The Economics of “Free Stuff”

By Jonathan Newman of the Mises Institute


The true costs of “free stuff” from the government are actually immense.  We pay dearly in money, freedom, quality, and choice.  Once government policies are enacted, they are rarely reversed and often made worse.  They never achieve their intended outcome.  Often, they produce the opposite at tremendous cost to individual wealth and freedom.  In order to give things away, wealth must first be created.  There is a big difference between voluntary giving and redistribution by force.  In a free society, wealth is easier to create and keep, which raises the standard of living universally.  Government force chokes the ability to create wealth and thus reduces our standard of living, because the government has no profit and loss motive and therefore no accountability or incentive to fulfill the needs of the individual.  When their policies don’t work, they double down with more forceful policies.  Eventually, the citizens resort to violence and protests to get their “free stuff” as we’ve seen recently in Greece, the UK, Venezuela, and many other government-heavy locations.  This trend will continue until people lose their faith in government and start believing in themselves and their communities.

See a more in-depth exploration at the Mises Institute.


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