Re: Working for love.

Paul Gilbert (
Wed, 01 Apr 1998 14:19 -0700 (MST)

I didn't think this was a political mailing list, but with all the
activity lately, I can't resist making a few comments:

1. Someone implied it's immoral to ask someone to provide a service
without financial compensation. How can that be? There is volunteer
work going on all over the planet. Is all that immoral? Presumably
people get something in return for their service or they probably
wouldn't be doing it. Some of the volunteers have confirmed that they
are receiving great intangible rewards for their efforts. Of course
volunteer work is limited to people who can afford to do it, but
what's wrong with that? If it's immoral to ask someone to work, is it
also immoral to ask for a monetary donation? Apparently, this is a
moral system I don't understand. I would appreciate an explanation or
reference that would allow me to learn more about it.

2. I would hope people involved with Sudbury-style school would be
acutely aware of the root of the pay problem: the
government-dominated school system.

3. Someone questioned the morality of free markets. Of course, we
don't have a free market in the U.S.; we have something in between. So
the people who want more free markets can argue that our problems are
caused by too little freedom. And the people who want less can argue
that our problems are caused by too much freedom. And maybe some
people think it's just right and this is the best humanity can do.

I'm convinced that the evidence supports the first of these 3 views.
Markets are a medium for voluntary exchange. Voluntary exchange allows
people to cooperate for mutual benefit--in today's lingo, a "win-win"
solution. Free markets allow maximum social cooperation. Add up all
the win-win situations and society thrives.

I was surprised to see the comment about "thousands of children who at
this moment in the United States are hungry as a direct result of the
immorality of free market forces." The truth is quite the opposite. It
is only because of market forces that we have such an abundant supply
of food not to mention lots of other things. A recent example can be
seen in North and South Korea. The same racial group in the same area
of the world; yet we saw starvation in the north and plenty in the
south. I think the main reason is that market was far more hindered in
the north than in the south.

For anyone who would might be interested in exploring this viewpoint
further, there are plenty of books. I especially recommend:

What Everyone Should Know About Economics and Prosperity,
by Gwartney and Stroup
Free to Choose, by Milton Friedman
Healing Our World, by Dr. Mary Ruwart

Paul Gilbert