The “Free Market”: Inherent Virtue or Merely a Deceptive Misnomer?

Free market capitalism is an economic system dreamt up by humans to facilitate trade amongst each other in a way its proponents would argue is moral. Is it a good idea? What are its logical ends? Who wins and who loses?

Part 1: Human History’s Greatest Economic Experiments

For thousands of years, the average human toiled through hopeless poverty under the rule of tyrants. One’s lifestyle was simply determined by the name of their parents, a social order enforced by the extreme minority at the top of society’s food chain. The very ideas of potential and opportunity were ruthlessly crippled for the benefit of the few. Average people simply hoped to receive enough bread and water to sustain into tomorrow – a lifestyle that most in the modern civilized world will (hopefully) never know or truly understand.

Unfortunately, many humans are still bound to living under conditions similar to those described above. Why? Are they naturally less capable than those in civilized societies? What stands between them and the prosperity that continues to elude them?

Below is a satellite image showing two adjacent countries with similar natural resources (North and South Korea). One of these governments has implemented a free market system (focusing on the individual), while the other professes the virtues of a centrally planned economic approach (a heavy emphasis on the collective). One of them strictly controls its people’s emigration, while the other allows essentially complete freedom for its citizens to leave the country. One of them expends notable resources to jam radio waves, while the other embraces outside ideas.

The argument between ideologues in either corner rages on over these countries’ starkly contrasting socioeconomic theories, and yet human history, while sometimes muddled, takes a clear side in this particular philosophical battle for those who care to listen. From the perspective of an objective onlooker high above, what does empirical evidence say about these socioeconomic theories as their logical ends are manifested in a spectacular visual commentary? Image