Free Markets and Your Values

Some people think that a free market system is one where everyone must maximize profit and efficiency without regard for other social values. This is not true. The free market is whatever you want it to be, so long as it’s free from coercion. If you want to only by products made from a company with union workers, go ahead. If you want to only buy products made in your local community, go ahead. If you wish to not buy from Walmart because you don’t like large companies, that’s fine. You can buy the more expensive products if you wish. If you are an employer and you want to pay your employees a lot more than you actually need to, go ahead. If you want to start a company and make no profit, or give all profits to charity, that’s perfectly possible in a free market. To give a more extreme example, it’s even possible to have socialistic companies in a free market. The technical meaning of “socialism” is where the people/workers collectively own the means of production. So, if a group of workers wish to purchase or build a factory, and therefore own this factory (or other business type), and make decisions as a group instead of having a few bosses that own the factory, that’s fine. A free market is one where every person can choose to trade or not trade according to whatever standards and belief systems they have, so long as they aren’t using aggressive force against others.

2 thoughts on “Free Markets and Your Values

  1. I agree with your “Consumer choice definition” of free Market. But what are you trying to point out with this statement?
    Are you saying you should buy cheap shoes from underpaid Bangaloreans?
    Are you saying you should buy Quality products for more than they are worth?

    • The point I made was directly stated in the first two sentences of the post. A free market means that everyone can trade as they please, so long as it’s voluntary (no coercion or initiation of physical aggression) and property rights are respected (no stealing or damaging other people’s property through environmental destruction), per the definition of libertarianism here.

      So, for your last two questions, no. I’m not saying that you “should” buy any of those things, but that you “can” buy those things if you wish, as long as the market conditions are such that the entire process of production and selling is done voluntarily among the workers (no slavery) according to the basic definition of libertarianism.

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