I recently received a Twitter tweet from someone who noticed that, within my profile, I mentioned being an “advocate of a Free-Market Economy.”
His tweet read…
“I support a free market as long as it’s fair.”
Then, indeed, he supports a free market. Because, a free market, by the very nature of the thing, is always fair. A free market simply means that individuals and companies are free to trade (or not trade) with one another. Nothing more; nothing less. The parties concerned trade money in exchange for products or services because they believe they are better off by doing so.
So, I replied, “A true free market is always fair. It’s only when government passes laws and regulations that favor some over others that it’s unfair.”
We have never had a truly Free-Market Economy. And, what we have in America today bears strikingly little resemblance to this concept at all. In a true Free-Market Economy, government’s legitimate function is simply to protect us from force and fraud, thus creating an environment where people are free to pursue their own happiness both in business and personally. The result is overall prosperity where the standard of living rises for the whole.
Posts on this topic tend to receive lots of responses from people who either appear to be anti-Free Market or — like my new Twitter connection — believe in mixing Free-Market with the benevolent (cough) control of government. But, I don’t think they are anti-Free Market. I think they equate the Free Market with Corporatism, which is when big corporations provide campaign donations in exchange for legislation that gives them an advantage over others.
That, of course, is very unfair.
I know, life itself is unfair. And, much of that we cannot help. However, if we understand it, we can keep the market fair. How? Simply vote out of office those legislators who sell favors to special interests.
Corporatism = Not Fair. Free Market = Fair.