Food For Thought: Does Economic Freedom Entail Political Freedom?




In the modern world, politicians often debate about what they deem, the “correct” way to run an economy. Ideally, the economy would give individuals freedom to manage their resources in order to prosper. In addition, one would like political freedom to have equal opportunities for participation and to be properly represented by having one’s voice heard by those in charge. However, despite the fact that it is often believed that economic and political freedoms go hand in hand, the spread of free market liberalism has often been accompanied by restrictions on many people’s freedom. What may explain this puzzle? A possible answer to this question lies in the fact that restrictions to people’s political freedom occur due to the income inequality gap that free market capitalism entails. A second possible answer states that a decrease in political freedom may occur because increased economic freedom can allow a certain group to thrive, therefore making this group more susceptible to political discrimination or persecution by other groups who are not benefiting from the free economy and see the discrepancy as an unfair advantage. Which hypothesis do you agree with? Can you think of other possible explanations?