Should we let the Government influence the world around us?
The people of the United States of America have always held the notion that “the bigger the better”—that the United States is just “too big to fail”. The belief that the success of the United States came from its domestic companies competing to be “bigger and better” than all of its other domestic competitors which as a result, would allow for the free market to provide us with the best technologically advanced products at the lowest prices. In other words, a very efficient and favorable economy. But at the end of the day, the current financial crisis, as has been argued, was triggered by this very reason.
The more the United States flaunted its “absolute advantage” the more our economy has “flexed” its capitalist nature. Today’s economy relies hugely on the investments made by financial firms, lenders, hedge fund firms, mutual fund firms and in Wall Street. It seems when we invest in larger companies that produce luxury products, or the products that could be considered every day necessities (i.e, cars, houses, electricity, oil, natural resources etc.,) the more success those companies have in the market. However, in recent years, the investments from these financial firms have gone astray and required the Government to bail them out for these firms’ poor decision-making. Consequently, the Government promoted reckless investment behavior. This behavior however, didn’t end after the bailout, instead it continued and inevitably led to this economic disaster that we are in.
The Government now, as it attempts to undo its mistakes, is implementing new laws to help regulate and prevent this situation from occurring again. These laws are being attached as an extension of the already implemented faulty laws that helped get us into this messy scenario. In essence, as the Government places more laws, the more they restrict our freedom as a whole. As Amartya Sen argues in her Development As Freedom, Governments in general act to help their domestic businesses at the cost of freedom. The United States Government sometimes, through the use of it domestic policies and laws, can infringe upon the success of smaller businesses. “The denial of access to product markets is often among the deprivations from which many small cultivators and struggling producers suffer.” (Sen, 7) This exact scenario occurs in the United States frequently, our Government will allocate and subsidize to some small companies, but not all, preferring to help those that we lack an absolute advantage in in order to help promote its success within our domestic market and in international markets. Also, on occasion, the Government will regulate what products come across our borders and into our market to help strengthen those companies that specialize in any of our weaker aspects of production. In doing so, they are helping some become “winners” and others become “losers” making for a high level of “inequality.” What matters to us more so, because we can feel it on an everyday basis, is that these Government actions are restricting our economic freedom or economic “unfreedom” as Sen calls it, which then denies our basic right to choice—our basic right to self-identity as the Government promotes certain companies deemed “favorable to society.” It becomes their decision not ours as a society…
My fear becomes that as the Government passes more laws to try solve the solution they implicate and endanger us all by entangling us in our economy. As we are pulled into this problem, the laws implemented to solve this solution sap away at our freedom. Laws on top of already preexisting laws continue to lessen our economic freedom and as a consequence, our freedoms in society. The more we our restricted economically, the more we pay for it in society. For this reason, I question whether or not the Government should play a role in our economy or if we should go back to a more laissez-faire approach? But more importantly, is Government involvement costing us our freedom that Rousseau, Locke, Burke, Sen, More and others we have read, all argue are entitled to us as our basic rights?