laissez-faire


laissez-faire
laissez-faireism, n.
/les'ay fair"/; Fr. /le say ferdd"/, adj.
of, pertaining to, or conforming to the principles or practices of laissez faire.
Also, laisser-faire.
[1815-25]

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(French; "allow to do")

Policy dictating a minimum of governmental interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society.

It was promoted by the physiocrats and strongly supported by Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill. Widely accepted in the 19th century, laissez-faire assumed that the individual who pursues his own desires contributes most successfully to society as a whole. The function of the state is to maintain order and avoid interfering with individual initiative. The popularity of the laissez-faire doctrine waned in the late 19th century, when it proved inadequate to deal with the social and economic problems caused by industrialization. See also classical economics.

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      (French: “allow to do”), policy of minimum governmental interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society. The origin of the term is uncertain, but folklore suggests that it is derived from the answer Jean-Baptiste Colbert (Colbert, Jean-Baptiste), controller general of finance under King Louis XIV of France, received when he asked industrialists what the government could do to help business: “Leave us alone.” The doctrine of laissez-faire is usually associated with the economists known as Physiocrats, who flourished in France from about 1756 to 1778. The policy of laissez-faire received strong support in classical economics as it developed in Great Britain under the influence of economist and philosopher Adam Smith.

      Belief in laissez-faire was a popular view during the 19th century; its proponents cited the assumption in classical economics of a natural economic order as support for their faith in unregulated individual activity. The British economist John Stuart Mill (Mill, John Stuart) was responsible for bringing this philosophy into popular economic usage in his Principles of Political Economy (1848), in which he set forth the arguments for and against government activity in economic affairs.

      Laissez-faire was a political as well as an economic doctrine. The pervading theory of the 19th century was that the individual, pursuing his own desired ends, would thereby achieve the best results for the society of which he was a part. The function of the state was to maintain order and security and to avoid interference with the initiative of the individual in pursuit of his own desired goals. But laissez-faire advocates nonetheless argued that government had an essential role in enforcing contracts as well as ensuring civil order.

      The philosophy's popularity reached its peak around 1870. In the late 19th century the acute changes caused by industrial growth and the adoption of mass-production techniques proved the laissez-faire doctrine insufficient as a guiding philosophy. Although the original concept yielded to new theories that attracted wider support, the general philosophy still has its advocates.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Laissez-faire — „Laissez faire“ [lɛseˈfɛʀ] ist ein aus dem Französischen entlehnter Begriff und heißt übersetzt „lasst machen“ im Sinne von „einfach laufen lassen“. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft 2 Verwendung 2.1 Wirtschaftswissenschaften …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Laissez-Faire — Le Laissez faire est un courant de pensée économique et politique primitivement né en opposition au mercantilisme. De nos jours il s oppose en économie aux politiques interventionnistes. Le terme représente également un principe dans la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Laissez faire — Le Laissez faire est un courant de pensée économique et politique primitivement né en opposition au mercantilisme. De nos jours il s oppose en économie aux politiques interventionnistes. Le terme représente également un principe dans la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Laissez faire — [leseˈfɛʀ] ist ein aus dem Französischen entlehnter Begriff. Es heißt übersetzt lasst machen im Sinne von einfach laufen lassen. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft 2 Verwendung 2.1 Wirtschaftswissenschaften 2.2 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • laissez-faire — ou laisser faire n. m. inv. Attitude consistant à ne pas intervenir, notam. dans le domaine écon. Ce laissez faire a conduit à une catastrophe économique. Ant. interventionnisme. laissez faire [lesefɛʀ] n. m. invar. ÉTYM. 1843; de laisser à l… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • laissez-faire — lais‧sez faire [ˌleseɪ ˈfeə, ˌleɪ ǁ ˈfer] also laisser faire noun [uncountable] ECONOMICS the idea that governments should do as little to the economy as possible and allow private business to develop without the state controlling or influencing… …   Financial and business terms

  • laissez-faire — laissez faire, 1822, French, lit. let (people) do (as they think best), from laissez, imperative of laisser to let, to leave (from L. laxare, from laxus loose; see LAX (Cf. lax)) + faire to do (from L. facere; see FACTITIOUS (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • Laissez faire — es una abreviación de la frase laissez faire, laissez passer, una expresion francesa que significa «dejad hacer, dejad pasar». Fue usada por vez primera por los fisiócratas del siglo XVII contra la interferencia del gobierno en el comercio. Hoy… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Laissez faire — Lais sez faire . [F., let alone.] Noninterference; an axiom of some political economists, deprecating interference of government by attempts to foster or regulate commerce, manufactures, etc., by bounty or by restriction; as, the doctrine of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • laissez faire — [les΄ā fer′] n. [Fr, lit., let (people) do (as they please)] the policy or practice of letting people act without interference or direction; noninterference; specif., the policy of letting the owners of industry and business fix the rules of… …   English World dictionary


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