Liberalism in Zambian Governance

Topics: Classical liberalism, Liberalism, Neoliberalism Pages: 5 (1669 words) Published: July 16, 2013
Every country worldwide is ruled with certain rules and regulations which whether accepted or not by the preponderance, are still accepted as right. Thus, the aim of this essay is to elaborate on the various forms of liberalism, discuss on each of them, and explain while giving clear examples which one of them has been prominent in Zambia from 1991 to present day. It will begin by defining the main concepts; then the forms of liberalism shall be presented and discussed. Thereafter an analysis of which form of liberalism has been pursued by the Movement for Multiparty democracy and the Patriotic Front in the ruling of the country of Zambia shall follow. A conclusion will then be drawn from the main body. Liberalism has been explained or defined in many ways. It comes from the word liberal, which implies freedom. Therefore if incorporated in the aspect of human life, liberalism means an ideology that advocates for gradual reform in the different aspects of a human life, for instance, social, political and economic aspects. According to Doyle (1986:2), “liberal resembles a family portrait of principles and institutions, recognizable by certain characteristics, for example, individual freedom, political participation, private property, and equality of opportunity.”

From generation to generation, different forms of liberalism have emerged due to various reasons. Classical liberalism is said to be perhaps the oldest form of liberalism, which according to historians, emerged in the 16th, and 17th century though became prominent in the late 19th century. Some of the major pioneers of this type of liberalism were John Locke, David Ricardo and Adam Smith. Classical liberalism hence is said to uphold a French ideology laissez-faire which literally means “to allow.” When applied to classical liberalism it advocates for non-state participation in the affairs of its citizens, (www.cambridge.org). To sum it up, classical liberalism advocates for “limited government, protection of personal freedoms, and free markets, they rely on rules of thumb derived from experience,” the Policy (2009:15).

Classical liberalism has been criticized heavily that it only benefits the few elite. This led to the emergence of Social liberalism in the mid 19th century. The word in the center of social liberalism is “equity”. This is where each individual has equal opportunities in society and benefits equally from the economic activities of the state. There is common ownership of means of production and goods are produced not for private profit making but for the benefit of society. Thus, in summary, Social liberalism advocates for equal opportunity, for self realization by the citizens and improvement in social status of everyone with the state as the major player. It is said to be “committed to individualism but includes protecting individuals from acts of omission as well as commission,” the Policy (2009:16).

Another type of liberalism is Political liberalism which focuses on the freedom of citizens in the participation of political activities without interference or hindrance by the state. This type of liberalism was mainly pioneered by John Harsanyi and John Rawls, (Policy, 2009). According to the Policy (2009:4), political liberalism emphasizes that “everyone has an equal opportunity to hold political office and to influence the decisions made in the political sphere.”

Green liberalism is liberalism with a notion of sustainable growth. It focuses on preserving the environment even in the midst of growth. Steinberg (2012:1) emphasizes that “green liberalism is the idea that market forces combined with individuals all doing their part can save the planet.” Though supported by many, this type of liberalism has been criticized that it is not logical in that for development through liberalism to occur, nature or primary goods are involved hence their exhaustion is inevitable. Neo-liberalism, another form of liberalism, is regarded as a...
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