Who Needs Economic Freedom When You Can Vote?

| August 26 2012
Christopher Cook

This video presents a fascinating angle on free-market apologetics. People talk about voting as if it is the be-all and end-all of civilization. But without economic freedom, your personal choices are still very limited indeed.

The video gives one really potent example: Imagine that you live in a democracy that decides that there will be just one religion. Sure, you got a vote, but you were not made more free. You did not end up with choice—you had choice taken from you.

This is not an argument against voting. It’s an argument for having government involved in very little, and leaving as much as possible to individual choice.

The video is very short—watch!

In this clip, Professor Jason Brennan explains why economic freedoms should matter as much as political freedoms. While democratic participation is important, giving someone the right to vote is not the same thing as giving someone control over his or her life. In the absence of constitutional limitations that preserve large spheres of economic liberty, collective decisions can lead to losses of autonomy. Professor Brennan points out that economic freedom is about more than just dollars and cents; it’s about providing individuals with the autonomy to “lead the lives that they regard as authentically theirs.” Decisions about careers, spending habits, and financial plans belong in an extensive sphere of liberty that allows individuals to shape their lives according to their own values and goals.

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