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When competition is not viable, however, the danger of abuse of monopoly power is real. To constrain the abuse of power, policymakers need to ask three key questions: Is there a dedicated source of revenue related to the benefits conferred? Is there a governance structure that can ensure efficiency and a regulatory structure that can protect against abuses of monopoly power? Can production issues be separated from other public policy issues, including those related to externalities and safety, for example?

They have established and enforced laws and regulations that have made financial markets more stable and increased competition in all sectors. In many cases governments have acted as surrogate entrepreneurs, encouraging the establishment of firms to enter certain markets. Especially in export markets, governments have provided firms with strong incentives. (Some econometric evidence suggests that many of these interventions were quite effective. ) Page 16 The Conservative Reply Most economists today accept the proposition that markets alone may not succeed in ensuring economic efficiency and may fail to protect some segments of society from abject poverty.

In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, the United States recognized the need to create a national financial system and passed the National Banking Act, establishing the world's first supervisory banking agency. Although we now know that far more is needed to create financial stability, this legislation did much to reduce the financial instability that had characterized the economy up to that time. In later years the government created the Federal Reserve system as well as a series of financial intermediaries to spur markets that had been thin or nonexistent.

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