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Small government is a term generally used in liberalism mainly by political conservatives and libertarians to describe a government with minimal involvement in certain areas of public policy or the private sector, especially matters considered to be private or personal. It is an important topic in classical liberalism, libertarianism and conservatism, but one questioned by supporters of big government.
Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support civil rights, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and free markets.
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. The central tenets of conservatism include tradition, human imperfection, organic solidarity, hierarchy, authority, and property rights. Conservatives seek to preserve a range of institutions such as monarchy, religion, parliamentary government, and property rights, with the aim of emphasizing social stability and continuity. The more extreme elements—reactionaries—oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were".
Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association, and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.
In Australian politics, the Labor Party has traditionally been perceived as the party of big government while the Liberal Party is the party of small government.Of the 34 advanced economies, Australia's revenue is the ninth-lowest and spending the seventh-lowest.
The politics of Australia take place within the framework of a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Australians elect parliamentarians to the federal Parliament of Australia, a bicameral body which incorporates elements of the fused executive inherited from the Westminster system, and a strong federalist senate, adopted from the United States Congress. Australia largely operates as a two-party system in which voting is compulsory. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Australia as a "full democracy" in 2017.
The Australian Labor Party is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. Bill Shorten has been the party's federal parliamentary leader since 13 October 2013. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.
The Liberal Party of Australia is a major centre-right political party in Australia, one of the two major parties in Australian politics, along with the centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP). It was founded in 1944 as the successor to the United Australia Party (UAP).
Former Prime Minister of Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen wrote the book From Social State to Minimal State (Danish : Fra socialstat til minimalstat) in 1993, in which he advocated an extensive reform of the Danish welfare system along classical liberal lines. In particular, he favors lower taxes and less government interference in corporate and individual matters.
The Prime Minister of Denmark is the head of government in the Kingdom of Denmark. Before the creation of the modern office, Denmark did not initially have a head of government separate from its head of state, namely the Monarch, in whom the executive authority was vested. The Constitution of 1849 established a constitutional monarchy by limiting the powers of the Monarch and creating the office of premierminister. The inaugural holder of the office was Adam Wilhelm Moltke.
Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen is a Danish politician who was the 24th Prime Minister of Denmark from November 2001 to April 2009 and the 12th Secretary General of NATO from August 2009 to October 2014. He is now CEO of political consultancy Rasmussen Global and a senior advisor at The Boston Consulting Group's Copenhagen office.
However, Rasmussen has since then repudiated many of the views expressed in the book,moving towards the centre-right and adopting environmentalism.
Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy, ideology, and social movement regarding concerns for environmental protection and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the impact of changes to the environment on humans, animals, plants and non-living matter. While environmentalism focuses more on the environmental and nature-related aspects of green ideology and politics, ecologism combines the ideology of social ecology and environmentalism. Ecologism is more commonly used in continental European languages while ‘environmentalism’ is more commonly used in English but the words have slightly different connotations.
Hong Kong has followed small government, laissez-faire policies for decades, limiting government intervention in business. Milton Friedman described Hong Kong as a laissez-faire state and he credits that policy for the rapid move from poverty to prosperity in 50 years.However, some argue that since Hong Kong was a British colony and Britain was not a free market, Hong Kong's success was not due to laissez-faire policies.
Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is the world's fourth most densely populated region.
Laissez-faire is an economic system in which transactions between private parties are free from government intervention such as regulation, privileges, tariffs and subsidies. The phrase laissez-faire is part of a larger French phrase and translates to "let (it/them) do", but in this context usually means "let go".
Milton Friedman was an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy. With George Stigler and others, Friedman was among the intellectual leaders of the second generation of Chicago price theory, a methodological movement at the University of Chicago's Department of Economics, Law School and Graduate School of Business from the 1940s onward. Several students and young professors who were recruited or mentored by Friedman at Chicago went on to become leading economists, including Gary Becker, Robert Fogel, Thomas Sowell and Robert Lucas Jr.
A 1994 World Bank Group report stated that Hong Kong's GDP per capita grew in real terms at an annual rate of 6.5% from 1965 to 1989, a consistent growth percentage over a span of almost 25 years.By 1990, Hong Kong's per capita income officially surpassed that of the ruling United Kingdom.
The World Bank Group (WBG) is a family of five international organizations that make leveraged loans to developing countries. It is the largest and most well-known development bank in the world and is an observer at the United Nations Development Group. The bank is based in Washington, D.C. and provided around $61 billion in loans and assistance to "developing" and transition countries in the 2014 fiscal year. The bank's stated mission is to achieve the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and building shared prosperity. Total lending as of 2015 for the last 10 years through Development Policy Financing was approximately $117 billion. Its five organizations are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The first two are sometimes collectively referred to as the World Bank.
Per capita income (PCI) or average income measures the average income earned per person in a given area in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the area's total income by its total population.
The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Since 1995, Hong Kong has been ranked as having the world's most liberal capital markets by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal .The Fraser Institute concurred in 2007.
