No Need to Turn Our Backs on Economic Freedom
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Three years in, we are mired in the weakest economic recovery since World War II, a period that includes 11 recoveries. Not coincidentally, during the current recovery we have witnessed unprecedented levels of government spending, regulation, and control.
That comes as no surprise to W. Michael Cox and Richard Alm, who pen a full-throated defense of free enterprise in an essay for the O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business.
In an homage to Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, Cox and Alm remind us that economic freedom produces more prosperity than centralized government solutions:
Economic freedom takes us to a better place. In market-based systems, governments protect property rights and provide necessary public goods, but companies and individuals are free to decide how best to produce and consume. Their buying and selling generate market signals—prices, wages, profits and rates of return.
These signals shape the autonomous decisions on what to produce and consume. From millions of producers and consumers, most of them completely unknown to each other, markets forge a spontaneous order that lifts living standards.
The result has been incredible increases in the standard of living of Americans.
They warn that the path of higher taxes, more regulations, and increased government spending—funded through debt—leads to continued slow economic growth and high unemployment. Instead, Cox and Alm call for policies that respect America’s free enterprise system and reward risk-taking and investment to light a spark under our smoldering economy.