Monday, September 16, 2013

The myth of the free market

Robert Reich comments on this myth here. Regressives think of the free market as a metaphysical given, as if it existed by preordination, a gift from God on high that is of the very nature of things. To see its inequities or try to change them is literal anathema and evil. If one cannot make a living in the free market then it's their own damned fault and the deserve what they get. Same of course with the rich. It's the way of nature if not of God, and its survival of the fittest and all that. 

Not so says Reich, and anyone else with at least half a brain. It's a man-made construct of rules on the terms and conditions of trade, aka an economic system. So the pertinent question then becomes what kind of man-made economic system do we want to live by? One that provides equal opportunity but not outcome? One that fairly taxes everyone so that they pay proportionally to the public resources they use in the conduct of their lives and businesses? And who should make these rules and for whom? Since we have a political democracy why not an economic democracy as well, where workers make decisions and have an ownership piece of the pie?

It is not 'natural' for the rich to get all the benefit while the rest of us labor for less than living wages to line their pockets. It's a system that was created that way by the rich and powerful for that very reason. And it's high time we the people took it back and created it to work for everyone.

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