Friday, July 17, 2015

Social Freedom and Market System

There are any number of people who believe in economic freedom but not social freedom. By their own logic, they are wrong.

The claim they reiterate is that social freedom leads to chaos and immorality. Simply, they need to study economics more. According to economic theory, competition among agents driven by rational self-interest rewards the best product and the best price. This leads to prosperity all across the board.

The same logic can – and should – be applied to social issues. Specifically, it should be applied to man-woman relationships. In a climate of social freedom, people will gravitate toward those who have the most to offer them. This will select for excellence and for better treatment. The men who are willing to be good to their wives, and the women who are willing to be good to their husbands, will emerge winners and be rewarded for their goodwill with good relationships. And competition among parties based on how they are willing to treat their partners will then incentivize good treatment by partners of one another, resulting in better relationships.

Right now, we are seeing extreme hypocrisy on this issue. An astute woman is seen as manipulative; an astute man is seen as a winner. A woman who gets together with a foreign man is seen as selfish; a man who buys a Japanese car or a Chinese TV is seen as simply partaking in the market economy.This is exceptionally hypocritical. The fact is, if you believe in economic freedom then you must believe in social freedom. The same logic – the logic of classical economics – predicts that in both cases we will see the selection for excellence, resulting in better outcomes all across the board.

Are people driven by rational self-interest? Does the market select for the best product? Well that is a whole another can of worms. Clearly there are economic decisions that are in no way rational, and clearly there are cases – such as Microsoft vs. Borland, VHS vs. Beta and fast food chains vs. mom-and-pop shops – where inferior product rises to market dominance by virtue of superior marketing. Similarly there are many men who get with a woman by virtue of having, not superior character, but superior front. We see this in both economics and relationships; which means that in both economics and relationships we will see the potential for both rightful and wrongful outcomes.

The same logic that is used to defend free markets should also be employed to defend social freedom. Like economic freedom, social freedom impels people to improve themselves and have the best things to offer their partners and treat their partners the best possible ways. And just as the market has allowed billions of people to rise out of poverty, so does social freedom stands to allow people to have better relationships and better lives.

And that, is the best social policy I can think of – one that does not require military or government intervention and that allows the logic that is behind the successful market system to improve relationships between men and women.


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