See also: laissez faire

A term coming from French, translating to 'let it be'. In English, the term laisser-faire generally is used to decribe econmic policy, and as the name implies, in a very 'hands off' manner, with little or no government regulation. The term was coined by the French physiocrates in the 18th century, just before and during the time Adam Smith was writing An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, considered his most famous work and the cornerstone of modern economics. The physiocrates believed strongly in droits naturelles, or natural law and that therefore buyers and sellers in a market would work out a natural balance of fair prices, and government regulation would only send prices out of whack with what they should be. As such, laisser-faire becomes an essential idea to capitalism and a market economy.

Note: laisser-faire uses the infinitive form of the verb 'to leave', or laisser. Sometimes, the phrase is conjugated to laissez-faire or laissez faire, which uses the vous form of the verb, translating roughly into 'you let it be'. As such, laisser-faire is in most circumstances the desired form.