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The Libertarian party looks at the free market
The Libertarian Party Looks at
THE FREE MARKET
What is a free market?
The free market is what happens when nobody does anything to prevent
It's human nature. "Free market" is merely shorthand for what happens
when peaceful, productive people are allowed to deal with each other.
They produce, buy, sell, trade, work together and deal in a thousand
different ways. No one is kept out of the process by force. No one is
forced into it. It just happens because all can see the opportunity to
better their condition by working, trading and dealing with other
The free market works on voluntary cooperation. No one can force you,
with a gun or threats of injury, to work in any factory, field or
office. You can seek a career in any line, offering anyone your
services and products. You and I can decide to work together or not. We
can produce, trade, buy and sell, along with millions of others. The
main point is that no deal is made unless the people involved go into
it voluntarily. They cooperate to make it happen.
Libertarians support the free market for two reasons. First, it's
right. Second, it really works best!
People have the right to deal with each other peacefully and honestly.
If, by our honest work, you and I produce different things of value, we
have the right to trade what we have produced with each other. We have
the right to make any deal which suits us both. No third party
(including the government) has the right to stop us, or to force us
into transactions or work we don't want, or to take any part of what we
have produced from us.
What happens when people have such economic freedom? All of us have
more opportunities to do productive work, doing what we like best. More
goods and services are produced. Innovations and inventions increase.
More art, literature, music, sports and science. More leisure time.
More of everything for everybody.
In the past two hundred years, all over the world, this has been shown
many times: the more economic freedom, the higher the standard of
living. Centrally planned economies, as in socialist and communist
countries, have difficulty even feeding their people and experience
never-ending shortages of basic consumer goods. In the freer economies
of the west, the supermarket shelves are always full. Refugees
invariably flee countries with heavily regulated economies and seek
opportunity where it exists, in countries with relatively free markets.
There are no refugees fleeing from Florida to Cuba.
But won't economic freedom lead to monopolies? Just the opposite.
History shows that monopolies succeed only when government protects
them from competition. The best protection from monopoly is to repeal
all laws which make it difficult for new and small companies to compete
with established firms.
Too much government
Costly business regulations and taxes prevent businesses from starting
or expanding. Licensing and permit requirements do the same. Tariffs
and quotas keep out foreign goods and let U.S. manufacturers get lazy
while they charge higher prices for lower quality products. All such
laws should be repealed. Let's start with government monopolies, by
repealing the law which makes it a crime to deliver a letter in
competition with the Post Office.
As consumers, we should all want the greatest possible number of
businesses competing to produce better goods at lower prices to sell to
us. Competition in a free market is the best regulator and protection
A free market does not mean that someone can cheat customers by not
giving them what they paid for -- for example by selling a product that
is dangerous after guaranteeing that it is safe. The free market does
not protect fraud. Law should prohibit and punish fraud.
Nor does the free market mean that someone can pollute the air, the
water or other people's property with industrial wastes. No one has the
right to dump his trash (pollutants) onto another's property. That same
legal system protects you against polluters.
A free market cannot guarantee Utopia, that mythical place where
everyone has everything he or she wants all the time and nothing ever
goes wrong. (Neither can any other economic system.) But, of the
available choices, free markets do better at giving all of us more
opportunity to make our own plans, to carry them out and to make the
kind of life that we want according to our own values.
800-682-1776 Libertarian Party
202-543-1988 1528 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20003
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