LAISSEZ-FAIRE describes an economic doctrine that allows for a free-enterprise system to operate according to its own economic laws and opposes governmental regulation of commerce beyond the minimum necessary. The term translates from the French as “to let alone.” In the 18th century, laissez-faire enjoyed influence in many different areas of everyday life as early European economic thought overlapped with political, philosophical, and religious ideology. More frequently, laissez-faire has been associated with the general prescriptions of the classical economists and, in particular, a belief in the efficiency of a free-market economy.

In economics and politics, the laissez-faire policy functions best as an economic system in which there is no interference by government. Laissez-faire is based on the belief that a natural economic order, in the absence ...

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