After the end of the Cold War, liberalism emerged as the world's dominant political-economic ideology, and economic liberalism seemed to have achieved global hegemony. In Liberalism in Illiberal States, Mark Vail acknowledges the dominance of economic liberalism, but argues that its implementation in specific countries is always unique and dependent upon powerful historical factors. He focuses on France, Germany, and Italy-countries that many scholars donot view as "liberal" at all-and contends they have in fact developed distinct forms of national liberalism, of which their postwar models of capitalism were merely one manifestation. Vail argues that these states' political economies have been shaped by centuries-old liberal traditions, which have continuedto inform national alternatives to transnational neoliberalism in the contemporary era. He presents case studies that show how nationally-specific interpretations of liberalism are flexible and responsive to local realities, especially in times of economic uncertainty. By demonstrating how variegated the practice of economic liberalism actually is, Liberalism in Illiberal States will reshape our understanding of liberal political economy in the contemporary world.
Liberalism in Illiberal States
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