Student contributionsWriting competition

What do free markets mean to you?

Generation Liberty Writing Competition Results (December 2015)

1st Place: James, 20, WA

Free markets are a mechanism for full human expression and innovation. It is only through abundance and increased production that people have a greater standard and quality of life. It is an acceptance of the essence of life that nothing is guaranteed and that one must accept personal responsibility for their own actions. It is the realization that only the individual is able to shape their own destiny and the only true safety net in life is through mankind’s ability to use logic and reason to overcome challenges and struggles.

It is the only system that recognizes that the most important thing that man should hold in value is ones own life. That man is not a pawn but rather an end to himself and his labour and life is not to be predetermined by others at their own whim. That a man in acting in his self-interest to improve his or his loved ones life also improves the lives of people he does not know personally.

Free Markets reward those who produce value for other people through the manufacturing of goods and services. It is the most moral system as it rewards those people who make the lives of others better through the economic value that they offer others. It rewards those who keep their word and wake up every morning to follow through on the contract that they have made with another party. There is no need for coercion and force upon others as it is through trade that peace and prosperity occurs.

2nd Place: Mick, 21, QLD

To me, the free markets are associated with the capacity of the individual, or a group of individuals- acting in their own rational interest- to make economic decisions that will result in a growing, prosperous society through the most efficient allocation of resources.

The free market is the system through which the achievements and successes of the individual acting in their own interests are most effectively rewarded, and so a culture of entrepreneurship will thrive. As individuals seek not to produce goods or services based on the arbitrary or partisan judgement of the government, they will act in a manner such that the desires of the consumer are most efficiently fulfilled.

In a time when modern democratic governments seek to control the behaviour of its citizens through regulation and market controls, the free market hearkens as the system through which individual choice is maximised. Without laws preventing the consumption of certain goods or services, taxation to adjust spending behaviour, or other regulatory burden designed to restrict the choice of the individual, a free market allows the consumer to make their own informed decision as to what they wish to spend their money on.

As we move forward into the 21st century, with poverty dropping at an astronomical rate, and consumer choices forever expanding as new markets are established, and existing ones expanded, we see that it is not overreaching government regulation and intervention that has realised these successes, but the free market.

IPA Campus Coordinator: John, 19, VIC

Some admire the glittering skylines of New York or Hong Kong. Others simply hold immense respect for the scale, size and efficiency of a Boeing factory or a major port. Still others stand in slack-jawed admiration at the global alleviation of poverty, or our mindboggling increase in humans’ productivity since the Industrial Revolution.

But for me, the meaning of free markets is almost mundane. It’s the ability to walk to a supermarket to find shelves groaning with bread and milk and other staple foods every single day without having to grow it yourself with back-breaking labour under the hot sun. It’s the ability to buy a shirt that you would not have a clue how to make for a lousy $8, and feel entitled enough to complain that it only lasts a couple of years. Free markets mean basic human dignity.

And what fills me with the most perverse pleasure is the irony and unwitting self-ridicule of capitalism’s enemies. To me, free markets mean that anti-capitalist friends can complain that they lack legroom in their aeroplane seat, due to the greed of airlines. It is at this juncture that I point out that they are sitting in a chair. In the sky. Flying. At 900k.p.h. Billionaires and private jets are one thing, but the fact that this is within the means of the vast majority of the ordinary denizens of any capitalist country is the real miracle. Anti-capitalists, however, are usually too busy complaining that their in-flight Coke is flat.

Honourable Mention: Narisha, 11, VIC

Essentially free markets are when two people are allowed to trade freely, without the government looking over them like they’re 2 years old. At the moment the government has the right to determine our wages. This is extremely hard on our younger generation who are seeking for jobs. If a restaurant owner is looking to employ a new waitress, they would go for the older, more experienced person of the bunch who applied. And do you know why? The government might set a limit of $20 and the employer is going to want to spend that money the best way possible, so instead of employing and training a young person they will just employ one with more experience and knowledge under their belt.

You can always hear people talking about the growing number of unemployed people and maybe this is a reason behind it. When Australian citizens were younger they weren’t accepted for a job, which lead to them now not having enough knowledge or experience to get employed. So really the government is causing the problem that they are continuously debating over. Also, say you were a little kid wanting earn a bit of extra money, so you decide to open a lemonade stall. Because of the government’s silly rule you aren’t actually allowed (under law) to open a stall without a permit from council or a license to sell food. How ridiculous is that!? Free markets to me are simply the fairest way of selling goods and services.

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