Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Many criticisms of the market economy is really lack of belief in freedom itself.

Below is an excerpt from Milton Freedman's editorial, "The New Liberal's Creed: Individual Freedom, Preserving Dissent Are Ultimate Goals," in the Wall Street Journal, May 18, 1961. Think about this especially when you hear arguments about why school choice won't work.
On the Free Market

What most people really object to when they object to a free market is that it is so hard for them to shape it to their own will. The market gives people what the people want instead of what other people think they ought to want. At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really lack of belief in freedom itself. (my emphasis)

The essence of political freedom is the absence of coercion of one man by his fellow men. The fundamental danger to political freedom is the concentration of power. The existence of a large measure of power in the hands of a relatively few individuals enables them to use it to coerce their fellow men. Preservation of freedom requires either the elimination of power where that is possible, or its dispersal where it cannot be eliminated.

It essentially requires a system of checks and balances, like that explicitly incorporated in our Constitution. . . .

The person who buys bread doesn't know whether the wheat from which it was made was grown by a pleader of the Fifth Amendment or a McCarthyite, by person whose skin is black or whose skin is white. The market is an impersonal mechanism that separates economic activities of individual from their personal characteristics. It enables people to cooperate in the economic realm regardless of any differences of opinion or views or attitudes they may have in other areas.

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