Why is freedom more important than equality

Charbel Gereige | 11 May 2021

I believe that all individuals should be given the freedom to pursue their interests. The only limit to each person’s own freedom is the freedom of other individuals.

Modern societies have different level of restrictions on individual freedoms. If you want to buy and sell securities in the market, with your own money, I believe you should be free to do so, no one should restrict you doing so. Today there are limitation on you taking other people’s money and investing that money for them. Similarly you can take garlic if you think that it cures you from Covid-19. If someone says he read a “research” that shows it works and he takes garlic… it’s his freedom to do so. But people aren’t allowed to take Cocaine or other restricted drugs. That’s a restriction on individual freedom that society accepted as necessary. But if an individual starts claiming that they can cure ill people, that’s not legally allowed in most societies – unless you have a license to pursue a medical profession. In my opinion, a certain level of restrictions is needed in society. Like we are all required to pay tax for police to protect us all, or an army. We pay for the judges and the courts. We also pay for roads and streets maintenance. We are not allowed to pollute the rivers, the air, the sea.

The freedoms above will create inequality of income. One individual may choose to be a hard working doctor, and another one prefers to spend his day in nature drawing. Millions of people could buy the lottery, one of them could win. Many athletes train hard, only one wins the gold medal. One person could catch an illness, or has an accident that inhibits his ability to work, some could be born with disabilities. All these factors and more, will generate unequal outcomes.

Beyond the common good projects I stated above (security, justice and a few others), increasing taxes to fund elected officials’ other projects, in my mind, is asking for troubles.

Politicians make all sort of promises and end up squandering the cash to enrich themselves and their friends in most of the world. In a rare few societies, officials could do try their best to do better, but at best they will be inefficient in comparison to the individuals who are subjugated to the ruthless power of competition. That’s a common theme across the world. Corruption can be better or worse, but it’s inevitable that public projects suffer from inefficiencies and degraded return to the tax payers cash spend on them.

Bill Gates spent his life creating products that had enormous influence on society, to improve the world. If you think there are millions like him, I believe you are right. My view is: only a free market system allows these individuals to achieve their potentials. They can only achieve their potentials by offering a product or a service, that other individuals, freely and willingly, agree to part away with their money, to get.

The freedom of this system, in the form of competition, forces all individuals to give the best products, at the lowest prices, as otherwise the buyers go and choose an alternative.

You buy a Nokia phone or an IPhone or a Samsung phone or others based on what you choose as your criteria. That’s the free market system.

On the flip side, when the government decides which company takes charge of Electricity – and forces all the population to buy from that company – that’s not a free market system.

When the central bank and the government ban any individual from starting a business to exchange currencies, or start a bank, they restrict competition and create barriers to entry and create monopolies. Monopolies allow the government to confiscate (steal) all depositors cash – and the connected few, who run the banks make huge profits at the expense of the public. That’s a crony capitalist system that’s the opposite of a free market economy.

When other parties suggest that they be given the powers, in the form of a government with exceptional powers, this is the bedrock of corruption.

I support your freedom to work as a physician and help cure ill people or work as a market practitioner if you really think you have the skills, and I think no restrictions should be in place by government on people agreeing an exchange of products and services. The judiciary system can bring justice in cases of fraud. But otherwise individuals should run their own affairs, and their freedom only limited by the freedom of others. That’s the basis of a free market system, the bedrock of a free society. That will lift all the population from extreme poverty, which has a much higher value than achieving equality!