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Liberty and community: Commercial societies

by Learn Liberty

According to Professor James Otteson, one of the greatest challenges often presented against individual liberty and free markets is that they are atomizing.

Essentially, it is claimed that people within a commercial society begin to view one another as competitors. This critique goes as far back as at least Karl Marx.

Although there is some truth to this, what is often overlooked by these critics is the enormous amount of social cooperation that takes place within a commercial society. For instance, a raggedy old wool coat may seem simple enough, but bringing that coat to the market required countless individuals to cooperate with one another. It required people to raise and take care of sheep, harvest wool, transform wool into a usable material, dye material, cut material, sew material into a coat, and transport the coat to market. Each one of these steps required social cooperation and tools made by other people. This insight goes as far back as at least Adam Smith.

Bringing this insight into the 21st century, with all the goods and services that are available to us, you can begin to see the massive amount of social cooperation that takes place in a modern commercial society.

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Resources

You can make use of the following text and video to expand your knowledge and understanding of the topic covered in this unit.

A University Built By The Invisible Hand

Are Corporations People?

Capitalism In One Lesson

Capitalism Is NOT Imperialism

Capitalism Vs Statism

Competition And Cooperation

Do Women Earn Less Than Men?

Do You Want To Live In The World Of Atlas Shrugged?

Edgar The Exploiter

Does Trade Promote Peace?

Free Market Myths Debunked

How Free Is The “Free Market”?

How The Free Market Works

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Liberty And Community: Commercial Societies

Market Anarchism Vs Market Statism

Myth Of The Free Market

Social Cooperation: Why Thieves Hate Free Markets

The Trouble With Bureaucracy

What Is Capitalism?

What Is The Free Market?

What Should We Think Of Chain Stores?

Why Do We Exchange Things?

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