Posted by: John Vandivier | October 9, 2013

Defining Conservative Economics

This article will define conservative economics.

Conservative economics is the same as free market economics, which is also called capitalism or free enterprise. Fiscal conservatism is one example of economic conservatism, but fiscal or budgetary policy comprises only a portion of a government’s ability to manipulate the economy. Conservative economics refers to both fiscal conservatism and free market monetary policy.

Somewhat confusing is the fact that conservative economic policy is not the only economic policy used by conservatives. This is because conservatism refers to a wide array of ideologies including social conservatism and others. A social conservative may refer to himself simply as a conservative, but if he advocates oil subsidies then does not support conservative economic policy. This is something to be very careful about because it happens all the time. Use of a liberal social policy in conjunction with conservative economics amounts to libertarianism.

Republicans are not always conservative and vice versa, but there is a correlation. Therefore this Fairfax County Republican Party page which includes a platform statement is useful for demonstrating what conservative economics often include for specific policies. The page states:

“The Committee adheres to the principles of the Republican Party including lower taxes, limited government, individual responsibility, strong families, free enterprise, and a strong national defense. All who believe in these principles are encouraged to become involved and assist in electing candidates who will work for these principles.”

Those are generally conservative policies, but note that some are socially conservative policies and others constitute conservative economic policies. For example, strong family policy is a social policy.

In my last article I identified 5 schools of economic policy which all essentially lead to conservative economics.


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