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Self-Regulation and Human ProgressHow Society Gains When We Govern Less$
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Evan Osborne

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780804796446

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804796446.001.0001

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Fine Tuning in Light of Self-Regulation’s Deficiencies

(p.119) Chapter 6 Realignment
Self-Regulation and Human Progress

Evan Osborne

Stanford University Press

The later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed arguments from social reformers and artists and economists that the new, spontaneously evolving society was deficient. It worsened poverty, and it impoverished the soul. The tool of political regulation, exercised in the growing political power of the emerging organization known as the nation, was called in to polish the rough edges of the self-regulating society. As time went on, political regulation gradually came to be seen as the default, and self-regulation needed to be justified. The chapter particularly emphasizes the growth in such thinking among socialists and progressives in the United States and Western Europe. The catastrophe of the Great Depression, combined with admiration for a Soviet Union, Italy, and Germany, where political regulators said they were rationally designing a better society, meant that by the onset of World War II, this presumption was firmly in place throughout the West.

Keywords:   market failure, Industrial Revolution and backlash to it, Great Depression

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