Labour-market flexibility, deregulation of the service industry,
pension reforms and greater competition in university funding is not
anti-equality. Such reforms shift financing from taxpayers to the users
themselves and, as such, tend to eliminate rents. They tend to increase
productivity by basing rewards on merit rather than on being an
insider. They tend to open up opportunities for younger workers who are
not yet well-connected. Pursuing pro-market reforms does not imply
facing a trade-off between efficiency and social justice. In this
sense, pro-market policies are “left wing”, if that means reducing the
economic privileges enjoyed by “insiders”.
…If the European left wants to be able to say honestly that it fights
for the neediest members of our society, it must adopt as its battle
cry the pursuit of competition, reforms and a system based on
Amen. This is from an excellent op-ed by Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi writing in Vox. My only complaint is that they write as if this is new. In fact, liberalism, meaning classical liberalism, has never been conservative. It began as a movement of the left against feudalistic, conservative insiders and it remains so today.