Monday, November 24, 2008

The Illusion of Economic Freedom

It is a curious paradox that thus ensues the market, which is the acme of individual economic freedom, is the strictest taskmaster of all. One may appeal the ruling of a planning board or win the dispensation of a minister; but there is no appeal, no dispensation, from the anonymous pressures of the market mechanism. Economic freedom is thus more illusory than at first appears. One can do as one pleases in the market. But if one pleases to do what the market disapproves, the price of individual freedom is economic ruination.
That is Robert Heilbroner, p. 57-58 in The Worldly Philosophers, which I am reading again for the first time since undergrad.

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