Laissez Faire - Laissez Faire In the mid 18th century a...

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Laissez Faire In the mid 18th century a group of French writers known as the “physiocrats” held that social, political, and economic phenomena were governed by same sort of natural laws that Newton had found for the physical universe. They were convinced that the human condition could best be improved by allowing the “system” to return to the equilibrium of its natural order. This meant that government should refrain from getting in the way of “nature.” Misery was caused by archaic regulations that prevented natural forces from playing out. This “get out of the way and let nature take its course” ideology is what is referred to as “laissez faire” (let it happen). Adam Smith took up the idea in his 1776 An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Smith focused on the value of commerce and manufacturing and brought back Plato’s focus on the division of labor and specialization. He emphasized the role of labor and we’ll later see this picked up by Ricardo and Marx in the notion of “the labor theory of value.” Most notable in Smith is the idea that humans’ natural tendency is to “truck and barter” and that
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Laissez Faire - Laissez Faire In the mid 18th century a...

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