Laissez-Faire and State Intervention: The Economy

  • Neil Tonge
  • Michael Quincey
Part of the Documents and Debates book series (DD)


The term laissez-faire has traditionally been used to describe the state’s reluctance to interfere in industrial and social activity. Bentham, J. S. Mill and Smiles emphasised government’s role to be to rule rather than legislate, but the first broadside to mercantilism was delivered by Adam Smith in his work ‘An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations’.


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Further reading

  1. A. W. Coats, (ed.) The Classical Economists and Economic Policy (1971);Google Scholar
  2. P. L. Payne, British Entrepreneurship in the Nineteenth Century (1974);Google Scholar
  3. O. MacDonagh, Early Victorian Government 1830–1870 (1977);Google Scholar
  4. A.J. Taylor, Laissez-Faire and State Intervention in Nineteenth-century Britain (1972).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Neil Tonge and Michael Quincey 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil Tonge
  • Michael Quincey

There are no affiliations available

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