Stop Arguing Freedom Makes Us Richer, Happier, and Safer
It doesn't matter
Approximately 247 years ago, the United States of America was founded on the principles of freedom — the principle that an individual has rights, and it’s immoral even for the state to infringe them.
And since that time, America has done pretty well. We’ve become the richest country on the planet — a haven of prosperity and the dream destination of many people around the world. While so many others lag behind us, Americans with their freedom have adapted well to every situation and continue to succeed.
So, one could argue that freedom is the best path to prosperity — that authoritarian countries like China are limiting their success by limiting their own people by taking away their freedom.
But you shouldn’t make that argument. Because it’s a bad argument.
Let’s start with one example: Why is the minimum wage bad? Now, despite the broad popularity of raising the minimum wage (especially among people who have never run a business), economists will argue several negative effects of a minimum wage. If a fry cook getting paid $7 an hour was actually only creating $7 an hour in value, but the minimum wage is raised to $15, the employer isn’t going to just pay an extra $8 an hour the employee isn’t worth. Instead, he’ll hire someone who can actually do $15 an hour in value of work, and the $7 an hour fry cook may be out of a job. So is minimum wage bad because it may hurt the people it intends to help?
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