The Austrian Way: is there a most important form of liberty?

We wrote the other day about our love, perhaps infatuation, with liberty.

Within this we talked about leftists some time love for liberty in the social sphere above other forms of liberty and the more right-minded’s preference for economic liberty.

But, when push comes to shove though, and under duress and coercion, we’ll chose economic liberty over social freedoms.

The reason is because humanity is totally based on trade and commerce.

We don’t agree with everything Mrs T said, but we appreciate her sentiments when she argued that “there can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty”.

Preferring business plans to civil rights

Economic liberty is where it all starts in our little mind, because the more free you allow entrepreneurs and businessmen to be, the more they can bring new products, innovations, and disruptive new models and services to us.

The more economic freedom you grant this productive class the more jobs and wealth they can create.

The reason why George Soros loves free societies so much (his family had close brushes with the Nazis) is because he understands plenty about economics and he knows that freer entrepreneurial agents provide a faster pace of change, improvement and innovation.

We agree and would compare bright young things in California tinkering with new tech goodies with the entrepreneurial class in Frace, who are getting persecuted and leaving their homeland in a steady haemoraghing of talent, ideas and capital.

This productive class, of which no-one can be preordained or preselected to be a member, is the dynamo that powers an economy.

In the early years of America, people worked to earn their own seed capital to then start their own gig at the earliest possible opportunity.

The entrepreneurial zeal of the people burned bright, the Federation that evolved was rightly obsessed with liberty, and the economic outcomes were hugely impressive.

In 150 years the USA grew from not much into accounting for over half the world’s economy.

In Europe, perhaps our most similar neighbours, the Germans, have an example of their own too. The small, family-owned business sector in Germany is still an economic dynamo today and globally competitive.

We owe our living standards more to the entrepreneurial class than any other thing.

Jobs, food and shelter trump rainbow flags

Whilst we love civil rights, dislike Guantanamo, loathe persecution everywhere and don’t mind who you kiss, shag or marry, there is no point being able to do the nicer, fluffier more social and personal things if the economy is non-existent or bust.

There’s no joy in being able to marry another man, woman, or even animal, if you’ve got nothing to eat.

There’s little point in being able to practice whatever bizarre religion who prefer, if you’ve got no roof over your head.

It’s only natural that civil rights campaigners and lovers sort out their job, sustenance and shelter, before turning their well-intentioned minds to all those oppressed souls.

The wider flourishing and freedoms of an advanced free society come after the economics have been sorted.

Doffing your cap in the right direction

It is for all these reasons that we offer most praise and gratitude to entrepeneurs.

They can be an odd, imbalanced, sometimes egotistical, sometimes crazy or even sociopathic lot, but they sit on the furthest and most generative end of the consumer-producer spectrum.

They create capital like no other group.

We truly believe the Larrys and Sergeys, the Bransons, the Stelios’, the Dysons and characters like Felix Dennis deserve more reverence than anyone else we hold high.

These economic apostles, in our eyes, deserve more kudos than any sports star, musician, film-writer, actor, chef or other form of celebrity.

Their work and offerings, weighed, measured and valued by us and by millions of other democratic votes in the market, improve our diet, health, transport, housing, communications, hobbies, down-time and everything else in our lives. They lift us up and enable ever greater advancement of humanity.

We thank them and understand our dependence on them.

Call this our ode to the entrepreneur.

4 comments on “The Austrian Way: is there a most important form of liberty?

  1. Colin
    July 31, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Personally I think the economic/social freedom divide is a false dichotomy. Liberty is indivisible. People are either free or they’re not. If people are free in some aspects of their lives but not in others, then they’re not free.

    I also think there’s a danger that people on the political right sometimes talk about entrepreneurs as if they’re the only people whose interests are important. Similarly the left talk as if “the workers” were all that mattered. The left need to learn that the people who organise businesses and provide the capital also matter, and the right need to learn that the people who actually do the work matter too.

  2. Tim
    August 5, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Also lower taxes attract capital. It therefore becomes a political desideratum to create a financial environment where funds can be sourced. Luckily London is still a good place to do that but it’s getting worse…we need to watch our competitive status.


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