Laissez-faire Definition

lĕsā fâr, lāzā
The policy or practice of letting people act without interference or direction; noninterference; specif., the policy of letting the owners of industry and business fix the rules of competition, the conditions of labor, etc. as they please, without governmental regulation or control.
Webster's New World
Noninterference in the affairs of others.
American Heritage
A policy of non-interference by authority in any competitive process.
Alternative form of laissez faire.

(economics, politics) Practicing or representing governmental noninterference, or minimal interference, especially in economic affairs; pertaining to free-market capitalism.

I think the city should take a laissez faire approach to this; getting involved would only make things worse.
(economics, politics) Advocating such noninterference.
The Senator claims to be laissez faire, but he voted in favor of the subsidies.
(economics) Resulting from such noninterference.
The price ceiling was well below the laissez faire price that demand would have supported, so there were always shortages.
(of a person) Avoiding interference in other people's affairs; choosing to live and let live.
A doctrine that says government involvement in business and financial affairs should occur only at a very minimal level. It is French for “let them do as they please.” Adam Smith originated this theory in 1776, in his book The Wealth of Nations. Advocates of a laissez-faire policy believe that businesses should be able to pursue all opportunities as they see fit, and that the marketplace should act as an invisible hand in order to create the maximum good for everyone. Although this theory was popular during the 19th century, and businesses in the United States and Great Britain generally were able to do as they wished, the laissez-faire philosophy was severely restrained in the United States in the 20th century when the federal government broke up several large monopolies. Later, the Great Depression further changed the thinking of government officials, who felt compelled to take action to cope with severe unemployment.
Webster's New World Finance

Origin of Laissez-faire

  • French laissez second person pl. imperative of laisser to let, allow faire to do

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From French laissez faire (“leave it be", literally "let do”)

    From Wiktionary

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