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Four Clusters of Political Attitude

George G Clark (May 2002)

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Recent studies in the UK suggest that modern political attitudes can be usefully divided into four clusters as shown below where

bulletEconomic freedom ranges from state control at the low end through to free-market policies at the other.
bulletPersonal freedom ranges from much government intervention at the low end through to total freedom of individual choice at the other.

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Socialists’ want state intervention in economic life, but are distrustful of markets and are wary of government as far as moral issues are concerned. Libertarians’ want individualism, and low state involvement on all fronts.
(UK 1997,
18% ………………)
(UK 1997,
20% ……………….)
Authoritarians’ want the government to have a firm hand in all areas including both the economic and the moral. Conservatives’ want market freedom, but also strong state control over issues such as family, drugs and abortion.
(UK 1997,
13% ………….)
(UK 1997,
33% ……………………………)

In 1997 Tony Blair’s (New) Labour Party (in the UK) was first choice for all these groups except the conservatives.

To which political cluster might the World Bank and the IMF be said to belong?

Based loosely on:
John Blundell and Brian Gosschalk (1997) Beyond Left and Right;
London: Institute of Economic Affairs:
(as quoted in Anthony Giddens (1998)
The Third Way – the renewal of social democracy; Polity Press; ISBN 0 7456 2267 4)



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