Document Type


Publication Date



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Social Work


The one thing new laissez faire rhetoric seldom does is find any

place for broader visions of civil society, and in particular,

nonprofit organizations, voluntary action, or philanthropy which

have been such important parts of the American past.

Laissez faire visions of the future being promoted today

are dangerously limited in at least one important respect: They

omit any reference to nonprofit organizations, voluntary action or

philanthropy (along with sustaining reference groups like family

and support and friendship groups) as operative parts of the

future. Instead, they offer an altogether familiar bi-polar social

universe from the past composed of “the state” (a.k.a. “big

government”) and “the individual” (which appears to include such

fictive “individuals” as Fortune 500 corporations). In some

alternate versions, this new laissez-faire may also find a place for

“state and local government” in contast to the “big” (that is,

federal) government.