Markets

Wanted: Your free-market ideas to help improve lives

Life isnt fair. It never will be.

In fact, so much of what we experience day-to-day, year-to-year, is a result of things we cant control – the country were born in, the robustness of our immune system, the bumps on our nose (well, mine anyway) are pre-determined facts of life.

Progress means embracing or overcoming difficult realities of life. Some unicorn ideologies suggest that you can skip over the hard work, promising to magically morph reality. Socialist ideals, for example, pretend that it is possible to secure equality of outcome – and a sky-high outcome at that – for everyone. Total fairness and peak prosperity – what could go wrong?

Thanks to the history books, we know what goes wrong, and how many millions of lives are sacrificed in the name of reaching the intangible promised land. Time and time again, different variations of authoritarian, top-down approaches to the world (the latest iteration being “luxury automated communism”) are proposed, eventually tried, and crumble spectacularly.

Of course, there is one economic system that actually has the power to change peoples lives for the better. Its record stands out as the best vehicle to increase their wealth and prosperity – and that is free-market capitalism.

Respect for the individual, combined with the celebration of free trade and free enterprise, has broken down countless barriers faced by people at the bottom of the economic ladder, eager to climb their way to the top – raising over one billion people out of absolute poverty in the past 30 years alone.

Countries like the UK and the US, rooted in markets and liberty, have made it possible for migrants to move and work where their skills are most desired; have led to the miraculous innovations that allow for longer and healthier lives; and have come to celebrate the uniqueness and personal preferences of individuals, that whatever makes you different (nose-bump and all) is source of pride, not embarrassment.

But while these principles are grand, our politicians have been woeful in recent years at ensuring that public policy prioritises opportunities for the individual.

People of all ages have been cut off from the housing market, which prices the hardest-working person out of the market.

The burden of red tape in areas like occupational licensing has made it unnecessarily harder for people on low incomes to move into better-paying roles.

Women in particular face lower lifetime earnings, because of expensive, distortive, anRead More

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