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The Miracle of the Marketplace - Eric Palmieri
Imagine for a moment, a place where people of every age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, culture, and socio-economic class could come together peacefully, without strife, without division, and without anger and violence.
No, this place is not some hypothetical paradise or the subject of a John Lennon song: it’s your local shopping mall, grocery store, or restaurant. On a larger scale, its the local theater, sports venue, or concert hall. Perhaps its a food truck festival, farmer’s market, or electronics convention.
Everyday we enter these spaces and interact with people who could not be more different than us…and somehow there is peace. In a world that seems to be so divided in so many different ways, how is it that we can all come together day in and day out in relative peace and harmony?
It’s quite simple really; a free and open marketplace creates spaces where people can engage with one another in relationships that are mutually beneficial and peaceful. This truth is evident on scales both large and small.
Since the end of the Cold War, free trade has continued to blossom around the world, and as a result we have seen not only a dramatic decline in global poverty, but a decline in global conflict that by historical standards is almost inconceivable.
War, of course, has not been eradicated from the human experience, as it is still a part of life in many parts of the world. However, compared to all the periods that preceded it, the past 30 years have been the most peaceful in the history of the world as we know it, and the role free and open global trade in preventing war cannot be ignored.
In a purely free market, either both parties get what they want or nobody gets what they want. The system encourages and rewards peaceful cooperation. The system punishes bad service, fraud, negligence, theft, and violence as nobody wants to engage in commerce with someone who engages in these behaviors.
All of this peaceful collaboration happens in a seemingly seamless fashion. Just think about all of the people, goods, services, companies, materials, and interactions that take place simply for you to drive home from the grocery store with a bag of oranges from Florida:
Hundreds of people had to grow, pick, wash, package, and ship the oranges. But it doesn’t end there. What about the people who manufactured the tools being used by the orange grove workers? What about the people who built the trucks that deliver the oranges? What about the people who built the tires on those trucks? What about the people harvested the raw materials needed to make the rubber those tires are made from?
There are literally MILLIONS, maybe even BILLIONS of interactions that take place every day between people with infinite differences amongst them so that a bag of oranges can make in onto your kitchen counter…
…and all of it happens through voluntary collaboration without any economic or political overlords pulling the strings.
It truly is a miracle, one that happens every single day, and one that should be appreciated, embraced, and protected against those who would seek to corrupt and control it from the halls of power. edit.