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Barbara Wootton, Friedrich Hayek and the debate on democratic federalism in the 1940s

Rosenboim, O. (2014). Barbara Wootton, Friedrich Hayek and the debate on democratic federalism in the 1940s. International History Review, 36(5), pp. 894-918. doi: 10.1080/07075332.2013.871320


In the 1940s many internationalists thought the Second World War created a unique opportunity to establish a new world order to promote peace as well as social welfare. By thinking globally, British internationalists wanted to challenge earlier social theory, and to offer novel solutions to social and economic problems that, according to them, could not be solved domestically. This article focuses on the international social thought of the economist and social scientist Barbara Wootton, who envisaged a world order balancing socialist, democratic, and liberal international ideas. As a leading member of the political organisation Federal Union, she envisaged a global social democracy based on social and economic planning in a federal framework. By taking the British socialist tradition as her point of departure, she sought to integrate socialism, liberal democracy, and internationalism in a harmonious federal world order. While associating herself with the British socialist tradition, Wootton regarded it as insufficient to address the post-war international crisis, and drew inspiration from democratic and liberal political theory. In this article the author discusses Wootton's international thought in historical context, and assesses her intellectual exchanges with prominent intellectuals like Friedrich von Hayek, to reveal her significant contribution to British international thought.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International History Review on 13 Feb 2014, available online:
Publisher Keywords: internationalism, federalism, democracy, Barbara Wootton, Friedrich Hayek
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
Text - Accepted Version
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