Fitzhugh : What is wrong with the free market
“When we look to the vegetable, animal, or human kingdoms we discover in them all a constant
conflict, a war, or race of competition, the result of which is, that the weaker or less healthy
genera, speacies and invididucals are continually displaced and eterminated by the stronger
and mor hardy. Nature is perfecting its own work. We, however witness the war, but do not see
It is, then, that war or conflict to which Nature impels her creatures, and which
government was intended to restrict.
The question is, whether the proposed restrictions are sufficient to neutralize the
self-destructive tendencies which nature impresses on society.
The struggle to better ones conditions to pull others down or supplant
them is the great organic law of free society. All mean being equal, all aspire to the
highest honors and possessions. Good men and bad men teach their children one and
the same lesson “Go ahead, push your way in the world.”
None but selfish vitures are encouraged
“Everyman for himself, and devil take the hindmost,” is the moral which liberty
and free competition inculcate.
Those go better themselves push others down
The moral effect of free society is to banish Christian virtue, that virtue which bids
us love our neighbor as ourself, and to substitute the very equivocal virtues
proceeding from mere selfishness.
Hospitality is considered criminal waste
Code of honor foolish
Taste, sentiment, imagination, are forbidden ground, because no money
Race to the bottom
– the rich man, however good he may be, employs the laborer who
will work for the least wages. The poor war with one another in the race of competition,
in order to get employment, by underbidding; laborers are more abundant than
employers. Populations increases faster than capital.
This process of underbidding never ceses so long as employers want profits or
laborers want employment. It ends when wages are reduced too low to afford
subsistence, in filling poor-houses, and jails, and graves.