English / Mill And Classic Laissez-Faire Liberalism

Mill And Classic Laissez-Faire Liberalism

This essay Mill And Classic Laissez-Faire Liberalism is available for you on Essays24.com! Search Term Papers, College Essay Examples and Free Essays on Essays24.com - full papers database.

Autor:  anton  13 December 2010
Tags:  Classic,  Laissez,  Liberalism
Words: 1047   |   Pages: 5
Views: 409

Laissez-Faire Liberalism was/is an idea for a social movement

where citizens are able to conduct their market and personal lives as they see

fit without government interaction, which was widely promoted by A. Smith and

J. S. Mill. The only time it would be appropriate for the government to step

in is when it was crucial for the safety of the country or social structure

of the group in question. Liberals believed without a doubt that this movement

would result in the greatest possible efficiency of resources being used and

would allow the society to have its material wants satisfied to the fullest.

Citizens who contributed to this social structure were the ones who pursued

their own desires.

In all, the argument for laissez-faire is based upon the premise that free trade

and unregulated economic activity will enhance economic growth by stimulating

competitive enterprise. From what can be gathered, laissez-faire was produced

as a reaction to mercantilism. Mercantilism was the system of commercial controls

in which industry and trade, especially foreign trade was merely seen as means

of strengthening the state. This new capitalism tells us that happiness is pleasure

and to achieve this pleasure we need to satisfy our desires. Then in the consumers'

cases they need to buy goods to fulfill their desires where at the same time

the capitalists who are trying to make a profit off these consumers are trying

to fulfill their own desires. When it all works out it becomes a round about

subject. The capitalist who isn't going out of his way to purposely make the

consumer happy is still, in the end, doing just that. One capitalistic

entrepreneur makes a profit off of a consumer, which fulfills the entrepreneur's

desires, which in turn makes him happy. The consumer obtains a desired good

from the entrepreneur, which satisfies the consumer's desire, which in turn

makes him happy.

Wolff explains that the selfishness of this system would achieve what altruism,

selflessness, was never fully able to, which was to rationally and efficiently

produce the greatest happiness possible for the greatest number of people.

Its not much of a coincidence that about the time the American colonies were

beginning to show their want for independence from England that the laissez-faire

movement began to pick up wide spread support. Some of the major supporters

were the founders of America.

For a quick background, John Stuart Mills was the son of James Mill, a Scotsman

who came to London and became a leader in a radical group movement to further

the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham. James raised his son to continue

in his footsteps as philosophical leader. Shortly after his eighteenth birthday

in 1823, John threw himself into his father's work and began an active literary

career. His father got him a junior position in the company he worked for and

John quickly climbed the business ladder to eventually take over his father's

position. In 1826, John Stuart began to feel the pressures of walking his father's

path at such a young age and slipped into a deep state of depression. His mental

state continued for many months and all the while never leaving his job. Inside

he felt that his goals were not all they had been cracked up to be and only

through the poetry of Wordsworth was he able to find comfort.

The "position" taken by J. S. Mill was that he had come to question

many of the supporting ideas behind laissez-faire liberalism and Utilitarianism.

He took over where his father and David Ricardo had left off. Mill was also

an activist in self-development where he saw laissez-faire policies as the vehicle

for individual freedom.

Mill goes on to face moral dilemmas as he begins to doubt and disagree with

certain points of Utilitarianism, the philosophy he was brought up to defend.

Where his father's version of Utilitarianism explains that no one pleasure is

better then another, Mill explains in his essay, "Utilitarianism,"

that different people require different types and different quantities to supply

them with their needed pleasure. Obviously some pleasures must be different

then others in quantity and quality.

J. S. then denies and rejects the ideas that the individuals who take part in

our economy can be counted on to be "self-interested" to the point

that they increase growth and production to the highest possible level. Mill

explains that with those who are self-interested there are also those who are

subject to keeping a routine schedule so in certain cases these few will continue

to shop where it is convenient and routine. This in turn can surely not lead

to the highest possible level of growth.

In Mill's last argument he stresses that the government should have no control

over our personal lives. He sums up his thoughts on the subject by saying, "Laissez-faire

should be the general practice: every departure from it, unless required by

some great good, is a certain evil."

When I sit back and look at this Mill's philosophy as a whole I'm not nearly

as overwhelmed as I feel I should be. Once all the different parts are separated

and broken

down it is easy to analyze them. I'm somewhat torn on the whole idea though.

For the life of me I can't come to accept the idea that the government should

have no control over our market transactions. I agree that they shouldn't have

any control in our personal lives such as what we do at in the privacy of our

own homes with consenting adults, but without control over our market, Bill

Gates would own half the country if not all of it. The idea of no governmental

control over the market might have been nice back in Mill's time, but now the

market is too busy, too big for there to be no regulations. Its hard enough

keeping crooks that hold large portions of the market from controlling the lives

of the little people even with governmental regulations so just imagine how

much more the middle and lower classes would be ostracized if these capitalists

were able to run completely free.

When Mill deciphers the qualities and quantities of pleasure I tend to agree.

Even though we are all human there is such a diversity of people that to say

one pleasure for one person is just as good for another person is to say that

a layperson would get that same amount of pleasure from reading Stephen Hawking

as an astrophysicist would. What more needs to be said then that?

Again I have to agree with Mill that the actions of the market's adventurers

cannot be calculated, but merely predicted. Human nature's ability to be completely

irrational at times is just enough to throw off any sort of attempt at calculating

our behaviors especially in a market place.

Get Better Grades Today

Join Essays24.com and get instant access to over 60,000+ Papers and Essays

Please enter your username and password
Forgot your password?