Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Right" Whales in the Economic Oceans - Laissez Faire


from Wikipedia
Laissez faire was proclaimed by the physiocrats in the eighteenth century France, thus being the very core of the economic principles, and was more developed by famous economists, beginning with Adam Smith.[11] "It is with the physiocrats and the classical political economy that the term "laissez faire" is ordinarily associated." The book Laissez Faire and the General-Welfare State mentions that, "The physiocrats, reacting against the excessive mercantilist regulations of the France of their day, expressed a belief in a "natural order" or liberty under which individuals in following their selfish interests contributed to the general good. Since, in their view, this natural order functioned successfully without the aid of government, they advised the state to restrict itself to upholding the rights of private property and individual liberty, to removing all artificial barriers to trade, and to abolishing all useless laws."

In England, a number of "free trade" and "non-interference" slogans had been coined already during the 17th century.[citation needed] But the French phrase laissez faire gained currency in English-speaking countries with the spread of Physiocratic literature in the late 18th century. The Colbert-LeGendre anecdote was relayed in George Whatley's 1774 Principles of Trade (co-authored with Benjamin Franklin) - which may be the first appearance of the phrase in an English language publication.

Laissez-faire, a product of the Enlightenment, was "conceived as the way to unleash human potential through the restoration of a natural system, a system unhindered by the restrictions of government." In a similar vein, Adam Smith viewed the economy as a natural system and the market as an organic part of that system. Smith saw Laissez-faire as a moral program, and the market its instrument to ensure men the rights of natural law. By extension, free markets become a reflection of the natural system of liberty. "For Smith, laissez-faire was a program for the abolition of laws constraining the market, a program for the restoration of order and for the activation of potential growth."

5 comments:

Always On Watch said...

The Left will never admit any of the advantages of capitalism.

I have to wonder if the Left would shrivel away and die out of all capitalism were eradicated for 10 years.

Joe Conservative said...

Capitalism is economic fertlizer. The Mandarins of the Left eventually run out of competency and turn from meritocracy to nepotism.

FreeThinke said...

An odious personality -- totally lacking in "charisma," but -- God damn it! -- she was ONE-HUNDRED PRCENT CORRECT.

Always On Watch said...

FT,
Ayn Rand certainly had zero charisma. But her ideas? Well, I used to think they were extreme. I don't think so anymore -- at least when it comes to some of her ideas.

Thersites said...

I'm no fan of "Objectivism", but I do agree that she was on the right side of the larger economic issue of the day.