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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Capitalism and Freedom: Part IV

John Butler of the John Butler Trio has written a good song that won an APRA award once again this year. One day he aims to write another one.

The ShadowLands congratulates John and is delighted to publish Part IV of his meditation on capitalism and freedom.


A free private market is a mechanism for achieving voluntary cooperation among people. It applies to any human activity, not simply to economic transactions.

A characteristic feature of a free private market is that all parties to a transaction believe that they are going to be better off by that transaction. It is not a zero sum game in which some can benefit only at the expense of others. It is a situation in which everybody thinks he is going to be better off.

A free private market is a mechanism for enabling a complex structure of cooperation to arise as an unintended consequence of Adam Smith's invisible hand, without any deliberate design.

A free private market involves the absence of coercion. People deal with one another voluntarily, not because somebody tells them to or forces them to. It does not follow that the people who engage in these deals like one another, or know one another, or have any interest in one another. They may hate one another. Everyone of us, everyday without recognizing it, engages in deals with people all over the world whom we do not know and who do not know us. No super planning agency is telling them to produce something for us.

The essence of human freedom as of a free private market, is freedom of people to make their own decisions so long as they do not prevent anybody else from doing the same thing. That makes clear, l think, why free private markets are so closely related to human freedom. It is the only mechanism that permits a complex interrelated society to be organised from the bottom up rather than the top down.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure any of us are ever going to be free from any of the matrix's created by man. 1.618

RebeccaH said...

Smart man, John Butler.