Chapter

Government Intervention in the Economy

Ole Borre and Josè Manuel Viegas

in The Scope of Government

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294740
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598838 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198294743.003.0009

Series: Beliefs in Government

 Government Intervention in the Economy

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Discusses the attitudes of Western European publics towards economic liberalism and economic interventionism during the past few decades. While beliefs about the desirability of state intervention in the economy, and of state ownership of public assets are central to modern political ideologies, there is scant evidence that interventionism and liberalism constitute opposite positions in the public mind. Questions of whether governments should practice economic interventionism, or whether assets should be removed into government ownership, tend to be answered not in terms of philosophical principle, but in terms of whether the government is felt to be worthy of the powers entrusted to it. Interventionism tends to be supported by those who lose out under laissez‐faire economies, by women, by young people, and by old people. These tendencies can be explained by the fact that, on the whole, it is middle‐aged men who tend to profit most from the liberal capitalist system.

Keywords: interventionism; liberalism; Western Europe

Chapter.  15458 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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