Embrace morality of free market economy
The free market is the moral option when it comes to economic systems. This is something you don’t hear everyday, especially in progressive academia. But what is it about the free market that makes it superior to other potential economic models? Are capitalists truly greedy pigs, or are they self-interested humans who increase our prosperity? What about entrepreneurs who employ themselves? The key to understanding the free market is that it is synonymous with free choice and a free society. A truly free market has characteristics of peace and prosperity: competing currencies, innovation, business competition, spontaneous order and the non-aggression principle. These realities of liberty foster an environment of equal opportunity.
Many agree free trade has been crucial in lifting millions out of poverty, and they should equally recognize the role of competing currencies in this prosperity. Competing currencies enable a diverse economic environment stronger than a strictly singular fiat currency-based system. When an individual in the marketplace has the ability to purchase goods and services with tangible wealth such as gold, a new age currency like Bitcoin or simply the U.S. Dollar, that individual has greater freedom of choice in his or her exchange. I believe there is a relationship between several currency options and prosperity for individuals. For example, the exclusion of third-party intervention in one-on-one Bitcoin exchanges fosters a financial trade with new potential for prosperity. Furthermore, the existence of Bitcoin is thanks to market prosperity spurred by Internet freedom. When progressives jump to regulate Bitcoin, it raises questions about their motives.
The desire to regulate Bitcoin is not the only free market characteristic many progressives wish to suppress. As of late, Democrats and Republicans have attempted to shut down two of the greatest marketplace achievements in recent history: the ride-sharing application Uber and the ultra-efficient Tesla Motors.
Uber uses geographic pinpoints on your smartphone to connect you with local drivers for cheaper than a cab. Uber drivers use quality vehicles and treat their customers well — sometimes providing you with mints and water as they ask about your day. The driver and the passenger must rate each other, and you never exchange currency by hand because it is all done through your phone straight to the company. As local cab monopolies experienced plummeting sales, the government began to send Uber cease and desist orders. Such mandates are antithetical to a free market because they illustrate how governmental intervention suppresses innovation and the potential prosperity of Uber drivers who are pursuing the American dream. Not to mention, they are undermining the consumer by taking away the cheaper option. This cronyism favors the government-endorsed cabbies who would otherwise respond to the profit and loss signals of the free market and, therefore, innovate their own business models. As for Tesla Motors, the government and preexisting automotive giants have been attempting to regulate the market exchanges between Tesla Motors and consumers. These progressive policies highlight the cronyism of both parties, which undermines our economic and civil liberties.
In a truly free market, it is rare that one’s liberty and prosperity are undermined. The basis of free trade is that both parties involved experience a positive exchange. Renowned economist Milton Friedman once recognized this when he noted, “The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.” Friedman graduated from Rutgers with a specialization in mathematics and economics, yet his is a name rarely touted on our politically active campus. Friedman’s appreciation for a free market connects the prosperity of capitalism with the peaceful nature of free trade. Any Libertarian will tell you that a free society is founded on the non-aggression principle. This ethical stance is the principle that aggression is illegitimate and that coercion is antithetical to a free society. Therefore, one must act peacefully to prosper.
It is the reality of liberty that makes a free market not just an ideal economic system, but also one that is practical. The ability of individuals to peacefully exercise their natural spontaneous order in a free society enables the marketplace to grow without sacrificing individual’s civil liberties. It is the potential of such circumstances that brings people from across the globe to the free world. Liberty is a truly a whole, not separated or confined as many want to define it.
Matthew Boyer is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science. He is the president of the Rutgers Young Americans for Liberty Chapter. His column, “Legalizing Life,” runs on alternate Wednesdays.