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TRADE BARRIER: A restriction, invariably by government, that prevents free trade among countries. The more popular trade restrictions are tariffs, import quotas, and assorted nontariff barriers. An occasional embargo will be even thrown into this mix. The primary use of trade barriers is to restrict imports from entering in country. By restring imports, domestic producers of the restricted goods are protected from competition and are even subsidized through higher prices. Consumers, though, get the short end of this stick with higher prices and a limited choice of goods. In that producers tend to have more political clout than consumers, it's pretty obvious why trade barriers are a "natural" state of affairs.

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LIBERAL:

A political view that favors--(1) paternalistic government, (2) correction of market failure with government intervention, (3) equal opportunities for all citizens regardless of race, age, gender, ethnic origin, or planet of origin, (4) redistribution of income and wealth, and (5) regulation and control by government over the profit-seeking businesses of the second estate.
Liberals tend to come from the ranks of workers and consumers of the third estate, with limited ownership of and control over resources, usually little more than their own labor. They tend to support policies and government leaders who protect their interests. Liberals are usually strong advocates of government intervention and would tend to be suspicious of free enterprise approach to the economy.

The Political Influences of Financial Wealth

While assorted factors influence and determine political views--including religion, morality, a sense of what is right or wrong, and a philosophical notion of what is best for the country--economic forces tend to be among the more important. In particular, wealth, income, and the ownership and control over productive resources have a strong influence on political views. Those who possess less financial and economic wealth support policies designed to redistribute that wealth.

For example, Monica Mortenson, who lives from paycheck to paycheck, has no balance in her bank account at the end of the month, and has no other financial investments, is politically liberal in large part because liberal policies tend to redistribute financial wealth in her direction.

Other Forms of Wealth

Financial wealth, however is not the only type of wealth that influences political views. Members of society can also lay claim to physical and cultural wealth, as well. Those who lack these other forms of wealth also favor liberal policies.

Physical wealth includes ownership and control over resources (labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship) and goods (especially durable consumption goods). Those with less ownership and control of goods and resources, tend to be more liberal.

A consumer like Pollyanna Pumpernickel, for example, is a working mother of two who rents a furnished apartment and spends her weekly paycheck on perishable nondurable goods like food. With very little ownership of physical goods she edges toward the liberal end of the political spectrum.

Cultural wealth includes the body of cultural attributes, including language, religion, history, and other intangible institutions, that make up a nation. Those who do not share in those attributes have less cultural wealth that they seek to preserve, and thus tend to be more politically liberal.

Lilith Quirkenstone, whose parents immigrated from the Republic of Northwest Queoldiolia when she was a child, tends to be politically more liberal because she does not share in the dominant cultural institutions of her adopted country. She is more interested in changing than in preserving existing institutions.

Favored Policies

Policies favored by political liberals typically change, modify, redistribute the financial, physical, and cultural wealth of a nation. A short list includes:
  • Redistribution: Because they have little wealth, liberals favor policies that redistribute wealth. As such they tend to support welfare programs, unemployment compensation systems, and a host of other programs designed to transfer income or wealth usually from upper incomes to lower incomes.

  • Employee Concerns: Because many occupy the working class ranks of the third estate, political liberals favor policies that promote working conditions. As such, they are usually supportive of government regulations (such as environmental and occupational safety). They are strong advocates of a minimum wage and generally seek government policies that support labor unions.

  • Economic Stability: When it comes to economic stability, liberals usually consider unemployment (which is more harmful to people with less wealth) a bigger problem than inflation (which erodes nonexistent financial wealth). Liberals also support government stabilization policies that are more likely to redistribute wealth. Fiscal policy is a preferred over monetary policy.

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Recommended Citation:

LIBERAL, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2023. [Accessed: February 4, 2023].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | political views | conservative | institution | paternalism | free enterprise | laissez faire |


Or For A Little Background...

     | economic thinking | normative economics | world view | second estate | third estate | incentive | equity | efficiency | ownership and control |


And For Further Study...

     | economic goals | distribution standards | government functions | economic systems | four estates | unemployment | household sector | consumption |


Related Websites (Will Open in New Window)...

     | Democratic National Committee | The Brookings Institution |


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