Laissez-faire or Liberal Economics

… a core term used in Economic Analysis and Atlas102


The Economist defines laissez-faire or liberal economics as let-it-be economics: the belief that an economy functions best when there is no interference by government.

The Economist goes on to say:

“It can be traced to the 18th-century French physiocrats, who believed in government according to the natural order and opposed mercantilism. Adam Smith and others turned it into a central tenet of classical economics, as it allowed the invisible hand to operate efficiently. (But even they saw a need for some limited government role in the economy.) In the 19th century, it inspired the British political movement that secured the repeal of the Corn Laws and promoted free trade and gave birth to The Economist in 1843. In the 20th century, laissez-faire was often seen as synonymous with supporting monopoly and allowing the business cycle to boom and bust, and it came off second best against Keynesian policies of interventionist government. However, mounting evidence of the inefficiency of state intervention inspired the free market policies of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, both of whom stressed the importance of laissez-faire.”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

The Study of Economics (core topic) in Economic Analysis and Atlas102 Economic Analysis.


The Economist, Economics A-Z, at, accessed 30 April 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 30 April 2016.