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Essence of Economic Freedom By Plato

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America is the freest nation in the world. A lot of people dream of getting into this country and have the same opportunities that Americans have. In other words, opportunities mean freedom, freedom of choice. The concept of freedom, as the right of choice, originated in ancient Greece, it has played a fundamental role in the development of people over the past few thousand years. It was gradually transforming each person from a passive object of biological evolution into an active participant in society. Freedom is very important to American society. In many countries, a person’s freedom is very limited because of the behavior and policies of the state. There are certain threats to freedom which are currently affecting other countries and can affect America in a future. Concentration of power, government and ignorance from the people can be considered as serious threats to freedom. However, people have a natural power to stand up for their rights and protect their freedom and the freedom of society. There are lots of ways to preserve freedom.

Plato (a student of Socrates and a teacher of Aristotle) in his book “The Republic” wrote that the quality of a person’s choice (the degree of his freedom) depends on the knowledge and wisdom that he acquires on his life path. Freedom is the opportunity to choose and make a decision logically, based on the internal values, needs and current situation. If a person is born originally free, then, without an understanding of this world, he would immediately act from infancy in the way, which is necessary for him or her. That means, the acts will be inefficient, based on a lack of information. Therefore, a person is born completely helpless and completely dependent on parents. Gradually developing, he gains different levels of freedom. At first, an infant is fed only milk, then a child gains the freedom to choose food. When a kid learns to walk, he or she gains freedom of movement. Each year the child is given more decisions, gradually teaching him more freedom.

“Observation fully confirms what reflection teaches us on this subject: Savage man and civilized man differ so much in their inmost heart and inclinations that what constitutes the supreme happiness of the one would reduce the other to despair” Rousseau, J. J. (1754). Selections. A dissertation on the origin and foundation of the inequality of mankind..

Each person has a different understanding of freedom. Different people will talk about freedom in different ways, depending on education, social environment, mentality and internal values. Humans will also think differently about love, will, faith, creativity, which are disclosing in a new way with every stage of life. Just as a person, who is rising uphill, he or she sees more, develops, gains new knowledge and comes to the new values and goals with each new stage of the ascent. It indicates that with each level of development the understanding of the world becomes wider and deeper. If you ask children at school what freedom is, the answer is likely to be ‘holidays’. While education, not the “rest” from it, is a true freedom. An educated person has a wider choice of future for himself and his family.

Ancient Greek Philosopher Socrates two and a half thousand years ago changed the history by starting to think about human race, while other philosophers of his time were debating about nature. Socrates believed that the fate of each person is not predetermined and that a person determines his future independently and does not follow what was already destined. The recognition and acceptance by a person of a full responsibility for his life made the idea of Socrates’s freedom important and famous. Also, the courage of the movement against traditional views, religion and society made a contribution to Socrates’s fame.

The art of predictions was developed in the ancient world. People went to the oracle for almost every decision. The Greeks saw the key to the interpretation of the mysterious will of fate both in dreams and in the flight of birds. It was impossible to change fate, but luck could be obtained through the favor of the Gods. Just like ancient Greeks people nowadays are trying to shift the responsibility for our future to someone else, who has better opinion. People tend to not believe in their efforts, in their thoughts it will not be enough to solve the existing difficulties. It is done usually because it is hard to overcome own mistakes. People do not like the hard way in life, but each of us has the right to choose. The concept of freedom always has its second half – responsibility. The more freedom, the more responsibility. This is both its price and its reward. And the more a person deserves freedom, the more responsibility he gains. Freedom is the power and the right to act according free will, understanding and accepting all the responsibility of actions and all the consequences of choices.

The measure of freedom of a smart and developed person is responsibility. The responsibility for people’s actions is described in detail both in the constitution and in the criminal code of any country. A free man consciously chooses a debt, and what he or she should do. That is the essence of freedom. The level of freedom and the degree of responsibility is expressed by a duty that a person voluntarily and consciously takes. Duty determines a person’s freedom. Perhaps the concept of duty was also introduced into ancient philosophy by Socrates, who showed his civic duty by submitting to a court decision (with which he did not agree) and accepted death.

A person’s freedom is an opportunity to independently control his behavior and choose his debt regardless of external influence. When a person doesn’t want to take the responsibility or the debt and willing to transfer it to other people, the soft despotism comes in play. As Sharansky said “Freedom’s skeptics must understand that the democracy that hates you is less dangerous than the dictator who loves you” Sharansky, N. (2006). Preface. The case for democracy: The power of freedom to overcome tyranny and terror. New York: Public Affairs.. When the government takes the responsibility and decides what is best is no longer freedom, no matter how “nice” the government is.

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For a chance of development and for general freedom (people become freer as choices become wider) a free market economy is needed. Nevertheless, the market itself only provides an opportunity to find the most profitable way so that we can be useful to each other, it doesn’t do anything by itself.

The free market is not excellent, it does not offer solution on its own. It is excellent because at its core it brings freedom, the freedom that individuals use to search for new ways of life in harmony with the interests of their neighbors. Of course, there are problems and abuses associated with the market, but entrepreneurs, if they are not disturbed by the state, are looking for solutions to these problems in their pursuit of profit. Through these entrepreneurs, the market constantly meets the most urgent needs and the needs of consumers.

Due to the fact that the entrepreneurs are economically free, different individuals can better understand each other’s needs and voluntarily exchange goods and services. Only in this way people can provide incentives for exchange and trade with each other to improve the situation for each of them, while not requiring intervention from the government. Many competent people do not need a state to solve their problems, they just need freedom. For instance, not enough supply can be easily decided by the people who want to make profit out of this problem. In this way both will benefit, consumers and provider.

Free market is the best decision for giving more freedom to the people. Lesson 14.1 Much better than socialism, which is on one hand more peaceful, but, on the other hand, has no motivation for growth, in this way no improvement or development, what means less freedoms.

Plato also condemned full freedom, believing that gaining freedom as the goal of life to some extent interferes with the formation of the concept of society. In his book “The Republic” (360 BCE), he claims that the main purpose of human life is not to achieve freedom, but to serve society. Civil society is what people are, all natural and voluntary associations, which don’t require government. “Inverse relationship between civil society and political society – more of one means less of the other”. Less of civil activities and associations result in more government, fewer connections, psychological manipulation, less protection of our freedom and more power for politicians and government. According to Plato, even poets need to be driven out of the country, because they weaken people’s loyalty with their ‘mournful cries’. Plato is the first philosopher to talk about the dangers of permissiveness for fragile minds, because a person is weak and is a “captive of the sensual world”, who “tends to abuse freedom”.

In the third part of Plato’s writings there is the phrase “exorbitant freedom … for the state … turns into excessive servitude”. In “The Laws” Plato wrote: “I see the near death of that state where the law has no force and is under someone’s authority. Where the law is the sovereign over the rulers, and they are its slaves, I see the salvation of the state and all the blessings that the gods can bestow on the states.”. Therefore, it is the inviolability of the law that Plato claims is “the only true expression of freedom..

Also, The Declaration of Independence is clearly stating that the laws are made for protecting human’s rights and freedoms: “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness”. Following the law will help people to maximize their freedom.

Ancient Greeks gave people freedom and inspiration to intellectually develop and improve, which served as an impetus for the development of modern science. For many years, philosophers were thinking about responsibility and will, duty, and the danger of complete freedom, education and wisdom, helping to form a stable modern society.

For the health of freedom everyone needs to educate themselves and be competent enough to deal with all the problems which arise. Only then the nation will be free with no need for government intrusion.

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Essence of Economic Freedom By Plato. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from
“Essence of Economic Freedom By Plato.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
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