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The Meaning of Liberalism - East and West

This text provides a perspective on the continuing debate about how liberalism should be defined and what it means in countries with an established parliamentary system, particularly in the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. The key question the text addresses is: will the specific experience of communism and its aftermath give birth to a new distinct current of liberal thought, or will it simply enlarge the scope of the Western liberal debate? The authors argue that liberalism cannot be reduced merely to private property and free prices, but needs a very complex set of institutions and corresponding law. The contributors to this text come from both sides of the former Iron Curtain. They highlight the richness and diversity of liberalism and discuss different perceptions of liberal thinking in the East and West in the post-modern world.
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Table of Contents

Foreword. Introduction. Part 1 Contemporary state of liberal theory: Citizenship & moral individuality; liberal values; liberal guilt & the disaster for politics; liberalism, value & social cohesion; value of liberalism. Part 2 Liberalism in the West: Limits & the crisis of liberal politics; social & cultural problems in contemporary Europe; two dilemmas of liberalism; above all we must protect the civil roof; German difficulties with liberalism. Part 3 Liberalism in the East: Can weak-state liberalism survive?; neoliberalism, post-communist transformation & civil society; law, traditionalism & liberalism in practice; constitutional transformation in post-communist Central Europe. Part 4 Difficult fate of liberalism in Eastern and Central Europe: Burdens of the past; liberalism in Central Europe after 1989.

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