In the previous chapter it was shown that market forces as a means of allocating resources have been, and remain, a powerful dynamic in Western economies. However, some economists feel that government has now grown too large and has encroached too far on the prerogative of markets. Consequently, they would like to see the powers and influence of government severely curtailed. Free market economists base their arguments on a sincerely held belief that, by reducing the influence of government, the welfare of society will be increased. Other economists see a strong and far-reaching role for government (in a variety of forms) and argue that this is the way in which society’s welfare is best promoted. The branch of economics which deals with such ethical questions is commonly referred to as welfare economics.
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