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The term dirigisme is derived from the French word diriger (“to direct”), which signifies the control of economic activity by the state.[1]

Encyclopedia Britannica states concerning dirigisme:

dirigisme, an approach to economic development emphasizing the positive role of state intervention. The term dirigisme is derived from the French word diriger (“to direct”), which signifies the control of economic activity by the state. Preventing market failure was the basic rationale of this approach. Dirigisme was introduced in France following World War II to promote industrialization and protect against foreign competition, and it was subsequently mimicked in East Asia. Dirigiste policies often include centralized economic planning, directing investment, controlling wages and prices, and supervising labour markets. Although countries that adopted dirigiste policies have experienced some economic success, dirigisme has been challenged...

Many attribute the collapse of dirigisme to the increased complexities of a highly competitive and internationalized economy as strategic planning capacities of state technocrats became severely limited. Dirigisme flourished in the 1950s and 1960s in France, but sour economic results, uncompetitive enterprises, and declining sectors forced the government to largely renounce dirigisme in the 1980s. Dirigisme was also largely blamed for the bursting of the Asian bubble economy in the late 1990s. Financial crisis and recession in Japan was seen to have been a result of its failure to change long-established institutional patterns of behaviour. In South Korea, state activism in the market economy was considered as crony capitalism. Although dirigisme has undoubtedly given way to more market-centred political economy in these countries, the state is still arguably active in various ways. [2]

DBPedia states about dirigisme:

Dirigisme or dirigism (from French diriger 'to direct') is an economic doctrine in which the state plays a strong directive (policies) role contrary to a merely regulatory interventionist role over a market economy. As an economic doctrine, dirigisme is the opposite of laissez-faire, stressing a positive role for state intervention in curbing productive inefficiencies and market failures. Dirigiste policies often include indicative planning, state-directed investment, and the use of market instruments (taxes and subsidies) to incentivize market entities to fulfill state economic objectives. The term emerged in the post-World War II era to describe the economic policies of France which included substantial state-directed investment, the use of indicative economic planning to supplement the market mechanism and the establishment of state enterprises in strategic domestic sectors. It coincided with both the period of substantial economic and demographic growth, known as the Trente Glorieuses which followed the war, and the slowdown beginning with the 1973 oil crisis. The term has subsequently been used to classify other economies that pursued similar policies, such as Japan, the East Asian tiger economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and the Republic of China (ROC), and more recently the economy of the People's Republic of China (PRC) after the Chinese economic reform. Most modern economies can be characterized as dirigiste to some degree as the state may exercise directive action by performing or subsidizing research and development of new technologies through government procurement (especially military) or through state-run research institutes.[3]

Encyclopedia.com declares about dirigisme:

Most modern economies operate to some degree dirigistically. Government regulation and control are a significant part of most economies throughout the world today. But a significant amount of evidence has been amassed that demonstrates that economic freedom rather than government control is positively correlated with economic growth (Gwartney and Lawson 2006). In this work motivated by Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and Free to Choose (1980), economic freedom in a country is determined on the basis of an analysis of the security of private property and the freedom of contract, the tax burden, the inflation rate, the extent of regulation, and the prevailing policies toward foreign trade. When property rights are weak, taxes are high, inflation is ramped, regulation is extensive, and protectionism rather than free trade defines the policy space, the economic freedom score will be low...

A key issue to remember in debating the role of government in an economic system is to distinguish between scale and scope. Much of the debate over “big government” focuses on the issue of scale—government spending as a percentage of gross domestic product. But in debating the impact of dirigisme, it may be more appropriate to focus on the issue of scope—the extent of activities the public sector attempts to control in economic decision making. A “big government” that permits a wide range of economic freedom would be less cumbersome on economic life than a “small government” that tries to control prices in every sector. The lack of economic freedom, not the size of government, causes the decline in economic growth in nations.[4]

Big government

See also: Big government

Big Government refers to a government that is excessively influential in the everyday lives of citizens, often due to its far-reaching agencies.

Ronald Reagan advocated a position that the government was too big, and smaller government would serve the people better in contrast to the left wing approach which has an emphasis on big government. Conservatives, as well as libertarians, believe in smaller and more effective government, as well as the principles of self-governance and subsidiarity. A strong correlation exists between big government and low economic growth,[5] and big government is costly to citizens.[6]

Pat Buchanan wrote: "The mammoth government we have today is a result of politicians rushing to solve "crises" by creating and empowering new federal agencies."

Justice James Ho of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals observed the connection between big government, big money, and political polarization: "If you don't like big money in politics, then you should oppose big government in our lives. Because the former is a necessary consequence of the latter ... When government grows larger, when regulators pick more and more economic winners and losers, participation in the political process ceases to be merely a citizen's prerogative — it becomes a human necessity."[7]


Joseph Stalin's atheistic and authoritarian regime killed tens of millions of people.

See: Atheism and mass murder

See also: Authoritarianism and Atheism and authoritarianism and Secular left

Authoritarianism is an ideology which affirms that individual rights and liberties do not matter and that the decisions of how society should be run should be left to a single dictator or a small group of elites. Authoritarianism comes in three main forms, although there could be others.

Some of the characteristics of authoritarianism include:

  • A centralized government which attempts to gather all power to itself - including economic control of an economy. See also: Communism
  • Intolerance for dissent from official government positions.
  • Large bureaucracies which become self-perpetuating, existing for their own sake rather than that of the people.
  • Closed-door political decisions reached in secret.
  • High levels of corruption.


  • Dirigisme or laissez-faire? : Catching-up strategies in the global system after the demise of Soviet-style command economies by Jacques Hersh & Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt, Publisher: Aalborg, 2006

See also

External links


  1. Dirigisme
  2. Dirigisme
  3. Dirigisme, DBPedia
  4. Dirigisme, Encyclopedia.com
  5. Carr, Douglas (May 29, 2019). Size matters: The case for small government. The Hill. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  6. Michel, Adam (June 18, 2019). Big government costs the little guy. The Hill. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  7. Multiple references: