The free market is founded on the principle that man is indeed capable of governing himself. During the course of the American Revolution, many individuals from several countries sacrificed their time, their fortunes, and even their lives for the revolutionary idea that man was destined to be free. In the great history of the world, we have witnessed many great civilizations come and go, and time can all but wash away entirely the ardor once held by a people for certain ideals. Two hundred and forty years have passed since our forefathers made the sacrifice for our independence, and in that time an argument has crept into our society claiming that the free market system which they fought for is corrupt. Many are wondering if unequally divided prosperity should be fought for, or fought against. In this essay, I will argue that the free market system cannot be blamed for corroding moral character. The freedom of choice, which this system bestows upon its participants merely gives us the opportunity to decide for ourselves how we will be remembered.
Many argue that the free market system is founded upon corruption and greed. Its very premise is that men will do everything they can to promote their own self-interest. Some will look at this premise, and quickly assume that this sort of system is perverting individuals to think only of themselves. While this theory is prevalent in today’s society, it is deeply flawed. The magnificence behind the free market system is that it gives every participant to a certain extent, the freedom to act how he so chooses. In a sense, the free market system is the only system in the world, which the participants are given the ability to even have moral character. A controlled economy (the antithesis of a free market economy) believes that a society will have sound moral character if it makes it impossible for its participants to make an incorrect or unethical choice. This economic system has not and cannot succeed in creating a society of superior moral character, because it strips from its participants their very capacity of having moral character in the first place. You cannot say that a cow has good moral character or bad moral character, because it does not have the capacity to make rational decisions. A cow cannot be good or bad, it can only be a cow. A free man however, is the one of the only creatures on earth who possesses the capacity to act out of principle, rather than instinct. If we rob a man from his right to choose for himself, and act on principle, he quickly regresses into a creature similar to the cow. A man without the capacity of choice and reason does not have superior moral character to a man who does have the capacity to freely choose, and behaves poorly. To put it simply, only in the free market system does the true meaning of moral character even exist!