Economic Freedom

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Standard Definition

Economic freedom is one of the ideals of free society. It is regarded as a high value in democratic societies.

According to Wikipedia, Economic freedom, or economic liberty, is the ability of people of a society to take economic actions. This is a term used in economic and policy debates as well as in the philosophy of economics.[1][2] One approach to economic freedom comes from the liberal tradition emphasizing free markets, free trade, and private property under free enterprise. Another approach to economic freedom extends the welfare economics study of individual choice, with greater economic freedom coming from a larger set of possible choices.[3] Other conceptions of economic freedom include freedom from want[1][4] and the freedom to engage in collective bargaining.[5] [1].

OSE Definition

OSE takes the definition of Economic Freedom further. First, economic freedom refers to the 4th of the 4 Freedoms of open source development. This is important to OSE as discussed in the Collaborative Singularity.

However, OSE emphasizes that the critical sociological point of economic freedom is this:

Economic freedom is marked by a historical transition of human enterprise where the vast majority of humans are pursuing livelihoods based on Self-Determination, not desperation. To explain - Self-Determination is the latest theory of human motivation. The current economic system is at clear odds with self-determination. How many people work in the area of their true interests - as opposed to being driven by necessity - the need to put food on their table? Necessity should not be the central pursuit of the vast majority of humanity. Meeting of one's needs should be a natural byproduct of daily activities. However, the economic system is currently operating on principles of Artificial Scarcity, and the distribution of prosperity is very much skewed. There is no excuse for this in a society where technological abilituy to produce far outstrips what humans need to live and thrive. This is clear from the fact that marketing, not production, is the central preoccupation of enterprise (since the advent of Bernays)- ie, there are many more goods that companies can sell. That is - since about a century, human economic systems have become sufficiently sophisticated to produce ample surplus for everyone's well-being, obviating the need for slavery of centuries and millenia past. Yet today, most people are in debt, are struggling to pay their bills. This includes the haves and have-nots - where many of the haves struggle with conspicuous consumption, and many of the have-nots struggle with mere survival. Economic freedom marks the point where distribution is solved in the economic system - distribution as in the Distribution of Wealth - a pressing and unsolved frontier of the current economy. The last statement is abstract. To simplify to a more operational definition that can be measured by a simple qeustion - Are you working out of need (to survive and put bread on the table or roof over your head) or out of your need to thrive (true goals and purpose, as described by Self-Determination Theory)?

That is the true attainment of economic freedom: freedom of time, money, relationships. Only when everyone has a vision of this possibility, and access to the opportunity - can we ever talk about true economic freedom. Anything less is a great waste of human life force.