Who Needs Economic Freedom When You Can Vote?

Jason Brennan,

Release Date
August 2, 2012


Democracy and Voting

Although everyone agrees that freedom is important, political freedoms are often prioritized over economic freedoms.  Many believe that the best way to maximize personal freedom is to furnish each individual with an equal voice in the democratic decision-making process.  After all, the logic goes, how can you be unhappy with a choice that you had a hand in making?
Professor Jason Brennan explains that an equal vote is not tantamount to personal freedom.  In fact, he posits that many democratic outcomes are injurious to individual freedom.  Unless it is limited by a constitution that protects certain rights, majority rule can make individual liberty all but illusionary.  If we truly care about freedom, Professor Brennan argues, then individuals should be given the largest possible sphere of personal and economic autonomy.  Only then will individuals be allowed to take full control by making choices about all facets of their lives – not simply which lever to pull on election day.
As Professor Brennan concludes, economic liberty is about much more than dollars and cents; it’s about allowing individuals to “lead the lives that they regard as authentically theirs.”