Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Social policy Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1500 words

Social policy - Essay Example The individuals against whom those powers might be used are just those who infringe the general rules; they should not be identified in any other way. Since the point is to restrain the coercive activities of government, these general rules should not be framed so as to discriminate either against or in favour of any group of persons known in advance—against Jews or Blacks, for example. Laws against speeding lay down general rules of this kind: they apply equally to all motorists, and they do not single out particular individuals (say, BMW drivers) for special attention. Retrospective legislation is likely to violate the rule of law on this interpretation since its victims and beneficiaries usually can be identified in advance. 1 General rules of this kind that are announced in advance are a defence against the arbitrary actions of governments. They are necessary in Hayek’s view both for the proper working of the market and for the existence of liberty precisely because they allow individuals to plan their affairs secure in the knowledge that government powers will not be used deliberately to frustrate their efforts. Once governments go beyond the enforcement of certain general rules, their activities inevitably involve the coercion of particular individuals. Since general rules of the kind Hayek favours are not aimed to produce particular effects on particular people, their precise consequences cannot be known in advance. They provide a framework for the decisions and actions of individuals, but they do not determine what those decisions and actions will be. From this point of view there is no reason in principle why governments should not concern themselves with the regulation of economic affairs. B ut their interventions should take the form of a framework of laws within which markets can operate, rather than the direction of economic activity by a central authority. 2 Here and elsewhere, Hayek

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