivating society at large?
The literature does not only focus on promoting liberalism and free societies, but also focuses on why the idea does not gain the public trust today. It also recognizes the dominance of other ideas like capitalism and socialism, at the same time providing a critical analysis of the same.
The discussion began with the welcome remarks delivered by D. Dhanuraj (PhD), Chairman CPPR followed by introducing the speaker and the book.
D. Dhanuraj, provided a brief on the different aspects touched by the book, where the author focuses on the growing importance of liberalism in the 21st century and provides long-term solutions to the present-day issues through liberalism. The literature aims to bridge the gap between the existing dominant ideas in the field of economic growth and the liberalism in growing societies.
This was followed by a formal discussion led by the author Brad Lips, talking about how the world is currently undergoing a global freedom crisis with the emergence of the ‘new normal’. He emphasized that there will be a curtailment of human behavior as we evolve in the future.
The first order of questions posed toward the author was based on the ideas of freedom. The author began with stating the evolution of the idea of freedom. The freedom crisis can be traced back to 1776 which was the major crossroads in the trajectory of freedom in the U.S.A, similar to the current situation.
The author discussed the advantages from the conversations undertaken with experts as a way to develop suitable frameworks for focusing on policy reforms of the common people and effectively communicating ideas which motivate the society towards liberalism.
The author provides an interesting perspective to the resurgence of nationalistic ideas among people, connecting it with the failure of existing liberalistic institutions. The perspectives of people through the projections that occur due to cronies’ liberalism, is what dominates the fear.
The constant uproar of the marginalized and the common people of the society for being exploited associated with the hypocrisy and corruption of leaders is what led to the down fall of liberalism in the recent times. This embedded sense of unfairness in the process fueled populist anger.
The author points out, that the lack of economic growth is primarily due to media conspiracy. Projections by media make it difficult for politicians to focus on long-term economic growth in the sake of their position and power. Media algorithms today, incentivize people to show their negative emotions outwardly, rather than looking at practical solutions.
Opinion polls today, showcase a large number in favor of socialism. It is majorly due to the lack of appropriate understanding, being predominantly a top-down approach. As well as the non-importance of associating with capitalist or socialist ideas for the upcoming generations, as noted by the author.
An increased sense of risk mitigation and avoidance is seen in the present generations. The author emphasizes its close relationship with the parenting styles of the 21st century. The sense of parents especially in affluent societies ensure that their children face no difficulties, problems or issues with self-esteem or otherwise.
The author raises an intriguing argument on how a meaningful life is about taking risks, and things don’t work sometimes. The way to rebound from those comes only through the experience of hardships at the early stages of life.
It is seen as important to address fear, as the building blocks of a free society. Additionally, education for all where everyone’s culture and values are respected is important. Also, where, everyone is more comfortable in taking risks again towards embracing change.
The various indexes used to measure economic freedom helps define the growth of other economic factors. The author highlights how it protects property rights, ease of doing business and trade across borders and so on.
The empirical proof that the indexes provide, showcase the positive correlation of economic freedom with vibrant and innovative economies. Also, have good ranks in studies indicating positive social variables.
The author highlighted, on the various changes that are required to understand liberalism in its complete potential. One of the ways is to understand the challenges faced particularly by the common people through the Global Index of Economic Mentality.
The Global Index of Economic Mentality defines the relationship between economic freedom and economic mentality. It addresses how people feel about economic questions based on the outcomes generated and the need for government intervention in some cases. Based on the value survey, a highest score on the spectrum depicts a free-market economy and a lower score depicts an interventionist and socialist economy, as explained by the author.
The discussion ended on a thoughtful note indicating that the index must be seen as a launching pad for studying how we can form a consensus on economic freedom of different countries and put it together for better economic development leading to better livelihoods and reducing the negative malpractices from the earlier models used by governments for economic growth.
The session was concluded with a Q&A session, and a vote of thanks to the esteemed member of the panel.