Public Health regulation of
property and the professions
Chapter 7 focused on the limits on government power to protect personal freedoms: autonomy, privacy, bodily integrity, and liberty. Individuals, however, do not want only personal freedom, but also economic liberty. They claim the liberty to own and use private property, run businesses, enter into contracts, and pursue trades, livelihoods, or professions.
Market capitalism and the profit incentive are salient values in modern America. Citizens sometimes see government as an obstacle to achieving their financial dreams. They assert a right to freedom from government bureaucracy, taxation, and burdensome regulation. Market economists believe that regulation, if desirable at all, should redress market failures rather than restrain free enterprise.
Market economists often claim that historical precedent supports the notion of minimal governmental intervention in the economy, asserting that the free enterprise system was the prevailing value in early America. William J. Novak (1993, 1, 2), a history professor at the University of Chicago, disputes this claim:
The relationship of law, state, and economy in America has been the center of legal-historical research for almost 50 years now. But basic assumptions about state regulation and economics have remained surprisingly static. First, regulation and the economy are seen as diametrical opposites. Regulation is a contrived and public interference in a field of invisible economic