Would the Free Market Save the World?

When I was watching the movie Deep Impact the other day, I realized that most people are perfectly fine with the implementation of socialism in a crisis. In the film, President Morgan Freeman, along with the other heads of state throughout the world, hide the fact that an “Extinction Level Event” (E.L.E.) was coming to destroy mankind, within only about a year. An asteroid 7-miles in diameter was on a collision course with Earth and that only the glorious government could save us.

He states: “Our society will continue as normal. Work will go on. You will pay your bills. There will be no hoarding. There will be no sudden profiteering. I am freezing all wages, all prices. What a bottle of water cost you yesterday, it will cost you tomorrow.”

To many people, this seems like a reasonable solution. However, it fundamentally ignores a basic law of economics: supply and demand. If there is a higher demand for a product (in this case water, food, and emergency supplies) with the same amount of supply (which would be impossible to increase with both frozen prices and wages, keeping employers from hiring more labor at a lower price, or increasing pay for high-performing employees who create more product) the price for a product must increase for the system to remain stable. It would be impossible to keep people from hoarding without a system of rationing, which the government has tried before.

It is ironic that the government generally disincentivizes and discourages saving and preparation, through taxes, inflation, and artificial adjustments in interest rates. If people were incentivized to prepare ahead of time, when an eventual calamity approaches, more people would be prepared and less prone to panic and hoard.

Government can only inhibit the ability of a free society to protect itself from natural disaster, by falsely claiming to be the Messiah in desperate situations. (Ironically “Messiah” was the name of the spaceship meant to save the world from the asteroid in Deep Impact.) No central authority can ever accurately predict prices, adjust for supply and demand, and prepare a society for apocalypse, with any sort of certainty. Yet, because disaster only serves to increase the power of the government, it’s hard to imagine a government willingly surrendering power during a crisis.

If the events in Deep Impact actually occurred, the forced fixation of prices and wages would create a shortage in water and food which would be necessary to get society through the next year. It would also create a shortage in all other resources necessary to allow society to be prosperous. This would result in a labor shortage, which would be desperately needed to build a “Messiah” spaceship. The incoming destruction would create more panic

A free-market system would allow families to get the proper amount of supplies appropriate for them at a fair-market value. The cost of creating a water bottle would vary, because the prices of the resources required vary. According to Thomas Sowell, the real cost of anything is the alternative uses of the scarce resources required to create the item.

The free-market not only dictates prices and costs of items necessary during disaster to ensure the most production, it reduce shortages, and society spontaneously prioritizes what is most important for the future. It is obviously within the self-interest of businesses, families, and consumers to prevent the destruction of the Earth. That is with the exception of those who seek power and profit at the cost of all mankind, through subjugation. That means, in lieu of government force, no single bureaucrat, regulation, or mandate would prevent mankind from saving itself.

If an Extinction Level Event were imminent, and preventable by mankind, a free society would be the most capable to render a solution. The false Messiahs in Washington D.C. would inevitably claim to hold a monopoly on hope, but will never create or promote the means necessary to save the world, in any manner as efficiently or effectively. The free-market would create the necessary spaceships, lasers, soundwaves, warheads, telepathic and clairvoyant ray-guns, and whatever else possible and necessary if and when the market demands to prevent destruction.

Regardless of what President Morgan Freeman thinks of his own understanding, the free-market can and will save the world, if we allow it.

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