laissez-faire

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Laissez-Faire

A term describing an economic theory that promotes government non-intervention. Laissez-faire theory states that most government interventions make an economy less efficient and hamper growth. According to this, government ought to restrict itself to safeguarding the right to private property. In its extreme form, it is opposed to any law limiting economic activities short of theft or extortion. Laissez-faire economists are philosophically opposed to minimum wages, protectionism, antitrust laws, and most laws intended to benefit workers at the expense of employers. Proponents of laissez-faire economics argue that it benefits employers and workers alike. For example, a man may open a mechanic shop to make money for himself, but, in the process of doing so, he may hire otherwise unemployed mechanics and service otherwise broken cars, which then facilitates business for the rest of the community. If there were environmental or wage restrictions on his business, however, he might not hire as many employees and may not start the mechanic shop at all. Critics of the theory contend that its benefits are overstated and that a laissez-faire structure without regulation lends itself to the creation of bubbles, which harms both businesses and their employees. See also: Reaganomics, Invisible Hand, Keynesian economics, Marxism, Regulation.

laissez-faire

Of, relating to, or being an economy devoid of government interference.

laissez-faire

an economic doctrine that emphasizes the superiority of‘free’ markets (see PRICE SYSTEM) over state regulation of individual markets and of the economy in general. Proponents of laissez-faire argue that a PRIVATE-ENTERPRISE ECONOMY will achieve a more efficient allocation and use of scarce economic resources and greater economic growth than will a CENTRALLY PLANNED ECONOMY where the government owns and directs the use of resources. This inference is based on the rationale that private ownership of resources and maximum freedom to deploy these resources in line with profit signals will create strong incentives to work hard and take risks. State bureaucracies, on the other hand, can tend to stifle enterprise and initiative. See CLASSICAL ECONOMICS, RATIONALIZATION, PRIVATIZATION.
References in periodicals archive ?
Therefore, new imagery is necessary to substantiate laissez-faire economics and quell many of the typical criticisms of this theory.
For example, while some commentators continue to attribute the Lochner decision to the influence of social Darwinism, as reflected by laissez-faire economics, see, e.
The values of the Old Regime were not eclipsed by the Industrial Revolution, nor did political economists and the proponents of laissez-faire economics go unchallenged.
Lynch and Reason Public Policy Institute Executive Director Adrian Moore explain in "Power Tripped" (see page 32) how early accounts of the electricity "deregulation" cast the situation as yet one more example of the folly of laissez-faire economics.
There is thus a tension within conservative ideology between laissez-faire economics and family values.
This ad hoc treatment of empirical evidence will not trouble those predisposed to agree with Sowell's blend of social conservative and laissez-faire economics ideology.
From an agricultural state, Dole has always been eager to prop up home-grown products, backing food stamps and farm price supports in defiance of laissez-faire economics.
Under the various banners of colonialism, social Darwinism, manifest destiny, Christianizing of heathens and laissez-faire economics, the past hundred years has been witness to the systematic exploitation of the Third World by often greedy and ruthless entrepreneurs from Europe and the United States.
Liberals were preoccupied with individual liberty, favored laissez-faire economics and a minimal state, and balanced respect for traditional social arrangements with support for constitutional reforms guaranteeing personal freedom.
You may have heard that Americans have forsaken laissez-faire economics.
It was ideology in the form of laissez-faire economics that disposed the British to allow a million people to die in Ireland in the great famine of 1845.
The alliance was held together by a rhetorical commitment to "traditional values'--which could mean either "pro-family' nostalgia or laissez-faire economics.