America points to its free enterprise system as a model for other nations. The country's economic success seems to validate the view that the economy
operates best when government leaves businesses and individuals to succeed -- or fail -- on their own merits in open, competitive markets. But exactly how "free" is business in America's free enterprise system? The answer is, "not completely." A complex web of government regulations shape many aspects of business operations. Every year, the government produces thousands of pages of new regulations, often spelling out in painstaking detail exactly what businesses can and cannot do.
The American approach to government regulation is far from settled, however. In recent years, regulations have grown tighter in some areas and been relaxed in others. Indeed, one enduring theme of recent American economic history has been a continuous debate about when, and how extensively, government should intervene in business affairs.
Next Article: Laissez-faire Versus Government Intervention
This article is adapted from the book "Outline of the U.S. Economy" by Conte and Carr and has been adapted with permission from the U.S. Department of State.