Free market: democracy in action
Mr. Kossovan’s reminder (letter, June 1) not to allow “our hunger for the trappings of prosperity
to blind us from the sources of true human happiness” was a thinly-veiled ritual denunciation,
by statists, on the vulgarity and banality of consumerist capitalism.
Moralizers of all types rankle me. Who better to decide what a person can and should do with her
wealth than herself. She has her reasons for acting as she does; she is best acquainted with her goals.
And, even if the way she disposes of what’s hers seems wasteful to others, that does not give them
the right to judge or interfere. There exists no “freedom of the individual”, so cherished by those of
us who believe in democracy, if there is no “right to property”. Granted, that is not an absolute right;
we do pay taxes. But, we have accepted that governments have the right to collect them for purposes
we thought might be more efficiently and effectively handled by them.
As to our being manipulated by free-market capitalism and the advertising campaigns of those
large corporation it harbours, it is false to assert that these bodies are responsible for a subtle form
of tyranny. The host of marketplace choices the free-market has provided, at prices average
citizens can afford, has meant that basic needs are covered with room for a good deal of
discretionary spending, which it is not fair to assume is always a frivolous or puerile form of
materialistic extravagance. Quite the contrary. The opposite has been happening. Now that so many
have “made it” economically, there has developed a greater interest in quality-of -life: less overtime,
more holidays, more time with the family, etc. Ironic? Yes.
Furthermore, this free-market economy is the perfect complement to a democratic form of
government. Every time a client chooses one product over another, he is voting for the company
that produced it --- much like voting for a political party, come election time. The exaggerations
in the advertising used by each entity are equally enormous; but, in the case of the product or
service, it is easier to dispose of, if one is not satisfied. It’s much harder to rid ourselves of
governments who haven’t delivered what they promised. So, the free market is democracy-in-
action. We use it every day. And, it’s been good to us.