Small government


Small government

A Small government is one which minimizes its own activities. In its "perfect" form it would confine itself to foreign policy, defense and law and leave other activities to local government, companies and individuals.

It is a concept important to classical liberalism and libertarianism.

In Hong Kong

Hong Kong has followed small government, laissez-faire policies for decades.

In Denmark

The Prime Minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, wrote the book Fra socialstat til minimalstat (literally: From social state to minimal state) in 1993, in which he advocated an extensive reform of the Danish welfare system along classic liberal lines. In particular, he favors lower taxes and less government interference in corporate and individual matters etc. In 1993 he was awarded the Adam Smith award by the libertarian society Libertas, partly due to his having written Fra socialstat til minimalstat.

His popular government has sought to minimize government spending.

New Zealand

New Zealand has made many small government reforms.

In the United Kingdom

The idea of Small government was heavily promoted in the United Kingdom by the Conservative government of 1979 under the Premiership of Margaret Thatcher. There are differing views on the extent to which it was achieved.

An important part of the Thatcher government's policy was Privatization which was intended to reduce the role of the state in the economy. Supporters of Thatcherism would argue that this has been an unqualified success.

Opponents would argue that privatization has not led to small government at all. It has just led to the appearance of small government, while pushing up costs and harming public services. This argument is particularly heard in connection with the railways and the National Health Service.

In the 20th century, Small government was generally associated with the Conservative Party and Big government with the Labour Party. In the 21st century, both parties compete to "do more with less".

While governments try to interfere less with the economy they seem driven to interfere more with 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.

In the United States

Small government has also been campaigned for in the U.S., but has been somewhat less successful. It is most commonly associated with the Libertarian party, who is not represented in America's two-party system.

ee also

* Big government
* Limited government


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • government — noun 1 people in control of a country ADJECTIVE ▪ central, federal, local, national, provincial, regional, state ▪ Conservative, Democratic …   Collocations dictionary

  • Government procurement in the United States — is based on many of the same principles as commercial contracting, but is subject to special laws and regulation as described below. Persons entering into commercial contracts are pretty much free to do anything that they can agree on. Each… …   Wikipedia

  • Small Business Administration — Seal of the SBA …   Wikipedia

  • Government-business relations in Japan — Government business relations are conducted in many ways and through numerous channels in Japan. The most important conduits in the postwar period are the economic ministries: the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and… …   Wikipedia

  • Government House, Canberra — Government House, Canberra, commonly known as Yarralumla, is the official residence of the Governor General of Australia, located in the suburb of Yarralumla, Canberra.The house is set in 54 hectares of parkland. The suburb of Yarralumla, which… …   Wikipedia

  • small arm — small armed, adj. Usually, small arms. a firearm designed to be held in one or both hands while being fired: in the U.S. the term is applied to weapons of a caliber of up to one in. (2.5 cm). [1680 90] * * * ▪ military technology Introduction… …   Universalium

  • Government House, Sydney — Government House is located in Sydney just south of the Sydney Opera House, and overlooks Sydney Harbour. It was the official residence and remains the official reception space of the Governor of New South Wales, Australia.Early Government Houses …   Wikipedia

  • Government House, Adelaide — Government House, located in Adelaide, is the official residence of the Governor of South Australia.When Lieutenant Colonel George Gawler replaced John Hindmarsh in 1838, he abandoned plans for a permanent house of timber and gave directions for… …   Wikipedia

  • Small arms proliferation — is a term used by organizations and individuals advocating the control of small arms and their trade; the term has no precise definition. Users of the term have notably included Kofi Annan, ex Secretary General of the United Nations. Some… …   Wikipedia

  • Small entity status — in United States patent law allows small businesses, independent inventors, nonprofit organizations to file a patent application and maintain an issued patent for a reduced fee mdash;a 50% reduction.Under 13 CFR 121.802(a), an entity qualifies as …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.