From Liberal Freedom to Neo-liberal Inequality: The History of the Freedom Agenda

  • Mbaye Lo
Part of the Political Economy of Islam book series (PEoI)


This chapter surveys the historical and political processes that have produced and informed the centrality of freedom in Western liberal philosophy. It begins with an analysis of the freedom argument, its roots, rationale, and manifestation in modern liberal practices. The chapter argues that in the processes of reformulating the notion of the good-life argument of classical liberalism, justice was alienated from the realm of politics and amalgamated into the fringe of ethics. The history of these composite and complex categories matters in understanding the problem of globalized liberalism. Political Islam idealizes literal conceptions of justice and equality, while neo-liberalism upholds individual freedom in its extreme forms of inequality and the mere pursuit of happiness.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mbaye Lo
    • 1
  1. 1.Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, International Comparative Studies and Duke Islamic Studies CenterDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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