What is the role of the government in economics?

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Perhaps a better question is what the role of government in the economy *should* be.  After all, there are governments around the world and across time that have taken almost every conceivable role in the economy.  Therefore, there is no way to say what the role of the government is...

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Perhaps a better question is what the role of government in the economy *should* be.  After all, there are governments around the world and across time that have taken almost every conceivable role in the economy.  Therefore, there is no way to say what the role of the government is for every country and every time.

As for what the role should be, there is a great deal of dispute on this issue.  Most economists think that the government should not be heavily involved in the economy.  They think that the free market should be left to itself.  However, there is a rising trend toward "state capitalism" in which the state does things like owning companies and setting economic priorities.  With the recent financial crisis in the West, this sort of attitude is taking hold to a greater degree than it once did.

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