Thursday, November 17, 2005

The converse of Adam Smith

Freedom of economic choice is made possible by physical circumstances that allow economic growth. It can persist only where individuals, in seeking their individual advantage, produce in their collective striving more each year of what people want. When physical circumstances dictate that economies must shrink indefinitely, there will be less each year of what people want, regardless of individual or collective striving. The majority will no longer benefit from the success of advantage seeking by individuals.

Freedom of economic choice cannot survive the coming transition to a permanently contracting economy. The arrangements that will eliminate freedom of economic choice will almost certainly eliminate other freedoms as well.