Rejecting both laissez-faire and centrally enforced collectivization, Lippmann described the salutory economic functions of a government with a mandate that rested on the consent of a middle-class constituency, which he termed a "free collectivism." Capitalism, in his view, had become too complex to be regulated by private initiative, and it became the function of government to ensure a compensatory redistribution of income and property in order to make its citizens comfortably secure.
Lippmann recognized that market regulation needed to be safeguarded from political demagoguery and the tyranny of the majority. "The Method of Freedom "calls for the formation of an informed and competent managerial class to direct economic policy within the bounds of legislative consent. Lippmann's effort to balance the competing claims of capitalism and democracy anticipated the New Deal achievements of the 1930s and influenced a generation of American statesmen in their understanding of what constituted a good society. "The Method of Freedom "is a work of enduring interest