Social liberalism Social liberalism is a political ideology that seeks to find a balance between individual liberty and social justice.
Like classical liberalism, social liberalism endorses a market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights and liberties, but differs in that it believes the legitimate role of the government includes addressing economic and social issues such as poverty, health care, and education.
Under social liberalism, the good of the community is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual.
Social liberal policies have been widely adopted in much of the capitalist world, particularly following World War II. Social liberal ideas and parties tend to be considered centrist or centre-left.
The term social liberalism is used to differentiate it from classical liberalism, which dominated political and economic thought for several centuries until social liberalism branched off from it around the Great Depression.
A reaction against social liberalism in the late twentieth century, often called neoliberalism, led to monetarist economic policies and a reduction in government provision of services. However, this reaction did not result in a return to classical liberalism, as governments continued to provide social services and retained control over economic policy.