The Niskanen Center’s approach to markets and the social safety net blends ideas from political traditions that are often seen as antagonistic. From classical liberalism we take the idea that a commercial, cosmopolitan social order is unrivaled at promoting tolerance, innovation, cooperation, and prosperity. Accordingly, we believe a “presumption of liberty” ought to apply to basic economic activity. At the same time, modern liberal thought has established that justice requires robust social insurance systems that guarantee to all the dignity and autonomy of broadly shared prosperity. Our view is that these two traditions were never in tension, and indeed combine to form a more coherent theory of a free and just society.
Defenders of free-markets must transcend the politics of austerity.