Traditional political liberalism and free market liberalism were among the first to advocate for the concept of limited government, though politicians and economists disagree on the precise parameters of such a system. Limiting the scope of government to its most fundamental form, a limited government is an organisation whose primary function is to protect people and their property, and which levies only the minimum amount of taxes necessary to fund services related to these purposes, such as national defence or law enforcement. Other than that, it stays out of people’s – and businesses’ – personal and business affairs. Wages for employees, higher education, how individuals invest funds for retirement, and the number of miles per gallon a vehicle should achieve are not topics on which the committee is focused.
In another interpretation, a limited government is defined as one that exercises only the specifically named powers that its constitution assigns to it; it can also be distinguished by a separation of powers and a system of checks and balances, such as those found in the United States federal government. For example, the United States government is only supposed to exercise the specific powers that the Constitution grants it; its core functions include safeguarding individual liberty and protecting private property, among other things.
Government and financial resources are limited.
Taxes cover the cost of everything that the government does. A limited government, by limiting itself to the bare essentials of public services, has the tendency to impose a comparatively low tax burden on businesses and individual citizens. Households and businesses have more disposable income to spend, save, and invest as a result of lower taxes, which all contributes to the expansion of the economy. That does not rule out the existence of services that are traditionally provided by governments, such as roads; if there is a demand for them, the private sector will step in to fill the void.
Because of the limited scope of government, there are fewer rules that must be observed and enforced. The resources that would otherwise be used to comply with regulations can be put to better use in other areas, such as more productive endeavours or leisure activities. In the end, limited government is about having more individual freedom and the right to do whatever you want, as long as you don’t interfere with the rights of others.
Limited government has a long and illustrious history.
Limited government, in its modern conception, arose in Europe as a result of the classical liberal tradition that shaped the country. This tradition placed a strong emphasis on the rights of the individual and did away with the centuries-old concept of subjugation to the state. Some aspects of its practise have been exported to Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore; South Korea; Belgium; Switzerland; and other countries in various degrees.
The Magna Carta, which was drafted in the year 1215, is considered to be one of the earliest examples of a limited government. In the document, the English nobility was granted rights that they could exercise over the throne, thereby limiting the reach of the king’s authority in the country. However, only a small portion of what is now known as the United Kingdom was protected by the document.
With the adoption of the United States Constitution, written in 1787, the concept of limited government was further developed by requiring the election of legislators by the people. In addition, it divided the federal government into three branches: the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government. Both of these aspects have the effect of restricting the authority of the national government.
As an additional safeguard against abuse by the government, the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1791) lists several restrictions on the government’s power. Furthermore, by prohibiting the federal government from interfering in matters of personal choice such as speech or religion, these rights further restrict the federal government’s ability to interfere.
Federalism is defined as a system of limited government.
Federalism is one of the most important components of a limited government. As part of the federal government’s power structure, specific powers are delegated to the central government while others are delegated to local governments, resulting in an enhanced system of checks and balances. In the case of the United States, there is a central government in Washington, D.C., and local governments have been established in each of the country’s fifty states. Those powers that have not been delegated to the federal government are left to the individual states. Individuals benefit from this deference to state rights because local state governments are considered to be less difficult to control than the federal government, allowing them to exercise greater freedom. While each state is able to exercise local control, the federal government is in charge of the overall management of the country.
Government and the Economy in a Limited Government
Limited government favours few, if any, controls over a nation’s citizens as well as over its economy, and this is reflected in the term “limited government.” There are many concepts associated with laissez-faire economics, which was first articulated by Adam Smith in his 1776 book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, that are often associated with it. When applied to the economy, the most extreme form of limited government would be one that allows supply and demand to drive the economy, as advocated by Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” theory. In this case, the government would not intervene to alter or influence economic cycles or commercial activity.