John F. Kennedy defined a liberal person as someone who cares about the welfare of other people, who welcomes new ideas, and who looks ahead and not behind. According to him, a liberal person is someone who can break through the status quo that grip a nation’s policies forward. In the International Political Economy, liberalism is the most critical perspective of global politics. It emerged during the early 19th century to highlight the core issues that affected individual liberty, market freedom, and property rights over mercantilist trade restrictions. Liberalism does not exist as a single spectrum; instead, it constitutes theories that have a diverse ideological range that include different understandings of economy, politics, progress, ethics, constraint, and freedom. Liberal arguments, for instance, disagree on the appropriate extent of government involvement in socio-economic life. It rarely exists in pure form since it is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon and usually exists with other elements from different strategies, organizational patterns, and discourses.
The two basic tenets of liberalism perspective include; interventionist liberalism and orthodox freedom. While conservative liberalism promotes the idea that markets should function with minimal interference from the state, the interventionist proponents argue that there needs to be some government support to promote equality and justice for economic markets to operate. Orthodox liberals disagree with government meddling in economic transactions, and they view that the role of governments is to create an environment where people and private institutions can express their political preferences freely. On the other hand, interventionists regard that the government should get involved in economic interaction and allow outside involvement such as the IMF, World Bank if necessary. It is well known that the United States is a liberal world, but where between these two facets does it operate? This essay argues that the United States even though a libertarian society, it functions from an interventionist perspective where there is state involvement in economic market activities.
The United States is a liberal world order that operates on an interventionist liberal perspective. Also known as the Keynesian economic theory, Interventionist liberalism has been a significant influence on the United States political economy of modern American liberals. The modern American liberals suppose that, for a nation to prosper, it will require the intervention of the macro-economy from the government to keep the inflation in check, unemployment rates low, and growth high. The interventionists value the institutions that work to defend economic inequality. The interventionist liberalism believes in a relatively equal society, supported by organizations that put a limit on the extremes of wealth and poverty. It strives to enhance a democratic nation, the rule of law, and civil liberties. They point out the widespread prosperity enjoyed by the affluent while the poor suffered under a mixed economy in the years preceding the Second World War. A liberal economy according to the interventionist is one where access to necessities such as education and health care are available to all. These ideas are what the modern United States is striving to achieve a democratic party.
The United States does not run orthodox liberalism because looking at what happened during the great depression, conservative liberals underestimated the value of government intervention and overestimated the convergence between public interest and self-interest. According to John Keynes, a significant extension of traditional functions of government in the market economy is essential to ensure full employment. This is what the United States economy functions to ensure the prosperity of the economy since the great depression. By implementing fiscal policies and investing in public projects, the government can lower the rates of unemployment. The aim of the interventionist strategy is to encourage greater management that would facilitate the functioning of market forces. Thus the role of government is not to replace the capitalist but to revitalize and rescue it. With interventions liberalism, the United States has managed to shape the world for democracy.
Even though this essay argues that the United States is running interventionist liberalism, others are of the view that it follows the orthodox freedom. They cite individual freedom, free market economy, and efficient resource allocation as necessities to drive a nation. It is true that in a free market economy, individuals have freedom to participate in economic transactions and that resources can efficiently allocate themselves, however, what the role of government in the interventionist liberalism is not to replace these markets, but to reinforce these measures. With orthodox liberalism, there is free movement of goods between nations and this has enabled widespread globalization and technology. But the problem with orthodox liberals is that they want market forces of demand and supply to act freely without any government involvement, and this move is dangerous because it heightens the levels of inequalities. But with the interventionist approach, the government can implement policies that would cater for all citizens to avoid inequalities because when economic forces are left to operate entirely on their own tend to bring about a growing inequality.