Freedom Breeds Integrity

On page 35 of the book Ideas On Liberty, Essays in Honor of Paul L. Poirot, essayist Bettina Bien Greaves writes:

“Countless firms have succeeded in our relatively free market by acting responsibly and morally. Countless voluntary agreements are made everyday that depend on the reliability and integrity of the parties concerned. Complex arrangements for the division of labor and specialization are carried out, vast fortunes are traded, stock market purchases are made, contracts are fulfilled, huge buildings and skyscrapers are constructed, extensive fields are cultivated, long power lines and oil pipelines are laid, scientific research is conducted, goods are manufactured from resources and parts from many lands, countless commodities are sold to consumers in retail shops, credit transactions are fulfilled according to agreement, and so on. Most such voluntary transactions are completed honestly and fairly without serious controversy or friction. Most sellers offer satisfaction or your money back. A producer’s label or trademark indicates his responsibility and willingness to stand behind the product.

Consumers are severe taskmasters. They want quality products at the lowest possible prices. They might be tricked into buying shoddy merchandise once but entrepreneurs who try that tactic soon realize that “honesty is the best policy.” The tradesman or producer who tries to cheat or deceive his customers will not be in business very long. The only path to long-term profits on the free market is by serving consumers well, honestly, and fairly.”

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