Even limiting ourselves to economics, there are many views of freedom. It is always about whose freedom? What kind of freedom? Freedom from what? Freedom toward what? There are multiple answers to each of those questions.
A wage slave or, if you prefer an indentured servant, locked in a factory in a developing country would have a different notion of freedom than an entrepreneur living in a highly advanced country. That very factory may have been built or invested in by that entrepreneur. Those two people will perceive differently that factory and what it represents. Likewise, they would have different responses in seeking their respective senses of freedom.
There is no objective thing that is 'freedom'. It can't be measured, except as we define it, but no one agrees on its definition. Our personal experiences and life conditions bias our understandings.
I say this as someone who values freedom. The problem is too many people have never thought deeply about freedom. Part of this comes from a lack of historical knowledge. For centuries, there have been competing visions of freedom. Much of the debates during the Enlightenment Age and the early modern revolutionary era involved disagreements about freedom.
There is a complex past, present, and future to freedom. To deny this rich background and these immense potentials is to sell humanity short. We must grapple with these difficult issues if we are to discover a vision of freedom worth fighting for, specifically one that will inspire and unite so many diverse people.
Freedom may be toasted in selected fashionable matters such as gay marriage, but freedom has definitely been decreasing in the economic sphere. The economy is taxed, subsidized, and regulated to death. Entrepeneurs know this.
Not a myth at all.
Freedom has become the dominant ideal of modernity. But it is a confused and confusing concept, built on contradictory rhetoric. Everyone wants to claim it, although there is much diversity in how it is labeled, defined, and envisioned.
It would be hard to find anyone who has truly escaped the gravity of this paradigm. Even in trying to react against some conceptions of it, one just ends up defining one's views within its framework. All debates involve people standing on different sides of this paradigm and claiming the side they see is reality, like the blind men describing the elephant.
I understand that you are unable to see other people's notion of freedom as being, in your worldview, actually about the freedom you know and believe in. But others would respond to your notion of freedom in the same way. Freedom is a slippery concept, able to be so many things to so many people. That is precisely its power.
You are in the process of constructing a myth yourself when you write that almost everybody is for a free economy. My experienced has been that people are for subsidies, entitlements, and regulations at the expense of taxpayers and freedoms. The growing welfare/warfare state is being endorsed at every election cycle. No people will ever be free if they fear freedom.
The problem is that a capitalist free economy has always been a bit of a myth. It sounds good in theory. Almost everyone is for freedom, in all aspects of life and society, including economies. Even Marx supported a free market. But no one has yet proven that capitalism and free markets are simultaneously possible.
There are plenty of capitalist economies in the world that are clearly not based on freedom. That has been the history of capitalism so far. Capitalism is first and foremost about capitalists, but I doubt the present social order ruled by capitalists has much to do with whatever freedom may exist in the world. If anything, our markets are free in spite of capitalists and capitalism, at least as we know it so far.
That said, I could imagine that maybe a different kind of capitalism is possible. If capital was controlled by the workers and citizens of the world, then a free economy might actually be possible. I would point out, however, that economies aren't actually ever free. Only people are free and only free people can express freedom through an economy. No economy will ever make people free.
I admire Pope Francis and give him some slack when he dismisses neoclassical economics. We do not have a market economy where prices are determined by supply and demand. Instead we have a corporatist or political economy of rent seekers looking for a government handout. Prices are set by privilege, subsidy, and taxation.. I am also critical of that economy but too many people mistake that for a free economy.
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