Part I. Changes in the economic role of the state in the twentieth century. The age of laissez-faire ; The economic role of the state between the World Wars ; The coming of the welfare state and reactions to it ; When economists thought they had found Nirvana: welfare policies ; When economists thought they had found Nirvana: stabilization policies ; Barbarians at the gates: challenges to Nirvana ; General rules to guide governments ; Giving markets more freedom ; A minimum economic role for the state?
Part II. Complexity and the rise of termites. Implications of excessive government withdrawal ; The growth of termites ; Termites in regulatory activities ; A brief inventory of government tools ; A closer look at regulations ; Modernity and growing termites in market activities ; The allocation role of modern governments ; Public goods, quasi-public goods, and intellectual property ; The state''s economic objectives and its institutions ; The state and the distribution of income ; Market operations and income distribution ; Poverty, inequality, and government policies ; Market manipulations and economic outcomes ; Termites in the stabilization role ; Modern government role and constitutional guidelines ; The quality of the public sector and the legal framework ; The quality of public institutions
Part III. Focusing on equity. Synergy between wealth creation and government role ; Recent concerns about inequality ; How should governments intervene? ; Intellectual property and income distribution ; Historical background on intellectual property rights ; Tax rates, tax structures, and tax avoidance ; Summing up past developments ; Why worry about income distribution?