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April 25, 2018 / C H Thompson

New Right social theory

  • Key names in the New Right (neo-liberal) perspective are Milton Friedman and Peter Bauer.
  • They both emphasised laissez-faire economic policy, otherwise known as a free market economy.
  • In Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman argues the existence of a free market does not eliminate the need for government.
  • On the contrary, government is essential both as a for deciding the rules of the game but as an umpire overseeing the rules are played correctly.
  • Such a process reduces the issues politicians have to get involved with because the free market co-ordinates society so well. It gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they want.

Friedman argued governments should only get involved with four areas of the economy:

  • Defence
  • Law and Order
  • The provision of the necessary public works that private enterprise doesn’t find profitable
  • Protection from members of the community who ‘cannot be regarded as responsible individuals.’



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