After financial reforms beginning in 1984—first "Rogernomics" and later "Ruthanasia"—successive governments transformed New Zealand from a highly regulated economy to a liberalized free market economy.The New Zealand Government sold its telecommunications company, railway network, a number of radio stations and two financial institutions. These reforms were initially implemented by the Labour Party, which has since reverted to its social democratic and interventionist outlook; whereas the centre-right New Zealand National Party has taken up the cause of small government and continues to promote private enterprise, low taxation, reduced spending on social welfare and overall limited state interference. Small government is associated with conservatism in contemporary New Zealand politics.
The idea of small government was heavily promoted in the United Kingdom by the Conservative government under the Premiership of Margaret Thatcher. There are differing views on the extent to which it was achieved. It allowed the stock markets and industries to compete more heavily with each other and made British goods more valued in world trade.[ citation needed ]
An important part of the Margaret Thatcher government's policy was privatisation, which was intended to reduce the role of the state in the economy and allow industries to act without government interference. Supporters blamed excessive government intervention for much of Britain's economic woes during the late 1960s and 1970s.
Opponents argue that privatisation harms social programs for the poor. This argument is particularly heard in connection with the railways and the National Health Service (NHS). Small government supporters, such as the British author and journalist James Bartholomew, point out that although record amounts of funding have gone into social security, public education, council housing and the NHS, it has been detrimental to the people it was intended to help and does not represent value for investment.
In the 20th century, small government was generally associated with the Conservative Party and big government with the Labour Party.
In addition to opposing government intervention in the economy, advocates of small government oppose government intervention in people's personal lives. The Labour government during the premiership of Tony Blair was criticized on this score, e.g. by giving unwanted advice about eating, drinking and smoking. This has been dubbed as the "nanny state".[ citation needed ]
The United States is a constitutional republic. At the time the nation was founded there was disagreement between the Federalists who supported a strong federal government; and the Anti-Federalists, who wanted a loose confederation of independent states. In The Federalist Papers , Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay explained why a strong federal government was necessary. Hamilton wrote:
Not to confer in each case a degree of power commensurate to the end would be to violate the most obvious rules of prudence and propriety, and improvidently to trust the great interests of the nation to hands which are disabled from managing them with vigor and success.
President Thomas Jefferson said:
[A] wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.
The current "small government" movement in the United States is largely a product of Ronald Reagan's presidency from 1981 to 1989. Reagan declared himself a small-government conservative and famously said:
Government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem.
This has become the unofficial slogan of the Tea Party movement and conservative commentators like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.The Tea Party movement claims the United States used to have a small government and has turned away from that ideal. Generally, members of the Tea Party support the Republican Party and often run against moderate Republicans in the primary elections.
The libertarian-wing of the Republican Party, which includes politicians such as Ron Paul and his son Rand, is particularly strong in its support of small government in contrast with the neoconservative-wing, which favors large defense spending and the Christian right, which wants a federal government that would enforce what they see as Christian morality.
A 2013 Gallup poll showed that the majority (54%) of Americans think the government is trying to do too much.
Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a branch of liberalism which advocates civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom. Closely related to economic liberalism, it developed in the early 19th century, building on ideas from the previous century as a response to urbanization and to the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the United States. Notable individuals whose ideas contributed to classical liberalism include John Locke, Jean-Baptiste Say, Thomas Robert Malthus and David Ricardo. It drew on the classical economic ideas espoused by Adam Smith in Book One of The Wealth of Nations and on a belief in natural law, utilitarianism and progress. The term "classical liberalism" has often been applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from social liberalism.
Right-wing politics hold that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition. Hierarchy and inequality may be viewed as natural results of traditional social differences or the competition in market economies. The term right-wing can generally refer to "the conservative or reactionary section of a political party or system".
Liberal conservatism is a political ideology combining conservative policies with liberal stances, especially on economic, social and ethical issues, or a brand of political conservatism strongly influenced by liberalism.
Centre-right politics or center-right politics, also referred to as moderate-right politics, are politics that lean to the right of the left–right political spectrum, but are closer to the centre than other right-wing politics. From the 1780s to the 1880s, there was a shift in the Western world of social class structure and the economy, moving away from the nobility and mercantilism, as well as moving towards the bourgeoisie and capitalism. This general economic shift towards capitalism affected centre-right movements such as the British Conservative Party, that responded by becoming supportive of capitalism.
American conservatism is a broad system of political beliefs in the United States that is characterized by respect for American traditions, republicanism, support for Judeo-Christian values, moral universalism, free markets and free trade, anti-communism, individualism, advocacy of American exceptionalism, and a defense of Western culture from the perceived threats posed by socialism, authoritarianism, and moral relativism. American conservatives consider individual liberty—within the bounds of conformity to conservative American values—as the fundamental trait of democracy; this perspective contrasts with that of modern American liberals, who generally place a greater value on equality and social justice than on social order and tradition. American conservatives also tend to believe in a small federal government limited to its constitution and very strong state governments.
