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Freedom for All

Bina PatelQuickPoint!

A recent article in Resurgence Magazine (December 2007) makes the claim that our free-market economy “lacks a moral compass” and is “value-free.” The author proposes a moral compass for the economy based on values pointing towards the environment and fulfilling human needs.

However, this sort of economy overlooks the central value of the free market: freedom. We are free to choose goods and services that portray our unique individuality. Importantly, there is a difference between values and goals. The market can alleviate poverty and protect the environment; and in the freedom-based market, these choices are presented without force. Ideas are debated and refined, until varying differences bring forward an even stronger idea. An economy based on one sort of political ideal is a dangerous one.

There have been numerous achievements in the free market in creating more widespread well being. There are certainly areas for improvement, but our economy is a reflection of our country’s roots: freedom for all.

Bina Patel is Director of the Oregon Asset Policy Initiative at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free-market think tank.

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