In the first chapter of “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Friedman, the somewhat timely argument is made for the invisible but very important link between political and economic freedom. Friedman observes that within contemporary discourses the link between political and economic freedom is not a widely established one but there is an “intimate connection between economics and politics”.
The reason that reflecting on what Milton Friedman said is important is because the current trends in British political life suggest a move towards economic totalitarianism, with the aims of protecting disadvantaged groups. However, within this article, I will argue that economic totalitarianism is not correct way to go.
The main reason for the rise of economic totalitarianism is due to the current rejection, although misunderstood, of, globalization. Globalization has allowed for higher qualities of goods and services as well as free movement of capital and labour which has created diversification amongst native populations of nations as well as an increase in prosperity for posterity. However, as a result of this multiculturalism has become prevalent. Thus, the native population has felt rejected by this because they feel threatened by the lack of integration and competition in the job market. Therefore, a “British jobs for British workers” attitude has become prevalent in the current electoral climate with suggested policies such as The Immigration Skills Charge.
However, this anger is misguided and misdirected. This is because history eloquently shows that when governments step up in markets, freedom steps down. This is because, much like Edmund Burke's assertions that there is no nation with an aristocracy, there is no government without utopian technocrats of great energy and mind willing to diminish freedom to see their plans for control and favouritism executed.
This dangerous behaviour can be seen within the energy markets. In recent years the government has set decarbonisation target that encouraged energy providers to use new renewable technologies. However, as a result of this prices rose by 32%, it also failed to lower CO2 emissions and led to the tightest supply margins of the past quarter century, which raised costs further. Thus, consumer mobility within the energy market was greatly reduced as companies were not able to adjust prices according to global trends.
Thus, within that simple example we can see how freedom directly linked to economics can limit personal freedom.
Therefore, within this election, freedom will be expunged, whoever wins.