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If individuals are free to pursue their own interest, free from political intervention, there will be harmony in civil society. Economic activity is politically neutral, so isnt it really important to make sure economics and politics are kept separate?

In a capitalist society, economic activity is anything but neutral. There are some who own and control the instruments needed to produce goods and services. Others must work for a wage to survive. There are people who cannot find stable employment and others who cannot join the labour market because they have family responsibilities, or because of ill-health, or because of citizenship laws.

Orthodox liberalism declares that the liberal state is supposed to act as a neutral arbiter of conflict within society. Canadian governments have been anything but neutral on the issue of free trade. Our state institutions are being restructured to reflect the view that there is no alternative to economic liberalism.

The big change happened as corporations perceived their profits could be increased by expanding production across borders. No longer were national markets supplied by branch-plants considered large enough, or flexible enough.

Deregulation, privatization, cut-backs to social services, tax-cuts and job losses are all contributing to increased social conflict in Canada. In an era of globalization, the state is not neutral; neither on social policy, or foreign policy. Politics and economics are inseparable in a capitalist society.

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