an ideology that believes in the following social values: freedom, individualism, inequality, pragmatism, and humanism. Liberalism supports social insurance programs, because it believes that they encourage savings (thus being less dependent on the State), shares the risk of unemployment, injury and retirement amongst all those at risk. Liberalism believes in full employment as a social program, so that people support themselves and can be less dependent on the State.
In the context of trade policy, "liberal" usually means freedom from import controls or government restraints. Liberalism connotes a preference for reducing existing barriers to trade --in contrast with protectionism, or a preference for retaining or raising barriers to import competition. See also mercantilism and economic nationalism.