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Liberism (derived from the Italian term liberismo) is a term for the economic doctrine of laissez-faire capitalism first used by the philosopher Benedetto Croce[citation needed] and popularized in English by the Italian-American political scientist Giovanni Sartori.

Sartori imported the term from Italian in order to distinguish between social liberalism, which is generally considered a political ideology often advocating extensive government intervention in the economy, and those liberal theories of economics which propose to virtually eliminate such intervention. In informal usage, liberism overlaps with other concepts such as free trade, neoliberalism, right-libertarianism, the American concept of libertarianism and the laissez-faire doctrine of the French liberal Doctrinaires.

In Italy, liberism is often identified with the political theories of Gaetano Mosca, Luigi Einaudi and Bruno Leoni. Internationally, liberism has been advocated by the Austrian School of economic theory, for instance by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek.


  • Giovanni Sartori. The Theory of Democracy Revisited (1987). Chatham, New Jersey. Chatham House. ISBN 0-934540-49-7.