Aristotle once wrote that there are such things as “natural slaves” (he said that slavery can only be justified with natural slaves, and not those who desire to make their own choices and pursue their own goals), and I have often said that in reality there are few people who want nothing more than to be told what to do (discounting those who prefer being told what to do simply because they have had to grow accustomed to it). And yet I cannot help but think that it depends on how this concept is interpreted.
In theory we could one day realize that complete economic freedom which we seem to be striving towards i.e. freedom from the necessity of human economic productivity, whereby machines would do all of our work. But how would human society respond? Some people would excel in such a world of freedom. They would become happier, more learned, more creative, more physically active, more charitable, and more socially productive. However, it seems quite likely that most would completely flounder.
How many people are socially productive in the spare time? How many people want to be if given the choice? Would a world of academics, sportspeople, artists, writers etc realistically come to pass? Or would we have a world of Hedonists, bent more towards personal short term pleasure than anything else? Combined with the forces of conservativism, which would remind people about how big a cause of depression economic unemployment has been, jobs may continue to exist solely for creative reasons, and the peer pressure for people to get an economic as opposed to social job may in fact stay.
Just as children need rules, do some adults need to be controlled (I’m not talking about criminals here, or the extent to which freedom for one person can restrict the freedom of another so please don’t open this topic in the reply)? Perhaps you think that we all need to be controlled, and that our efforts to ask for guidance from God(s) are just an example of this. In other words, in a world of economic freedom:
- Would all people (as a collective) be happier with freedom?
- Would they be happier if all people still had to work, but a reduced number of hours?
- Or would they be happier if people could obtain freedom in order to pursue socially productive, but not personally productive, goals?
P.S. To see some other recent blog posts about freedom please see the below:
- Is Freedom an Option?
- What Freedoms Should We be Allowed?
- Are We Truly Free?
- Is the Internet an Obstacle to Freedom of Speech?
- Do Democratic Freedoms Aid Economic Growth?
- To What Extent Should Places Like China Have the Freedom to Handle Human Rights Issues as They Want?
- Is Freedom of Speech a Natural Right?