write 150 words each about your opinion regarding two blog posts
A free market is defined as an unregulated system of economic exchange in which taxes, quality controls, quotas, tariffs, and other forms of centralized economic interventions by the government either do not exist or are minimal (Orlitzky, 2020). This economic system does not exist as there is no such thing as an economy that is entirely free of government restrictions and regulations. However, the United States economy comes as close as an economy can when it comes to being a free economy (The Heritage Foundation, 2021). Multiple characteristics account for a free economy, and the USA occupies quite a few of them. The most common characteristic associated with a free economy is when the supply and demand in a nation control the pricing of commodities, and the consumer is in control of the market (Wright & Rogers, 2015). The US’s supply and demand do, in fact, control pricing for almost all services except government-regulated services that are regarded as necessities. The US government has specific regulations on certain commodities that are universally considered necessities because these necessities are at risk of being monopolized and inflating in terms of pricing. These government-funded and regulated resources include water, electricity, public schooling, public transportation, etc (Wright & Rogers, 2015).
There is a common misconception that a free market means economic freedom attainable by all and extended to all parties and economic groups in the US. The reality of the situation is that economic freedom is extended to producers regarding what they want to produce; consequently, the supply and demand forces in terms of prices and goods are to be produced (Wright & Rogers, 2015). Profitability is the deciding factor and motive for all private production; this is typical of a majority free-market economic system and a majority capitalistic state. The term “free” market creates a slight irony as the concept of free-market economies revolves around companies and big corporations acting on a pure profitability motive (Wright & Rogers, 2015). Companies in the US go out of their way to achieve maximum profitability by sparing many expenses. Some pay the minimum wage set by the US government, some firms have been known to attempt to evade taxes, and other firms even move their production units in third-world countries to achieve even cheaper labor, paying them amounts far below the known minimum wage of the US (O’Rourke, 2017).
All of this further indicates the lack of freedom regular members of the potential and existing labor forces face. There is a plethora of underpaid workforce members and little to no action taken despite multiple appeals and efforts of expensive trade unions (Wright & Rogers, 2015). The free-market system extends its benefits to big producers and corporations. Free market systems also heavily induce significant inequalities when it comes to wealth as the government only regulates the minimum wage amount (Wright & Rogers, 2015). The significant inequality in wealth distribution is apparent when looking at statistics pertaining to the demographic in the US that lives below the poverty line, 33.1 million Americans as of 2018 (CCHD, 2021). This results from the economic system dominated by giant corporations prioritizing profitability to human rights and good labor conditions. Here it is clear who exactly is “free” in a free market system.
On the upper hand, however, free-market systems allow numerous goods to be available on the market and fair competition; it also allows producers to be innovative and strengthen the economy through their incoming revenue streams and supply and demand forces (Wright & Rogers, 2015). State-regulated production lessens innovation, limiting consumers to hardly any products and creating a monotonous market with no competition. There is no concept of trends and demands in a command economic system. The government being the controller of a market ensures the bare minimum for a consumer and limits any competition. Advancements in technology and creativity within businesses would be non-existent in North Korea and Cuba, both majority state-regulated economies (“Reporters sans frontières – Internet – South Korea”, 2008).
In conclusion, the US economy is a majority capitalistic one, with about 78% of its market freedom. Government regulation is limited to public goods to avoid private monopolies of necessities. The free market system in the US has lead to significant inequalities in the distribution of wealth among workers and a large portion of the population living below the poverty line. The freedom expected of such an economic system is extended to mainly large profit-seeking corporations who have little to no regard for laborers and fair wealth distribution.
Although many like to dismiss the claims that the US prison system is built around slavery and the idea that black people within the country need to be constantly policed, over time we see that these claims are not unfounded. While the over policing of black people within America has existed for the longest time, the growth in popularity of the black lives matter movement this past summer, has made it abundantly clear to many that the lives of black people are of much less value to the police. Those who are sworn in to “serve and protect” only do so for the rich and white people, and have proven themselves to be more than ready to arrest or shoot at unarmed black people, who a lot of the time, have done nothing to warrant this type of response.
While the slavery abolition act was written and called for the abolition of slavery in 1833, slavery in the US was not actually officially abolished until December of 1865 (History.com, 2009). The prison and criminal justice system, although existing previously, began to allow prisons to lease the labor of their prisoners, and specifically black prisoners to private businesses in order to make money, which is suspicious to say the least. 5 years later, some states, specifically in the south decided that prisoners, who were also mainly black men who had been arrested for small and unnecessary reasons, if there were reasons at all, no longer deserved rights, and were to be considered as “slaves of the state”. After some time, the federal prison system was set up, then the leasing of prisoners was no longer allowed, however, there soon came the opportunity to use the prisoners as laborers for the federal prison industry, under the guise of teaching prisoners work skills, whether they had a chance to leave the system or not, and thus, prison labor was born (Sweet, J., 2020).
While being arrested and being sent to prison was the lesser of two evils, with the existence of lynching, for most black people at that time, it meant that the freedom you and your people fought for was being taken away, almost as soon as it was given to you, and you went back to being a slave. According to many sources, namely the documentary 13th (2016), the number and types of reasons to arrest black people has increased significantly, leading to mass incarceration also increasing significantly, and especially since the war on drugs. With all the examples given by the documentary, and the history presented thoroughly throughout, it is difficult for one to disagree that new laws over time, since the abolition of slavery, were not made with black people in mind. Once they are arrested, they are once again reverted back into slaves of the country, and we see that not a lot is done to save these people from the impending doom that is the prison system, whether they actually commit a crime or not. It is also abundantly clear, to me at least, that these “job training programs” are nothing more than a reframing of the way in which black prisoners were leased to corporations for their labor.
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