by John Butler of the John Butler Trio
Seriously, hippies are so full of shit. The fact is, so long as effective freedom of exchange is maintained, the central feature of the market organisation of economic activity is that it prevents one person from interfering with another in respect of most of his activities.
The consumer is protected from coercion by the seller because of the presence of other sellers with whom he can deal. The seller is protected from coercion by the consumer because of other consumers to whom he can sell. The employee is protected from coercion by the employer because of other employers for whom he can work, and so on. And the market does this impersonally and without centralized authority.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. The existence of a free market does not of course eliminate the need for government. What the market does is to reduce greatly the range of issues that must be decided through political means.
The great advantage of the market is that it permits wide diversity. It is, in political terms, a system of proportional representation. Each man can vote, as it were, for the color of tie he wants and get it; he does not have to see what color-the majority wants and then, if he is in the minority, submit. It is this feature of the market that we refer to when we say that the market provides economic freedom.
To be continued...