views updated

neo-liberalism A loosely knit body of ideas which became very influential during the 1980s and which were premissed upon a (slight) rethinking and a (substantial) reassertion of classical liberalism. The most prominent neo-liberals are libertarians, enthusiastic advocates of the rights of the individual against those of the ‘coercive state’, chief amongst whose protagonists are Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and Robert Nozick. As these names suggest, neo-liberalism has had far more influence in economics and political science than in sociology.