The Myth of 19th-Century Laissez-Faire: Who Benefits Today?


mhstahl's picture

Great selection, Eric! The 19th century is often presented as some sort of steam-engine libertopia, yet even the slightest scrutiny reveals forthright collusion between government and business that would be shocking in the modern era where politicians pretend to "regulate" business-despite raking in vast sums from industry lobbyists and  PAC's.

That doesn't make for a happy utilitarian argument about free-markets and prosperity, so I often see history perverted to create an illusion of the industrial revolution driven by "rugged individualism" and hard work.  Not that there were not honest entrepreneurs, there were just as there are today, but the era was truly ugly in many respects and certainly contained no "free market."

Thanks for posting the article.