July 13, 2022

Liberalism for All — The Political Economy of Equality

  • Jayme Lemke

    Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • John Meadowcroft

The Hayek Program Podcast includes audio from lectures, interviews, and discussions of scholars and visitors from the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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On this episode of the Hayek Program Podcast, we continue a special summer series of the podcast on Liberalism for All, hosted by Jayme Lemke as she explores the underpinnings and outworkings of a free and open society. Driving the discussion is a set of core questions, including:

  • What does it mean to be liberal in the 21st century?
  • What is the relationship between liberalism and equality?
  • Is the pursuit of equality a threat or opportunity for the liberal project?

Joining Lemke for this episode is John Meadowcroft, a Reader in Public Policy at King's College London, as they discuss James Buchanan's work on a political economy of equals. Meadowcroft lays out his analysis of "consensual politics" and explains why true moral equality means that "everyone counts for one." He also explains why Buchanan believed the constitutional mentality begins with moral equality and examines Buchanan's proposal for unanimous consent in politics. As they conclude their discussion, Lemke and Meadowcroft consider those disadvantaged by the status quo and discuss what can be done to forward the vision of a society of freely relating moral equals.