Less Government is Good Government? Deregulation as an Undermining Principle of Financial Markets

  • Tim Engartner


Since liberalization became the dominant global narrative the stock response to market shortcomings has been to “slim down” the state and deregulate. In most countries the slogan of “less government is good government” has become a constitutive feature of economic policy since the 1980s. Markets lie at the heart of every successful economy, and despite not necessarily working well on their own, the economic policy of deregulation has been one of the most persistent currents in the global economy. Based as it is on classical liberalism and – at least in its origins and leanings – neoclassical theory, deregulation aims to minimize the influence of the state. But in the context of the current financial and economic meltdown – the worst economic dislocation since the Great Crash of 1929-32 – “downsizing” the state causes growing turmoil. Global networking has made financial markets much more volatile and therefore much more susceptible to crisis.