From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The dismal science
Icon economics.svg
Economic Systems

  $  Market Economy
  €  Mixed Economy
  ☭ Socialist Economy

Major Concepts
The Worldly Philosophers

Laissez-faire (a.k.a "fairly lazy") (pron. "lessay-fair") in French literally means "let be" or "allow to do." A laissez-faire government is one that does not meddle more than strictly necessary in the affairs of its citizens. Folklore suggests that it comes from the answer Jean-Baptiste Colbert, controller general of finance under King Louis XIVWikipedia of France, received when he asked industrialists what the government could do to help business: "Leave us alone."[1] Others maintain the term originated with a group of French economists known as the Physiocrats.[2] Subsequently, it became popular with believers in Social Darwinism,Wikipedia but few political movements still believe in a truly laissez-faire economic system.

Even most, though by no means all, libertarians believe in some small amount of government work, such as building and maintaining roads and providing a military, although there are a few libertarians who are capitalist anarchists, and want to privatize "everything".

Laissez-faire economies are rare in the contemporary world. A possible modern example of laissez-faire economy is Hong Kong, though they have extensive public transportation and large segments of the population living in public housing blocks.

Twelve in a room in America[edit]

The U.S. is pretty capitalistic, even by modern standards. And historically, minorities have a bad time of it in the workplace. Proponents of laissez-faire economics argue that this is because we simply don't have enough capitalism, seeing as freeing up the market is the only thing that the West hasn't done yet.

Laissez-faire means hands off private tyranny business - meaning no gubbmint regulation (not that there's any other kind). Besides the slave trade, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and the Irish were devalued and discriminated against. Capitalism promoted that. A capitalist society will exploit everything and everything it can to cut costs. The idea that capitalism rewards rational thought is absolutely true in admiring polemics, and untrue from an empirical standpoint. For instance, at least 3000 businesses in the UK attempt to use graphology to determine the personality of applicants - even though this has been comprehensively proven to be absolute horseshite.[3] The idea that it penalizes irrational thought (including racism) is also patently false. Before the government put a ban on discrimination in the work place (we're inclined to believe it still happens), racism was rampant and corporations pitted minorities against each other because they could. Capitalism ought to penalize racism now, because of these bans, but before the bans it rewarded racism.

Adam Smith[edit]

Adam Smith, often called the father of modern economics, was a supporter of laissez-faire capitalism. He argued that the invisible hand of the market would help to guide an economy because by acting in their own self-interests citizens would benefit the whole of society with their labor or produced goods; however, unlike modern proponents he was sceptical about charging interest on loans and permanent land tenure's really belonging in a 'free' market.

Role in the Irish's Potatoe Potato Famine[edit]

British adherence to Laissez-faire economics combined with racism stopped them from providing aid to Ireland during their potato famine causing millions of deaths.[4]

See also[edit]