Laissez Faire Law and Legal Definition

Laissez-faire is a French phrase meaning "let pass" or "leave things alone", which is often used to refer to a hands-off approach to economic policies. Laissez-faire economic theories resist government intervention in setting economic policies through it laws, regulations, subsidies, tariffs, taxes, and other trade barriers.

Laissez-faire promotes capitalism and free trade philosophies. Laissez-faire philosophy was dominant in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th century, but in more modern times, pure capitalism has been accompanied by governmental intervention in the form of minimum wages, significant redistribution through tax and welfare programs, government ownership of businesses and regulation of market competition.