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Does classical liberalism imply an evolutionary approach to policy-making?

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  • Schnellenbach, Jan

Abstract

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.

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  • Schnellenbach, Jan, 2014. "Does classical liberalism imply an evolutionary approach to policy-making?," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 14/07, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:aluord:1407
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    2. Jan Schnellenbach, 2016. "A Constitutional Economics Perspective on Soft Paternalism," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 135-156, February.

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    Keywords

    classical liberalism; evolution; Darwinism; economic policy; cultural evolution; institutional evolution;
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