Freedom Manifesto: Why Free Markets Are Moral and Big Government Isn’t

Here’s a new way of thinking about the role of government and the morality of free markets.

According to Steve Forbes, iconic editor in chief of Forbes Media, and Elizabeth Ames (who coauthored How Capitalism Will Save Us with Forbes), Americans today are at a turning point.

Are we a coun­try founded on the values of freedom and limited gov­ernment, as envisioned by the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution?

Or do we want to become a European-style socialist democ­racy?

What best serves the public good—freedom or Big Government?

In Freedom Manifesto, Forbes and Ames compose a new twist on this historic debate. They argue that bloated and bureau­cratic government, despite liberal spin to the contrary, is anything but a force for compassion.

Further, they ask (and conclude):

  • Does Big Government assure fairness? No, it promotes favoritism.
  • Does Big Government further opportunity? No, it actually stifles economic growth.
  • Does Big Government allow innovation and material abundance? Not by a long shot; its massive regulations and price controls foster rigidity and scarcity.

In fact, not only are Big Govern­ment’s inefficient and ever-expanding bureaucracies ill-equipped to deliver on their promises—they are often guilty of the very greed, excess, and corruption routinely ascribed to the private sector.

The only way to a truly fair and moral society, the authors argue, is through economic freedom—free people and free markets.

Throughout history, open markets have helped the poor and everyone else by unleashing unprecedented creativity, generating wealth, and raising living standards. Promoting trust, generosity, and de­mocracy, economic freedom has been a more powerful force for individual rights, self-determination—and hu­manity—than any government bureaucracy.

What’s more, Forbes and Ames provide a fully developed framework of “first principles” for a true understanding of the real moral and ethical distinctions between more and less government.

(Related: Forbes sounds off on Twitter, defending former GE CEO Jack Welch’s criticism of President Obama’s job numbers.)

Freedom Manifesto captures the spirit of a new movement that challenges old ideas about the morality of government and markets for the first time since the Great Depression. This timely and provocative work demonstrates why free markets and liberty are the only pathways to a brighter future and truly great society.

Check out Forbes chatting with Andrew Wilkow about Freedom Manifesto on TheBlaze TV:

Here’s a breakdown of Freedom Manifesto by its telling chapter titles:

  1. FedEx or the Post Office? Free Markets Meet People’s Needs, Big Government Meets Its Own Needs
  2. Freedom or Big Brother? Choice Versus Coercion
  3. Silicon Valley or Detroit? Creativity Versus Rigidity
  4. Paychecks or Food Stamps? Empowerment Versus Dependence
  5. Apple or Solyndra? Meritocracy Versus Cronyism
  6. The Spirit of Reagan—or Obama? Optimism and Cooperation Versus Pessimism and Distrust