What Was ‘New’ About Neoliberalism?


  • The author wishes to acknowledge his debts to the comments of two anonymous referees, and to Henry Ergas and David Henderson. The article draws upon research the author undertook as a visiting fellow of Balliol College, Oxford.


This article advances an interpretation of the core contribution of neoliberalism to the liberal tradition. At the hands of neoliberal thinkers, the classical liberalism of Locke, Smith and Mill underwent a reconstruction involving certain re-conceptualisations of individual and political freedom, which served to shift the crux of the case for classical liberalism from market success propositions to government failure propositions.