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Tom Britton

Director, Teacher, Language School

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Is America being destroyed by the Free Market system?

Could it be that unrestricted business and privatisation has created a profit drive and not competition to provide better quality goods and services? At what point would American people decide that the unrestricted Free Market doesn't serve the people?

Topics: behavior change

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  • Oct 2 2013: Look how quickly the conversation here devolved. This is what we are reduced to. It is a sad sad state of affairs. Economics is not a science, it is a philosophy. At the micro-level you can prove specifics and you can prove some specifics are general larger levels, but when you are discussing issues like capitalism versus socialism you are mashing together a political theory and an economic one and NEITHER of them have ever worked completely. But, the only truly free market capitalist society we currently have is Somalia. Even a free market must have parameters, regulation and law - at the absolute barest minimum you must have contract and property law to make a purported free market work. Currently no country has a good example of this. What has happened in the US is that people fell under the spell of a group of people who convinced them that the only way to be free was to get rid of government. And they worked very hard to bring that about. What they got was a truly polluted version of corporatism that is not capitalism at all. The old economic theory of the horse and sparrow morphed into trickle down economics and was embraced by the right and the left. It has been implemented more broadly and completely than any economic theory in history across the US most of the EU and much of Asia. The end result of this long term vast experiment is what you see when you look around. It does not work and has not worked. As a matter of fact it has been a destroyer of wealth and a concentrator of extreme power in the hands of a very few. It is not the "free market" system that is destroying America (or the EU) because this is not a free market.

    I would posit this question: What is Freedom? Both the left and the right in the US are vehement that they and they alone are fighting for freedom. What if they are both right and both piteously wrong?
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      Oct 2 2013: Thank you for your insightful comments!

      I'm under the impression that the word "freedom" is key to politics in the States and of course it's for a very good reason. But using that word, inevitably, frequently leads to very hot debate and confusion. The concept is indeed difficult to define and it's intangibility is used to create a fa├žade in the name of war time and again.

      In Europe, largely in the West, Freedom is generally just assumed (rightly or wrongly). The debate doesn't centre around it. It is rarely a case of "does this law give us more freedom or less freedom?" If anything, the word used is usually "fairness".

      Sharon, in your opinion what are the key elements that you think are preventing America from being a true free market?
      • Oct 3 2013: Corporate fascism. Intense concentration of wealth. I would specifically say the ruling Citizens United was a disaster for our republic as it sold "freedom of speech" to the highest bidder. Also, the Florida decision that gave Fox news the right to lie on its news programs under the guise that the regulation that said they could not lie was a violation of their corporate freedom of speech. In both cases, corporate entities were given rights. But those same entities did not have any of the responsibilities that go along with rights. Some corporations (and I am not painting them all as evil) but some have become larger than some countries (note that Mark Zuckerberg was invited to the G20 and treated as a head of state) That creates an outsize influence on the creation of the law over that of the impact of the voice of the people. In this setting some industries have become almost entirely monopolized which is very much against the free market. Media is down to 6 major outfits. Healthcare is down to fewer than 10. And banks, since the 08 crash have gotten bigger and more concentrated. This is bad for the free market construct and dreadful for our republic.

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