Blame the markets, blame freedom

It’s curious how people in high positions of government rationalise the control they have over people, and how they justify expanding that control after it has produced unforseen and undesirable consequences.

Yesterday, in a speech, the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, preached that “though markets can be powerful drivers of prosperity, markets can go wrong” and that “left unattended, they are prone to instability, excess and abuse.”

This is the widely accepted narrative that the credit crunch of 2008 was caused by deregulation or a lack of regulation of the global financial sector. In other words: there was too much freedom and not enough government! Freedom is bad for society, which makes us, your rulers, good people for restricting it.

Point of fact: the global financial industry prior to the credit crunch and now was and is the most highly regulated (or least free) market in the world. This corruption means it’s now much less a driver of prosperity for the masses and much more a driver for the increased prosperity of the ruling elite – at the direct expense of the masses.

Contrary to what the governor of the Bank of England believes or wishes us to believe, it was the world’s most highly government-fettered, corrupted and perverted ‘market’ that crashed – not an ‘unattended’ free market. The driver behind the wheel was the blind brute force of government action, not the peaceful, voluntary economic exchanges of liberty.

Carney rightly points out that markets are powerful drivers of prosperity, but what he fails to mention is that un-free, government-controlled markets are the world’s most powerful destroyers of prosperity. This we have experienced and we shall experience ever more frequently if we continue to believe the falsehood that markets are prone to harm us. No. Government action aimed at improving society is prone to harm us.

Fundamentally, if we believe that free markets, that is, our own freedom to engage in economic exchange in peaceful pursuit of our own goals, is naturally inclined to harm us, then we’re actually agreeing that we’re better off if we’re forced to live according to the choices of other people and not our own; that we can be ‘freed’ from the harm we can only inevitably do ourselves and each other, if we only submit to the will of those who wish to control us. Which will be the moment we believe that slavery is freedom, and the moment reality becomes one with George Orwell’s imagination.

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