Of all the things we have in common, one of the most ubiquitous is the search for happiness. Of all the things that divide us, there is one goal we all have, and that is happiness.
As soon as we try to define it, that’s when we get in trouble.
However you define the happiness you seek in life, I can almost guarantee you that the free market has made it easier for you to obtain and enjoy happiness.
Obviously, nearly everything that you can buy has become better and cheaper over the last decades. Fantastic inventions that people couldn’t even imagine a hundred years ago are so commonplace that we take them for granted.
Don’t believe me? Let me name some examples.
The miracle of fracking has made energy far less expensive. This incredible process has allowed humanity to extract far more gasoline from the earth than we used to believe even existed. In fact, all of those predictions that we would run out of oil in this century were obliterated by this one incredible operation.
The miracle of modern fertilizers allowed humanity to grow more produce per square inch than anyone could possibly have imagined before their invention. In fact, humanity was crashing against its farm-space limitations before that miraculous invention changed everything.
The incredible invention of anti-bacterial soap absolutely revolutionized medical efficacy. Soap has made our lives safer, good health cheaper, and medical care astoundingly better. Why aren’t we thanking God every day for soap? Because we take this miraculously commonplace advancement for granted. And what about the guy who tried to tell everyone about this miracle? Society shunned him and he died penniless in an insane asylum. But that’s another story.
Even considering things are more expensive than they were last year or the past two years, the free market has made them available to us when in past years, only wealthy people could afford them.
I am not the first to note that many of the comforts and advancements that are commonplace to many of us in the modern world were simply not available to anyone, no matter how wealthy they were, just a few hundred years ago. Think of your iPhone, think of your television, think of your automobile, think about international and domestic airplane flights. None of those things were remotely available to the wealthiest king or priest hundreds of years ago.
And even considering all of that, there is an enormous caveat.
When it comes right down to it, the miracles of the free market are limited. Those things that provide us the most happiness have almost nothing to do with any market. They are our families, our communities, our faiths, and all of those intangible things that you can’t buy.
Be thankful for those above all. But also give thanks for the free market.