Politics and Liberty:
Individual liberty is crucial to human happiness and contentment. Liberty has largely been denied in the past by political regimes like communism and socialism said to be acting in the name of the people as a whole. It is also increasingly and menacingly threatened by fundamental Islam and, in a different direction, by Tocqueville's concerns voiced in his 1830s book Democracy in America that “A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay for it”.
The rise of China has proved that even without political liberty, as long as there is economic liberty, the generation of higher living standards is possible. It, however, unclear whether this can be built upon and sustained without the political liberty that has been a hallmark of the rise of western civilisation.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in his flagship essay in The Monthly, “Neo-liberals such as Alan Moran …. argue that the cost of the recession should be borne by employees, through wage cuts and retrenchment - exactly the position of US Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon at the outset of the Great Depression. Social democrats, by contrast, stress the central role of the state in maintaining aggregate demand, both for consumption and investment spending, at a time of faltering growth.”
Post 2008, Korea, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland adopted frugality and enjoyed economic growth; Japan, Spain, Finland, France and Italy increased spending and have no growth