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"as long as its regulated" free market?

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I am new here and have a great deal to learn. I am a public high school teacher in the SocialIST Studies Department (20 years). I taught government from an originalist perspective and the free market as well. I am no longer allowed to teach government. I taught advanced studies American history. The curriculim employs two books, The Jungle, and Grapes of Wrath, to teach industrialism and Great Depression, respectively. I suggested using Ayn Rand's, Atlas Shrug and even arranged to obtain a book for every student for free. I am no longer allowed to teach advanced anything. There is no one within my department, including 3 junior and 3 senior highs, that I can discuss these topics so I thought I would try you folks. As I was watching the presidential debate, I heard both Mitt Romney and Barak Obama say they supported the free market as long as there were "regulations." Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that counterintuitive? Isn't that like saying one believes in freedom as long as it's controlled? If I'm on the right track, how might I present it so my students would understand...as long as I still have a job.

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... how might I present it so my students would understand

Imagine that Romney had said this instead: "For a free-market to function, we need laws". Such a remark would be uncontroversial. So, this really comes down to asking what exactly we mean by "regulations", and how that concept is different from "laws applicable to business".

Edited by softwareNerd
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Welcome to OO! I’m going to ignore the ethical argument for the moment since I don’t think you are asking that. I would more than happy to address it however since it is the vital point to make.

Ask them, “If you don’t trust people to run their own businesses then why do you think they should be able to tell someone else how to run theirs?”

Oh, the truth is we won’t let them. We’ll let people who run nothing be the authority to tell all how to do a job they likely couldn’t do if left to their own devices. Those who can’t regulate those who can? Does anyone think that’ll put digits in the GDP?

Planning an economy has always been the premise and despite refutations from many economists, and the fact it lost every major war in the last century or bankrupted every country that has practiced it consistently, many people still want an authority figure to be the adult they are to lazy to be.

The irony is, only freedom allows for the millions of daily economic decisions that are a condition for a complex economy exist, let alone expand. No one could successfully plan, be it up front decision making or one size fit’s none constraints of regulations on decisions, for millions of people and their decisions that result in a sum total expansion of the economy. Further, the more complex the economy, the more you need to have the freedom to act in order for those millions of daily decisions to operate to keep the complex economy functioning. This means that as an economy grows, planning is even less feasible since the sum total decisions of the whole becomes increasing more complex and diverse across the millions of participants. Taking more decisions and intentionally putting those decisions in fewer hands is not only immoral but economically it is laughable. Constraints are parasitical but in this context they are also just that, constraints on the economy.

The more an economy grows, the more that economy needs freedom to handle its own load. Notice that any controlled economy ultimately shrinks, consuming the value that it once had, until you end up like the Soviet Union that once exposed has nothing of value but slogans, desolation, and weapons. Controls destroy the ability for decisions to be made and the cost to do them becomes a hindrance where once stood an incentive for growth. Understandably so – who is going to work hard when you are not the one guiding your own actions?

The current paradigm is the desire to have both: The mixed economy. Freedom to run the system but controls to protect… From whom? The economy? Us? Those in power? The grey immorality of wanting to have your freedom and eating it too. Yea. I can walk away from Wal-Mart. I cannot walk away from the OSHA. I don’t need to be controlled. I don’t need the controllers. They need us to run the economy. Do the math my friend.

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Wow, the information I received is so good, I need to copy this. I couldn't agree more with both posts. Romney, unless he really does not support the free market, should have defined/described what he means by "regulation." As a constitutionalists, I am familiar with the role the Constitution assigns the federal government to "regulate" the economy...none. But what struck me was the notion that something free has to be related coming out of the mouths of both candidates. Was this kind of like Bush saying we have abandon the free market to save it? Anyway, you folks know your stuff so if you don't see a great deal of posts from me, I am busy reading and learning on this site. I have many questions and this is definitely the place to come.

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