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The Scope of Government$
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Ole Borre and Elinor Scarbrough

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294740

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198294743.001.0001

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Government Intervention in the Economy

Government Intervention in the Economy

(p.234) 9 Government Intervention in the Economy
The Scope of Government

Ole Borre (Contributor Webpage)

Josè Manuel Viegas

Oxford University Press

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

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