Modern conservatism, capitalism, and the free market system are theories that explain and prescribe a way of governance for the economy and politics. In these theories, various factors are at play, such as the economic or socio-political system, the level of government involvement, and government size. Each theory or ideology has its strengths and weaknesses in addressing the needs of society. Based on the strengths and weaknesses of modern conservatism, capitalism and the free market system, countries like the United States could better maintain governance through modern conservatism or the free market system. The objective is to enable the country to maintain economic growth and international competitiveness.
This article examines modern conservatism, capitalism and the free market system in terms of their nature and characteristics, and how they relate to the size of government and government involvement in the United States.
What is modern conservatism?
Modern conservatism applies the principle of conservation and protection of the country from external influence. In modern conservatism, the government implements means to uphold the rule of law and protect religious beliefs, such as Christianity in the United States. Modern conservatism also tends to support republicanism. It also emphasizes protection of modern civilization from the risks of a totalitarian government.
Modern Conservatism Pros and Cons. The advantage of modern conservatism is that it ensures the survival of the country amid external pressure. Even if the international arena changes rapidly, the country maintains stability because of the rule of law and protection of traditions and beliefs. However, modern conservatism could also make the country fail. For example, modern conservatism does not fully support exploiting international opportunities.
What is capitalism?
Capitalism is a system that allows private ownership of the factors of production. These factors are land, capital and labor. Capitalism favors private individuals or groups over the government when it comes to owning land and businesses. Private individuals or groups are protected in their ownership of properties and businesses. However, capitalism allows significant government involvement or intervention. The government imposes regulations to influence or limit the activities of private entities in owning properties and businesses.
Capitalism Pros and Cons. The advantage of capitalism is that it allows private individuals and groups to own and control capital and land, and contribute to the economy. However, the disadvantage of capitalism is that it could fail in the absence of proper monitoring and regulation.
What is the free market system?
The free market is a system with no government involvement on prices, wages and trade. The free market system theoretically uses a laissez faire system of governance. In laissez faire, the government allows private entities to do whatever they want in business. The underlying principle is that the free market is capable of regulating itself through competition.
Free Market Pros and Cons. The advantage of the free market system is that it supports the freedom of private entities to engage in business, thereby maximizing economic activity. However, the disadvantage of this system is that it could fail due to monopolization, and illegal and unethical business practices.
Government Involvement in the United States
The system that matches the United States is somewhere between modern conservatism and the free market. More government involvement is needed to ensure the functioning of a capitalistic society like the United States. More government involvement is far from modern conservatism but near social conservatism. Modern conservatism tends to favor a smaller government, less regulation, and lower taxes. Social conservatism supports a larger government to impose more control and protection on society. More government involvement is far from the free market system because the free market requires no regulation. Less government involvement means less governmental control. In this regard, less government involvement would be nearest the free market, but farthest from modern conservatism.
Modern conservatism, capitalism, and the free market system theories have different effects on the government. The following are effects of the theories on the United States:
- Modern conservatism – The United States government can protect local businesses.
- Capitalism – The United States government mobilizes opportunities and strengths of the private sector.
- The free market system – The United States government supports extensive involvement of the private sector in the economy.
Best Ideology/Theory for the United States
It is best for the United States to take advantage of the strength of modern conservatism in protecting local businesses. It is also beneficial for America to take advantage of the strengths of the free market system to boost business and economic activity in the country.
A mixture of modern conservatism and the free market is needed. Based on the strengths and weaknesses of these theories, the United States government would be better if it uses a mixture of modern conservatism and the free market system. These theories can help the country maintain economic growth, development, and competitiveness in the global economy.
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