The United States was founded on the principles of a limited government. It is is a strong example of a country with a functioning with it. Pilgrims came to the United States in 1620 to worship and live freely. After a long time of restrictions, the U.S. forefathers established a government that allows freedoms. Businesses and individuals have many choices about what they can and cannot do.
Definitions of Limited Government
There are a few interpretations of what exactly a limited government means. One interpretation of limited government is it’s related to liberalism. It protects people and their property. The federal government collects enough taxes to fund services that serve that purpose. It funds law enforcement or a defense budget since those organizations protect people and their property. This type of does not burden itself by controlling regulations such as: employee wages, higher education, or how an individual saved for retirement.
Another meaning of the term is that a limited government does what is laid out in a country’s constitution. It has a separation of powers and a checks and balances system between government entities. The U.S. federal government is only allowed to do the actions outlined in the Constitution. Its main responsibilities are to protect individual rights and private property. A limited government is funded by taxes. However, it does not fund many public service programs. Taxes are generally lower because of this. This helps grow the economy since an individual by spends his/her disposable income. If citizens demand a certain product or service, the private sector furnishes it.
The world has a long history of limited governments. The Magna Carta was created in 1215. This document limited the power of the English king. It gave the country’s nobility power over the throne. The United States Constitution was drafted in 1787. It expanded on the ideas presented in the Magna Carta. The Constitution stated legislators must be elected by the people. It also broke up the government into three distinct branches: legislative, judicial, and executive. The Constitution gives limited power to the government. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments, also regulates the government. It forbids the U.S. federal government from ever interfering in the rights of individual choices like speech and religion.
One of the most important aspects of limited government is federalism. A centralized government is allowed some rights and a local government is allowed others. In the US, any powers the federal government does not have goes to the states. An individual then has more rights in the long run since it is easier to control a local government over a federal one. States have local control, and the federal government oversees the entire country.
A limited government functions best when it does not place heavy restrictions on the economy. Those in favor of it believe the economy grows fast without regulations. They believe government influenced markets are expensive. The high prices create problems with the global distribution of goods. Those opposed to limited government believe the government should regulate the economy so it doesn’t take a catastrophic dip.
Capitalism thrives under a limited government because it is a free market economy. Businesses and individuals interact and transact voluntarily. The government does not force an individual to buy only one type of good or work with a particular business. Personal choice pushes competition and innovation. Economic laws can be variable in each limited government. One may not have created antitrust laws that protect businesses from monopolies and cartels. Another may give tax incentives for businesses with more sustainable practices.
A limited government functions well in places where private property rights and contracts are valued. People cooperate more voluntarily with each other and businesses. Countries like: Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Belgium, Switzerland, and others incorporate principles of limited government into their governments. Businesses and individuals have rights the federal government can not take away in a limited government.