Economic Freedom

Discussion in 'Economy' started by Wiseacre, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    What are the boundaries of economic freedom? Whatever enterprise you choose to engage in must be lawful of course, but do I or don't I have the right to pay the cheapest price I can get for my costs, including labor? If I can find someone who willingly works for a buck an hour, why should someone else, including the gov't, say that is unfair? If I can get parts and materials cheaper from foreign lands, isn't that my perogative?

    Do I not have the choice of doing business overseas, which might include creating jobs somewhere else, even at the expense of jobs here? Is it my fault the business climate in other countries is better than it is here? Other countries have growing economies that will buy my stuff. If I can build it there and sell my stuff for less there than what it takes to build it here and ship it there, what's wrong with that?

    Do I not have the freedom to make as much profit as I can, as long as no laws are broken? Who gets to decide how much is enough, who has that right? Change the laws if you want to, but is it my fault the laws are inadequate or fuzzy? And beware the unintended consequences of what you do; the entrepeneurs and investors that used to flock here now have other choices. Would you rather get tax revenues of 50% of a mllion dollars or 30% of 2 million?

    It is no accident that those countries with the most economic freedom are also the most vibrant and growing. That doesn't mean no gov't controls and no regulation, but it does need to be cost effective and needed. Right now, gov't and business are adversaries; that is not a good idea for and economy that is struggling. Less economic freedom ain't workin'.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  2. WatertheTree
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    WatertheTree Senior Member

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    Economic freedom is like all the other freedoms. We like say we have them, wave the flag, slap each other on the back etc.

    But upon closer examination of anything there is no freedom. The socialism has permiated the states, since Regan the standard fix for any problem has been more regulation, more government mandates, more laws. Even today this attitude is dominant as the economy is on life support from to much manipulation.

    You watch the Republican debate and every candidate has nothing to offer but more of the same. More market manipulations, more laws, more rules, more regulation, more cronyism, more support for corporatism.

    Everyone except for Ron Paul.
     
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  3. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    So, no leftwingers telling me my rights are secondary to the common good? I am crushed.
     
  4. Wacky Quacky
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    Wacky Quacky Silver Member

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    Freedom = responsibility. Sure, you are more than within your right to do anything that's within the context of the law. But when no one is buying your goods or services because they don't have any money to spend, you have to understand that it was partly your responsibility for that happening. Of course, there are other factors as well, such as the value of the US dollar and outsourcing, but paying as little as legally possible only exacerbates the situation further.
     
  5. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Actually you'll find that if you go into business solely "to make as profit as you can" -- you'll be sorely dissapointed. A mid-size corp is lucky to pull down 6 or 8% profit.. If you're making a TON of profit -- your competition hasn't woken up yet or the govt has granted you a monopoly. The profit generally comes from market share.
     
  6. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    It is hardly my responsibility if anyone else do not have any money to spend. None at all in fact. If I cannot attract sufficient buyers then then I either cut my expenses enough to ride out the storm or I close up shop and find another business venture. One where I can make money, with the possible side benefit of giving somebody else a job.

    The value of the dollar and outsourcing has nothing whatsoever to do with economic freedom, they are merely factors that might influence my business decisions. I think you are muddying the waters here.
     
  7. ladyliberal
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    ladyliberal Progressive Princess

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    I'm not sure I understand the question. You ask if you have the right (moral or legal right?) to pay the lowest wage you can, but express an interest in obeying the law. Minimum wage laws of course constrain what wages you can pay. You ask if you have the freedom (moral or legal freedom) to maximize profit as long as the law is followed. Of course you have the legal right to maximize your profit or do literally anything else as long as the law is followed.

    Some laws of course restrain your ability to pursue your economic interests, and those laws are generally motivated by protecting others in society. I assume most everyone recognizes the need for such laws in general, even if they disagree with particular laws. After all, theft is often a rational pursuit in terms of economic self-interest, but it is criminalized because it improperly takes property from others.

    Unless you're a legislator or someone else in a responsible position, it is not your fault if laws are vague or even just plain wrong. You are still legally obligated to obey them, of course.

    I would rather get revenues of $600,000 than $500,000.

    It is probably true that economic freedom and economic growth are positively correlated in contemporary countries (see references in Economic freedom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). However, I don't know of a study which demonstrates a causal relationship between the two.
     
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  8. flacaltenn
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    flacaltenn USMB Mod Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Strange -- but even as adamantly free-market as i am -- there ARE some responsibilities like Lady Liberal pointed out. I look at it like the unwritten Capitalist code of ethics. ALL professional societies do this and there is nothing wrong with injecting morals into the Capitalist system.

    You have a responsibility to SUPPORT the product that you sell.

    You have a responsibility to pay for injuries to others.

    You have a responsibility to not misrepresent your product to the customer.

    You have a responsibility to abide by contracts.

    You have a responsibility to treat employees and the public with respect.

    You have a responsibility to maintain your enthusiasm for the business even when times get tough because that what your stakeholders expect.

    .......and feel free to add others..

    I even do believe that if you TAKE COMMUNITY funds in the form of tax incentives or free land or waivers as a condition of locating there --- that you should LIVE UP to the expectations under which those were given..

    There are PLENTY of "obligations" to the owner of a business besides just to their funders or stockholders. But there is NO general obligations to share your vision for management with any GOVT entity that insists on meddling for communal good..
     
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  9. WatertheTree
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    WatertheTree Senior Member

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    All the thinking in this thread is with the assumption that the US government will just keep shoveling out unemployment from now till the end of time.

    Reality is the socailist state is coming to an end, we cant afford it. Its time to remove the market manipulation on wages and let market values go where they must. Its better to have a job and make a little, then to not work, and not eat.
     
  10. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    An employer is obliged to pay whatever the minimum wage is, I do not believe economic freedom extends to civil disobedience or lawbreaking. To me, an employer has both the moral and legal right to offer employment at whatever legal wage and benefits he/she chooses, to maximize their profit potential. The prospective employee has an equal right to accept it or turn it down, or seek a better job at any time in the future. There's no moral imperative to offer a wage that is higher than whatever the market value is for that job. It may make good business sense to raise the employees wages at some point, but that decision is the employer's to make and he/she will have to deal with the consequences for whatever is decided.

    I suspect there are studies that show countries with greater economic freedom enjoy greater economic growth and prosperity. Certainly countries with little or no economic freedom are among the poorest inthe world: Cuba and North Korea for example.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011

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