Fiscal conservatism is a political-economic philosophy regarding fiscal policy and fiscal responsibility advocating low taxes, reduced government spending and minimal government debt. Free trade, deregulation of the economy, lower taxes, and privatization are the defining qualities of fiscal conservatism. Fiscal conservatism follows the same philosophical outlook of classical liberalism and economic liberalism. The term has its origins in the era of the New Deal during the 1930s as a result of the policies initiated by reform or modern liberals, when many classical liberals started calling themselves conservatives as they did not wish to be identified with what was passing for liberalism.
Right-libertarianism, or right-wing libertarianism, usually simply referred to as libertarianism in the United States and other countries, refers to libertarian political philosophies that advocate negative rights, natural law and a major reversal of the modern welfare state. Right-libertarians strongly support private property rights and defend market distribution of natural resources and private property. This position is contrasted with that of some versions of left-libertarianism. Right-libertarianism includes anarcho-capitalism and laissez-faire minarchist liberalism.
Positive non-interventionism was the economic policy of Hong Kong; this policy can be traced back to the time when Hong Kong was under British rule. It was first officially implemented in 1971 by Financial Secretary of Hong Kong John Cowperthwaite, who observed that the economy was doing well in the absence of government intervention but it was important to create the regulatory and physical infrastructure to facilitate market-based decision making. The policy was continued by subsequent Financial Secretaries, including Sir Philip Haddon-Cave. Economist Milton Friedman has cited it as a fairly comprehensive implementation of laissez-faire policy, although Haddon-Cave has stated that the description of Hong Kong as a laissez-faire society was "frequent but inadequate".
In American politics, fusionism is the philosophical and political combination or "fusion" of traditionalist and social conservatism with political and economic right-libertarianism. The philosophy is most closely associated with Frank Meyer.
Political ideologies in the United States refers to the various ideologies and ideological demographics in the United States. Citizens in the U.S. generally classify themselves as adherent to positions along the political spectrum as either liberal, progressive, moderate, or conservative. Modern American liberalism aims at the preservation and extension of human, social and civil rights as well as the government guaranteed provision of positive rights. It combines social progressivism and to some extent, ordoliberalism and is highly similar to European social liberalism. American conservatism commonly refers to a combination of economic liberalism and libertarianism, and social conservatism. It aims at protecting the concepts of small government and individual liberty, while promoting traditional values on some social issues.
Libertarian conservatism or conservative libertarianism is a political philosophy and ideology that combines right-libertarian politics and conservative values. Libertarian conservatism advocates the greatest possible economic liberty and the least possible government regulation of social life, mirroring laissez-faire liberalism, but harnesses this to a belief in a more traditional and conservative social philosophy emphasizing authority and duty. Libertarian conservatism prioritizes liberty as its main emphasis, promoting free expression, freedom of choice and free market capitalism to achieve socially and culturally conservative ends as they reject liberal social engineering, or in the opposite way but not excluding the above, libertarian conservatism could be understood as promoting civil society through conservative institutions and authority - as family, fatherland, religion, education - in the quest of libertarian ends for less state power.
Economic liberalism is an economic system organized on individual lines, which means the greatest possible number of economic decisions are made by individuals or households rather than by collective institutions or organizations. It includes a spectrum of different economic policies, such as freedom of movement, but its basis is on strong support for a market economy and private property in the means of production. Although economic liberals can also be supportive of government regulation to a certain degree, they tend to oppose government intervention in the free market when it inhibits free trade and open competition.
Progressivism is the support for or advocacy of improvement of society by reform. As a philosophy, it is based on the idea of progress, which asserts that advancements in science, technology, economic development and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition.
Paternalistic conservatism is a strand in conservatism which reflects the belief that societies exist and develop organically and that members within them have obligations towards each other. There is particular emphasis on the paternalistic obligation of those who are privileged and wealthy to the poorer parts of society. Since it is consistent with principles such as organicism, hierarchy and duty, it can be seen an outgrowth of traditional conservatism. Paternal conservatives support neither the individual nor the state in principle, but are instead prepared to support either or recommend a balance between the two depending on what is most practical.
Conservatism in the United Kingdom is related to its counterparts in other Western nations, but has a distinct tradition and has encompassed a wide range of theories over the decades. The Conservative Party, which forms the mainstream centre-right party in Britain has developed many different internal factions and ideologies.
Directly after World War II saw many countries adopt policies of economic liberalization in order to stimulate their economies.
Except briefly in the 1860s-1870s, in the United States there has never been a national political party called the Conservative Party. All major American political parties support republicanism and the basic classical liberal ideals on which the country was founded in 1776, emphasizing liberty, the pursuit of happiness, the rule of law, the consent of the governed, opposition to aristocracy, and fear of corruption, coupled with equal rights. Political divisions inside the United States often seemed minor or trivial to Europeans, where the divide between the Left and the Right led to violent polarization, starting with the French Revolution.
Conservatism has deep roots in Hong Kong politics and society. As a political trend, it is often reflected in but not limited to the current pro-Beijing camp, one of the two major political forces in Hong Kong, as opposed to liberalism, a dominant feature of the pro-democracy camp. It has also become a political view taken by some localist political parties.
[...] there really is no example of small government among rich nations. The size of government grew across all the world's rich nations, particularly in the twentieth century, and the rate of economic growth only increased.