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JSPES, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Fall 2009)
pp. 347-355

A “Classical Liberal” Rethinks the Market System: Invitation to an Intellectual Odyssey

Dwight D. Murphey

Wichita State University, retired

The significance of this article lies in its invitation to all supporters of a “free-market economic system” to join the author in an “intellectual odyssey” that will involve rethinking many of the conceptual premises that underlie capitalism. It is especially significant because the author himself approaches the subject not as an opponent of a market economy, but as a long-time supporter of it. As the article shows, he believes that capitalism has changed its nature under the impact of globalization and, further, that advances in non-labor-intensive technology will require adding a broad-based system of income distribution to the market system. If a profound rethinking of “the classical liberal underlay” of capitalism does not occur, he warns, the market economy, which has served as the economic foundation for a “free society” as classical liberals envision it, will cease to serve the great bulk of the population, and will thus lose its legitimacy.