Freedom and Opportunity

Thoughts on a Free Market Economy…

“Freedom and Opportunity”

By Phyllis Hunsinger

July 1, 2015


  “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” Milton Friedman.

To understand the point being made by Milton Friedman, examine the tale of two workplaces.  The first workplace guarantees employees receive an equal amount of income. The second workplace offers employees incentives for extra work, superior service, and innovation. Which workplace is more likely to thrive?  Which employees are more likely to excel? Freedom is about possibility and hope.  Freedom encourages motivation and productivity.  Freedom requires courage and risk with the possibility of greater reward.

Equality for all is only attainable when someone or something has total control over every aspect of an individual’s life.  Equality is about outcomes and control. As Pat Buchanan said, “The greater antagonist of liberty is not the quest for security but our insatiable demand and inexorable drive for equality – not equality of right, but equality of results.”

The phrase, “That’s not fair,” used to be heard frequently on the school grounds when uttered by young children; however, now the phrase is often repeated by unthinking adults. These adults fail to realize the difference between the words “fair” and “equal.” Fair is defined as free from undue influence or advantage, while equal is defined as exactly the same in measure or amount.  Freedom is defined as exempt from the power and control of another.

John Stossel addressed this difference when he said, “Freedom isn’t fair if fair means equal. When people are free, some will be more successful than others. Inequality may seem unfair, but the alternative –  government- forced equality – is  worse.  It leaves everyone poor.”

Freedom gives individuals the opportunity to succeed or to fail based on their own ideas, efforts, and ability to survive in unknown circumstances.  When individuals are given the freedom to create and develop products and to profit from their efforts, there is the potential that everyone may be able to benefit from the results of freedom.  Equality of outcomes, on the other hand, guarantees mediocrity for all.






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