Who Are the True Exploiters?
Was it the “free market” that exploited Japanese Americans in World War II? Was it “capitalism” that drafted thousands of young men to be sent off to Vietnam, with many to return in body bags? Is it the free market that implements mandatory wage and price controls, takes a third of each American’s income, and leeches money to politically connected corporations? Who is the true exploiter, free markets or government? All things involuntary and compulsory are not compatible with freedom, yet it is constantly government using its monopolized force to accomplish its various goals, not the market. In a free society and market your greed, anger, and any other such negative qualities are purely limited to free and voluntary exchange. You cannot work like government using coercion to sell your products, force to maintain your position, and threats of imprisonment as your insurance.
There are many social injustices, uneven economic scenarios, and plenty of misery in the world today. Saying these miseries come from the free market is a gross misunderstanding of where the free market itself is born: freedom. Freedom has its root in the individual, not in an all-powerful group of people such as government. If some people choose to live in a socialist system with limited property, redistributed wealth, and controlled production, there is nothing standing in their way. But the line is drawn when they feel they have the right to force others into the system. Freedom does not mandate how you live, it simply prevents you from coercing others (either an individual or a group) into a certain lifestyle. No one can force you to buy their product, live the way they think is best for you, and no sensible person can use force with bogus reasoning such as “protecting you from yourself.”
Yet again we see that it is government coercing individuals to subsidize corporations such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, General Motors, AIG, and a host of others, in effect forcing individuals to contribute funds to corporations against their will with nothing in return. Where is the free market exploitation we here so much about? Freedom cannot coexist with aggressive force, which is why both establishing government and maintaining freedom has been especially tricky business throughout American and worldwide history. In a free, non-coerced society hair-brained schemes would die out as quickly as they were created. However, when government is in the picture those schemes become the law and survive solely through force. For instance, no free people would see the benefit in bailing out corporations (because there is none), because people would instantly recognize that any corporations seeking money must offer people a product or service worth paying for, not the pathetic excuse that the entire economy hinges on their existence.
History has shown that the great majority of people do not voluntarily drift toward a powerful centralized government if given the ability to choose for themselves. A splendid example is that of the Native Americans, who migrated to the Americas many thousands of years ago. There was no preexisting government, no bureaucracy or group controlling where they go or how they live, interact, or trade; people were generally free to establish and spread as they pleased in the new land. What we saw was the creation of a vast amount of local tribes and communities, each with a mix of similar and unique customs to the tribes around them. There were no wars or coercive threats that compared to the destruction in the highly centralized and “governmentized” nations of Europe.
In fact, according to Encyclopedia, ideas (such as hunting methods or other helpful techniques) spread through developing trade routes among the various tribes on the North American continent. Spirituality and religious ideas were developed by each tribe and spread through these trade routes, as opposed to much of European history where governments and churches collided over religion and its place among the people. The tribes “did not centralize power into the hands of dominant political leaders.” After all, who in their right mind would voluntarily give their individual power to one all-powerful central leader or group? This is an excellent demonstration of how a free society leaves power with the individual where it rightly belongs. As the pre-Columbus years of Native American history are explored, it shows a period of many different tribes cooperatively living and spreading goods and ideas with tribes across a massive continent. Government was decentralized and it appears that political decisions were commonly made through “consultation and consensus” from the entire adult community of a tribe. While Europe was suffering through poverty, government and Church corruption, and horrendous injustices in the Middle Ages, Native Americans were experiencing a world of peaceful living and voluntary interaction and trade, within vast amounts of local tribes who resisted central empowerment that plagued much of the world.
The Native Americans are one of the few examples of a truly free society unbounded by central force, and the result was hardly a corrupt and exploitative age. Creativity flourished, voluntary trade and diplomacy abounded, and ideas were not punished or restrained. European “civilized” governments existed through force, rather than the decentralized governments of Native American tribes that were created and maintained by the entire adult community. When force is not in the picture, people have naturally chosen local “systems” to that of a powerful centralized government. Local governmental structures are naturally created when freedom is “free” to flourish and provide the groundwork for a society of individuals who are empowered with responsibility of their life, liberty, and well-being.
Modern politics has become a win or loss type of deal. Issues are seen as black and white, jailed into sides with no room for compromise. The beauty of freedom is that it is precisely the basis needed for voluntary actions, diplomacy, exchange, and compromise. Freedom encourages education, involvement, and creativity; it is the only sustainable “system” precisely because it allows all individuals to adjust as necessary. Freedom and liberty are the building blocks of a prosperous society built on the luxury of choice, wisdom of nonaggression, and sustainability of voluntary actions.