The liberal European model during the Cold War

The liberal European model during the Cold War

The Cold War, although it was a bipolar shock, offered alternatives to ideological models of the Soviet Union and the United States. Right in the center of both is the liberal european model.

Unlike the big models, This is based on a much older philosophical tradition. It is influenced by: the greek philosophy, which is founded on the individual conscience endowed with reason and freedom; the philosophy of lights, from which he extracts the theory of natural rights, the separation of powers, the Social Contract and the sovereignty of the people; liberalism, which is the one that sets the rules of the political and economic game; and, finally, of democratic socialism late nineteenth century and Keynesianism, which converge social progress and economic modernization.

Until the postwar It is not when the liberal European model is consolidated and the so-called “Welfare state”. This system seeks to carry out a policy of solidarity and redistribution of income to achieve a more just and harmonious society.

The core values there are several. On the political level, it requires the existence of a constitution that guarantees the rights of each and every one, while defining the institutions and the balance of powers. National sovereignty must be expressed by universal suffrage within a representative democracy that has counterpowers (press, unions and associations). There is no specific way to apply this type of policy. It can be in the form of parliamentary monarchies or republics and the strongest power can be the executive or the legislative.

On the economic plane, there is a capitalism with state intervention that protects society, while promoting the market. It can range from extensive intervention and small businesses (Italy) to a lot of freedom and large expansionist conglomerates (UK).

And as for the social systemIt should be noted that the Welfare State must guarantee that citizens receive all possible assistance from birth to old age. This guarantees a standard of living that avoids any social conflict between classes.

In theory, this model is the most balanced, since it provides a balance between individual freedoms and state powers, but the truth is that it is in crisis. Abstention is increasing by all countries that practice it, the discredit of the political class is on everyone's lips, extremism is growing, economic crises are still happening with state intervention and inequalities of the Welfare State are equally visible, until the point that some experts speak of a “two-speed society”.

Throughout the 20th century and the Cold War, It was a model that covered all the margin that it had. It went from almost Soviet interventionism, to runaway liberalism (Thatcher). But, even so, it managed to spread to some countries, such as Japan, the Third World and former colonies (India). It served as a counterweight in the scenario of tension experienced by the United States and the Soviet Union.

Image: Wikimedia

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.


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