Politica economica

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Chapter 3 - ''Laissez-Faire, Laissez-passer''.

Liberalism suffers from something of a personality disorder. The term means different things in different contexts. In the United States today, for example, a liberal is general regarded as one who believes in an active role for the state in society such as helping the poor and funding programs to address social problems.

For economic liberals(also referred to as neoliberals and sometimes as neocon1 the state should play a limited, knot constricted, role in the economy and society. In other relatives ), words, today's economic liberals have much in common with people who are usually referred to as ''conservatives'' in the United States and many other countries.

ROOTS OF THE ECONOMIC LIBERAL
The liberal perspective today revealsmany insights about political economy that mercantilists miss or do not address. Although liberals believe that people are fundamentally self-interested, they do not see this as a disadvantage because broad areas of society are set up in such a way that competing interests can engage one another.
Today's economic liberalism is rooted in reactions to important trends and events in Europe in theseventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Fratxois Quesnay (1694-1774) led a group of French philosophers called the Physiocrats or Qs economist's. Quesnay condemned government interference in the market, holding that, with few exceptions, it brought harm to society.

PERSPECTIVE
For the laissez-faire world of individual initiative, private ownership, and limited government interfere fears andloathing, however, are directed toward very different sorts of states.
For Smith, the individual freedom of the marketplace represented the best alternative to potentially abusive state power when it came to the allocation of resources or organizing economic activity.
Recently Havel lived under an authoritarian regime in Czechoslovakia before 1989 that suppressed the market and, for the most part,replaced most market activities with rigid and centralized state planning. The state owned the shops and factories and natural resources and ordered their use in ways that fit the planners' notion of the national interest. This centralized state market system proved to be terribly inefficient in its ability to create wealth. In embracing the marketplace, then, Havel sought to gain both individualfreedom from state power and prosperity through the musket's flexibility and dynamism.

In Central and Eastern Europe are now members of the European Union's (EU) single market. And China has made headlines for using the market to infuse its political economy with the spirit of individual initiative. Taken together, over half of all the human beings on earth have come to terms with the economicliberal ideas of Quesnay, Adam Smith, Havel, and many others of their stripe.

SMITH, CAPITALISM, SELF-INTEREST THE INVISIBLE HAND, AND COMPETITION
Economic liberals, then, come down heavily on the side of the market when choosing sides among the state, market, and society, a fundamental tension that characterizes IPE in general. A free market is just one element of the liberal view, in whichindividuals are considered best equipped to make social choices. As a liberal, Smith believed in the cooperative, constructive side of lawman nature. For 11|, behest interested aloof society is served by (rational) individual choices, which when observed from afar appear as an ''invisible hand'' that guides the economy and promotes the common good. By preferring the support of domestic to that offoreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its own produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases.

The oft-quoted but only one-time passing reference to the ''invisible hand'' in Smith's work has two tightly intertwined parts: self-interest and competition. Scotia was writing...
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