The thing I like about “free markets” and “free trade” is the “free” part. Markets and trade are the only mechanism mankind has ever crafted that organizes billions of people, moves goods and services all over the globe, increases the standard of living, and paves the way for peace and stability without forcing a single person to do anything they don’t want to do. Markets and trade create wealth and liberty and they do it without an ounce of coercion. Everything in a market is voluntary. No one forces you to buy anything. No one forces you to produce anything. If you get rich in a market system, it is because people GAVE you their money. If you get rich in a socialist system, it’s because you TOOK someone’s money. That single difference is what makes markets a moral system and bureaucratic systems nothing more than legalized theft.
The other thing I like about free markets and free trade is that they work. Socialism doesn’t work. Communism didn’t work. Markets work. I often tell my students that the world fought an 80-year “battle of ideas” over who and what should control the actions of mankind. On one side we had the Karl Marx/John Keynes/Government side and on the other we had the
Adam Smith/F.A. Hayek/Milton Friedman/Market side. The market side won. The good guys won. Communism collapsed. Globalization and markets spread. East Germans moved west, not the other way around. Ireland is mimicking Reaganomics. No one is mimicking Marx. Well, I shouldn’t say that. There are three places in the world that still hold to the view of Karl Marx: Cuba, North Korea, and Sociology departments in American universities.
When I was the guest speaker at the Discovery Institute’s Slade Gorton Lecture Series in Seattle, Washington, I was asked what I would do to change the State Legislature. I said I would go to Olympia and pass out Economics 101 textbooks to every member of the House and Senate. I also said I would stand outside on the corner and hold up a big poster of a supply and demand curve yelling, “This is a supply and demand curve. Learn it. Love it. Obey it.” I should note I had a few cups of coffee that afternoon.
I admit I am an unabashed crusader when it comes to educating people about markets and trade. I honestly believe that if I could educate liberals with regards to how markets work, why messing with them always makes things worse, and how free trade and open markets will bring about a world without war, I would die a happy man. Unfortunately, at the rate things are going… I can never die.
A lonely Republican in Academia, Professor Manweller is the author of “The Right Opinion: A Heretic’s Voice from the Ivory Tower”. In addition to hosting a radio show, guest lecturing, editorial writing, and teaching his two young sons Friedman’s Free Market Theories, Manweller is busy knocking on doors seeking the State Representative position for the 13th Legislative District. (manwellerforstaterep.com)