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What is laissez-faire economics?

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Laissez-faire economics involves a minimal amount of government intervention in economic affairs. The term, French for "allow to do," is believed to have originated when Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who controlled finance under France's King Louis XIV, asked industrialists how the government could help business and received the answer, "Leave us alone."

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There are four key fundamentals to a laissez-faire system. First, the individual is the basic unit in society. Second, individuals have the right to freedom. Third, the physical order of nature is self-regulating, and does not require intervention. Fourth, corporations are created by the state and should be monitored closely by citizens. Early advocates of laissez-faire also emphasized the need for markets to be competitive.

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