Role Of Government Essay

944 words - 4 pages

Different perspectives and interpretations of history will always bring about contrasting views on how something should work. The government’s role within a capitalist economy is debated by Milton Friedman and Mark Martinez, who each have different ideas on the level of involvement the government should play within this type of economy. Friedman believes the government’s role in a capitalist economy should be limited to the point of only acting as an “umpire” to the market (1970). Martinez, on the other hand, maintains that the essence of a capitalist economy is derived from the government’s active participation with the market (2009).
In Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom, he ...view middle of the document...

In his opinion, if a citizen didn’t care for how the local government was being manipulated, they could move and be content under a different jurisdiction. In a portion of his book, Capitalism and Freedom, it is mentioned how collectivist economic arrangements have not only suppressed individual freedom but also reversed the country’s economic policy, as demonstrated by England with the “control of engagements” order (1970:68). This order was short lived but was enacted to centralize the allocation of citizens to specific occupations. Friedman believed through dispersion of government power and posing government limitations that a society would steer away from collectivism and ultimately away from socialism.
In the same capitalist economy mindset, Mark Martinez explains through his book, The Myth of the Free Market a different perception on what the government’s role should be. In his opinion, a capitalist economy cannot exist without the active participation of the government within the market. State involvement provides infrastructure, public education, civil rights, security, and stability (2009). These are things that enable a capitalist society to appropriately function and be successful. Martinez supports these ideas through historical evidence of the government’s positive role in shaping the economy in the United States. One example he makes a specific reference to is how “quickly opportunities grew for women and people of color in the latter half of the twentieth century as a result of state intervention” (2009:7). Through the implementation of civil rights by government mandate the participating citizens in the United States grew tremendously to include these demographics into society. Friedman might argue the downside, that this may be the beginnings of collectivism, but Martinez points out that when collectivizing states between 1947 and 1979 led to growing and equitable incomes and economic growth after World War II (2009).
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