If you had to choose one or the other - between political freedom and economic freedom, having one and not the other - which would you choose? With only a little thought, you would likely choose economic freedom since it rules more of our lives, provides our living, and provides the widest range of personal choice in our daily life.
This is partly a trick question. One cannot choose to have political freedom and forego economic freedom.
Many people see political freedom and economic freedom as unrelated - believing that individual freedom is a political problem and material welfare an economic problem. And that therefore, being unconnected, any economic arrangement can be coupled with any political arrangement.
From a practical standpoint freedom of economic transaction and arrangement is part of, and fundamental to individual freedom. How can one be politically free and not be economically free? What value would there be in a political freedom which did not also allow us to make our own decisions about what products we buy or sell, what job we wish to perform and what employer we wish to work for? In fact, economic freedom is the most important freedom we can possess. It embodies our rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and is essentially the same thing.
Economic freedom is essential to political freedom - political freedom cannot be said to exist if it does not also grant freedom of economic decision and activity. At least we cannot point to an example in history of political freedom in the absence of economic freedom in a like amount. Nor can we reconcile how it would work in theory. There are examples in history of societies that voted away their economic freedom or parts of it and then discovered that there is also a price in a like amount of political freedom.
Article topics for this category
Topics (sub-categories) and articles in this category can discuss a range of topics that relate to economic freedom. These include (but not necessarily limited to):
- which has its own homepage: Category:Wealth and Poverty