Choice: Real and In Extremis

Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Donald J Boudreaux

“One accusation commonly hurled at those of us who advocate for free markets is that we mistake the mere formal availability of choice for the real availability of choice. A worker, it is said, of course has the formal right to quit his job, but this right is alleged to be meaningless in practice because the worker will suffer grievously if he chooses to quit. The worker, in other words, is alleged to be in extremis and, therefore, is being exploited by his employer who knows that this worker has no real option but to keep the job. Market outcomes are thereby alleged to be unjust and deserving of no deference because they are the result not of real choices but of choices made in extremis. But if this reason for denouncing market outcomes is valid, then it applies with at least equal force to outcomes engineered by government.” (09/29/21)