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13 August 2012

"Economic Freedom"?

A clever trick of neoliberal economists has been to call the license of individuals and corporations to amass wealth beyond measure “economic freedom,” as though it were equal to human rights. They claim the right to maximize one's wealth.

The idea of “economic freedom” conflicts with the reality that the world’s resources are limited and that some actions limit the opportunities of others. In law, we grant individual rights only to the extent that they do not harm others. Prout includes this idea in economics.

excerpted from After Capitalism: Economic Democracy in Action by Dada Maheshvarananda (Puerto Rico: Innerworld Publications, 2012).

The chart below shows what percentage of jobs — about 1 in 4 in the United States — pay low wages and do not offer employment benefits like health insurance, retirement savings accounts, paid sick days or family leave. These low-wage jobs are replacing jobs that have historically supported a broad middle class.

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