Discuss what you think of government involvement in the marketplace.  Should we have government intervention?  How far should government go in being provider / regulator?  Does your opinion...

Discuss what you think of government involvement in the marketplace.  Should we have government intervention?  How far should government go in being provider / regulator?  Does your opinion change when you consider tough vs plentiful economic times?  What about the winners and losers? Does a free marketplace fit with your personal ideas of what democracy should mean for the citizens of our country?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question shows us why it is so hard to get people to agree politically.  We would almost all agree that government should be involved in the marketplace to some degree.  We would all say that it should not intervene too much and it should not intervene too little.  The problem is that there is no way to quantify how much government intervention is too much and how much is too little.  Therefore, we all say that we agree that there should be some government intervention, but we cannot agree on what government interventions are acceptable.

A free marketplace definitely fits with my definition of democracy.  Economic freedom is important just as things like personal freedom are.  I ought to be able to have the right to believe what I want and to say what I want in a democracy, but I also ought to have the right to do what I want with my money and my property.  In other words, the government should not generally have the right to tell me what to do or not to do with my property since that infringes on my right to (in the words of the Fifth Amendment) “life, liberty, or property.”

But this does not mean that the government should completely stay out of the marketplace.  There will be bad economic times when it might make sense for the government to step in.  For example, if millions of people are going to lose their homes because the economy goes bad and they can’t pay their mortgages, the government should intervene.  If the unemployment rate goes sky high, it might be a good idea for the government to step in and create jobs as it did during the New Deal.

But this returns us to our original problem.  How much should the government regulate and/or provide?  My own view is that it should provide important things that cannot be provided by the private sector.  My own view is that it should regulate to prevent serious harm from coming to people or to the community.  But saying this does not solve the problem.  One person might think that serious harm comes to the community when green space is lost in a city while another might think that is a minor thing and that the government should not regulate to preserve the green space.  It is simply not possible to get everyone to agree on when the government should intervene.  It is also not possible to have a clear discussion of the topic because we cannot make rules that would cover every (or even most) of the possible arguments that would arise over this topic.