The Free Market is not free. It is governed by a set of staunch rules. Free Markets are not free of rules. Rules define them. Governments set up, organize, and maintain the free market. The free market is not an eternal perfect concept ordained by the universe. It is an artificial construct, created for the good of everyone. The rules in place ideally are there to protect individuals from people, corporations, conglomerates, and interests who wish to unfairly exploit or coerce the individuals. These rules are for our own good!
1. There are rules governing what constitutes property that can be traded and owned.
2. There are rules governing the terms of property ownership, copyright, and transfer.
3. There are rules governing the conditions that goods and services can be traded under.
4. There are rules governing what is a public resource that must be used for the good of all people, and what is private and able to be exploited for individual usage.
5. There are rules governing how goods can be paid for, and what constitutes a currency.
There are, of course, others in addition to these basic summaries. The point is this: The so-called Free Market must be governed by rules. It cannot be anarchy. Anarchy always results in Authoritarian Dictatorship. It is too unstable and volatile. Anarchy is a “high energy state”. High Energy states seek to become low energy states. In nature we see this as a ball rolling down a hill, or a lightning strike. Dictatorship is significantly more stable than Anarchy. Indeed: even a Democratic Republic is a higher energy state than dictatorship. Energy can be added to the system and cause change, or course. Dictatorship can breed enough discontent to create Anarchy or a Democratic Republic. And Anarchy will soon coalesce into a new dictatorship, or perhaps an oligarchy or free society.
For the survival of a free society of any form, artificial constructs like socio-economics, religion, social stratification, education, etc must be a fair game, if all humans in a society are forced to play it. The rules cannot be simply re-written with the interests of those currently in power. They must be absolutely fair and change only insofar as they must to remain relevant. This, of course, is the basis of a living breathing constitution. However, Economic Policies would be better off if they were created with the best interests of the majority in mind. Reagan‘s ridiculous response to communism caused him to excise all beneficial socialism in favor of a more Ayn Rand-style system. This imbalanced society and crippled our economic system through McCarthian sophistry. Reagan’s policies bolstered under the Bushes leveraged the influence of Wall Street when it came to lobbying economic policy; the destruction of organized labor; the serf-level minimum wage; and the deregulation, monopolization and privatization of industries. These merely create a winner-take-all society that is a pale reflection of the Egalitarian American Economic Powerhouse before the 1980’s.
“The federal government that essentially created the Great American Middle Class – from the New Deal policies of the 1930s through other reforms of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, from Social Security to Wall Street regulation to labor rights to the GI Bill to the Interstate Highway System to the space program’s technological advances to Medicare and Medicaid to the minimum wage to civil rights. Many Americans don’t like to admit it — they prefer to think of their families as reaching the middle class without government help — but the reality is that the Great American Middle Class was a phenomenon made possible by the intervention of the federal government beginning with Franklin Roosevelt and continuing into the 1970s.” -Robert Parry, AP. http://consortiumnews.com/2013/10/17/the-abject-failure-of-reaganomics/
Why must this game be fair? Because this is the best way to fix the biggest problems in the world today. All Men are Created Equal. All Humans have equal worth. Those who are better at playing a fair game should be rewarded for their skill. Those who win a tilted game are merely cheaters.
Truth, Liberty, and Equality are the basis of Justice. Equality is the basis of Liberty; there can be no freedom if there is no Equality. Slavery is a form of inequality, and many inequalities become slavery. Without Justice, there can be no Liberty. Social Justice is the basis of Freedom. If we truly wish to live in a Free Country, then we must live in a country of Equals. The only way to ensure Equality is through Fairness and Justice.
Side note: every game of sufficient complexity with rules requires a teaching of the rules to new players. For a relatively simple game like chess, teaching the game only takes a few hours. For a complex game like the world economy and business, the explanation takes a couple of years. This explanation is the basis of public education.
There is no one who can intelligently believe that the current socio-economic system is not broken. We may disagree on how to fix the problems at hand, or even what necessarily caused the problems, but we all agree that it is broken. Things will not fix themselves, on their own volition. Entropy does not simply apply to physics. The friction of a system in use ultimately causes it to break down, if it is not maintained. Systems tend toward disorder. Laissez faire economics do not fix themselves. Instead, problems snowball until they become a catastrophe. The Economy must be guided. The Game must be governed to prevent cheating. The Game must be looked after to make sure that it does not break down.
Here are the biggest problems, or broken areas in the game of the world today:
1. Treatable Disease, and adequate medical care.
2. Access to Healthful Nutritious Food and Clean Drinking Water.
3. Protection from the elements in the form of shelter and clothing.
4. Lack of Education.
5. Clean Air, and a non-toxic livable environment.
These are the problems facing the world at large. These problems reveal exactly where the game is flawed and the rules are being either bent, broken, or wrongfully changed.
The reality is that we can fix the game. We can make it fair. We can ensure Liberty and Justice for All. It simply requires that we all take responsibility for the problems and do what we can to fix them. It requires not being afraid of the Government. It requires faith in our fellow man. It requires trust in the good intentions of good people. It requires that we hold ourselves to standards of character and taste. It requires that we organize and become efficient. It requires a belief in Truth, Justice, Liberty, and Equality. It requires faith in society and human potential. It requires Faith. It requires Hope. It requires Love. It requires Vision.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We need humanity. We need Compassion. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.
We can do it. We can create this reality. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world. Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason. We the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. In the name of Progress, let us all unite!
P.S. Yes, that last paragraph is a cut and altered form of the final speech in “The Great Dictator.”