The Case for a Free-Market Welfare State

This is a contribution to Symposium No. 1, our invitation to explore and explain the basic principles of a liberal outlook. “The perennial gale of creative destruction,” wrote the economist Joseph Schumpeter, “is the essential fact of capitalism.” For new industries to rise and flourish, old industries must fail. Yet creative destruction is a process that is rarely—if ever—politically neutral; even one-off economic shocks can have lasting political-economic consequences. From his vantage point in 1942, Schumpeter believed that capitalism would become the ultimate victim of its own success, inspiring reactionary and populist movements against its destructive side that would inadvertently strangle any potential for future creativity.

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