The Evolutionary Limits of Liberalism

Democratic Problems, Market Solutions and the Ethics of Preference Satisfaction

  • Filipe Nobre Faria

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism book series (PASTCL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Filipe Nobre Faria
    Pages 1-13
  3. Filipe Nobre Faria
    Pages 15-50
  4. Filipe Nobre Faria
    Pages 195-227
  5. Filipe Nobre Faria
    Pages 229-235
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 237-239

About this book


This book assesses the evolutionary sustainability of liberalism. The book’s central claim is that liberal institutions ultimately weaken their social groups in the evolutionary process of inter-group competition. In this sense, institutions relying on the liberal satisfaction of preferences reveal maladaptive tendencies. Based on the model of multilevel selection, this work appraises the capacity of liberal democracy and free markets to satisfy preferences. In particular, the book re-evaluates public choice theory’s classic postulate that free markets are a suitable alternative to the shortcomings of western liberal democracies regarding preference satisfaction. Yet, the book concludes that free markets are not a solution to the problems of liberal democracy because both market and democratic liberal institutions rest on the liberal satisfaction of preferences, an ethic which hurts group evolutionary fitness. This volume is of interest to political theorists, evolutionary ethicists, political economists and to general readers interested in the future of liberalism.


Evolution of liberalism Classical liberalism Democratic problems Preference satisfaction Liberal institutions Liberal democracy Public choice theory Free market Rational choice theory Evolutionary science Evolutionary theory The liberal market solution Constitutional political economy Contractarian market Multilevel selection Economic ethics The autocratic market solution Market superiority Political philosophy Evolutionary ethics

Authors and affiliations

  • Filipe Nobre Faria
    • 1
  1. 1.Nova University of LisbonLisbonPortugal

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and the Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance Economics and Finance (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-31495-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-31496-5
  • Series Print ISSN 2662-6470
  • Series Online ISSN 2662-6489
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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