Free Enterprise & the Welfare of Future Generations

The mission statement of Universidad Francisco Marroquin (UFM) is:

to teach & disseminate the ethical, legal & economic aspects of a society of free & responsible individuals

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To this end, students at UFM are presented with intellectual arguments in support of free enterprise as an instrument to promote human freedom, rather than as an end in itself. They learn that freedom has its limits, based on a principle of non-aggression where it is unjust & inappropriate to pursue one’s own interest at the expense of anyone else.

Arguments & evidence show how this is possible with voluntary exchange that allows all participants in such transactions to be made better off. Further, market interactions introduce “civilizing” effects into behavior whereby success depends upon treating strangers as friends & striving to behave in a cooperative manner that contributes to social harmony.

Therefore, it was encouraging that during the 2nd televised debate among the 2 leading candidates for US president that Barack Obama praised America’s free enterprise system.

Well, of course, all redistributionists love the free enterprises system since it produces the “golden eggs” that they take away from producers to hand out to their political supporters.

It is not clear that either of the candidates is truly committed to free enterprise whereby free & responsible individuals can live their own lives & fulfill their own purposes within a “rule of law“.

However, it appears that Mr. Obama does not understand that he is busy putting heat into the oven that is cooking the goose, thereby reducing overall wealth that would be shared by the community & future generations.

For their part, welfare statists & populists buy political support within a democratic framework by feeding “seed corn” to voters, thereby consuming capital & wealth that will make future generations less prosperous.

Competitive free enterprise allows individuals as consumers to exercise their preferences for goods & for individuals as producers to try to satisfy these preferences. On both of these transactions, there are incentives for people to economize so that they might be able to enjoy more in the future. As such, there is a tendency to provide for subsequent generations.

It ain’t perfect & results may confound or confuse many observers, especially paternalistic elites that have their own notion about what is good for others.

However, free enterprise is about unchaining human potential to discover & then provide what is useful to other members of their community, either as consumer goods or technological advancements or expressions of the Arts.

Whatever the high-mindedness behind their stated purposes, public policies that restrain voluntary exchange or inhibit entrepreneurial initiatives are inhumane since they curb human potentials.

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About christopher

Content of "Natural Order" attempts to reflect the commitment of Universidad Francisco Marroquin to support the development of a society of free & responsible individuals. The principal commentator for this blog is Christopher Lingle.

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