Front Page Titles (by Subject) Positive Liberalism - Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3
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“Positive” Liberalism - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, July/September 1978, vol. 1, No. 3 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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“Louis Wolowski ou le Liberalisme Positif” (“Louis Wolowski: Positive Liberalism”). Revue d'histoire économique et sociale (France) 54 (1976): 169–184.
Louis Wolowski represents one current of nineteenth-century French economic liberalism which anticipated the historical development of later liberalism. He attacked a variety of false solutions to social-economic questions from a moral viewpoint. As a liberal, he assailed the ancien regime for its protectionism and corporatism, and he castigated socialist theories which required an oppressive use of state interventionism. But finding fault with “negative” liberalism, he advocated an interventionist and stimulating role for the state in public education and banking.
A Polish born émigré, whose life spanned the years 1810 to 1876, Louis Wolowski was an important member of the so-called Paris Group and a founder of the Société d'économie politique. In 1839, he was appointed to the chair of industrial legislation at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers. In 1860, this chair was joined to that of industrial economy, which had been held by J.A. Blanqui from 1833 to 1854. (The chair had remained vacant from 1854 to 1860. It had, prior to Blanqui's tenure, been held by J.B. Say.) The combined chair was launched as a course in statistics and administration. In 1864 it was transformed again into a course in political economy and industrial legislation.
Wolowski, in his work, attempted to strike a balance between what he perceived as the historical and the theoretical methods. He was a proponent of the work of W. Roscher, whose Principles he translated into French as Principles d'économie politique (1856).
Although a critic of the economic protectionism of the ancien regime, Wolowski remained a gradualist concerning the abolition of his own epoch's socialism and commercial barriers. He attacked the labor theory of value from the vantage point of Say's analysis of utility value and his theory of the entrepreneur. Nevertheless, he praised the Saint Simonians for resurrecting the concept of authority and for their notion of a just recompense. He also valued Fourier's development of ideas asserting the power of association. He was uniformly critical of the statism of Louis Blanc.
Wolowski's praise for the Saint Simonians was related to his disdain of what he characterized as negative liberalism. He was by no means a proponent of the extreme antistatism of many of his colleagues in the Paris Group. He regarded the state as a positive “lever” as well as a negative shield, and he asserted that authority was the complement of industry. Defining the role of the state as the defense of collective interests and the advancement of economic progress, he supported public education, state development of the means of communication and transport, and state expansion of credit. He advocated a role for the state in the emission of bank money and he criticized the free banking notions of Michel Chevalier.