Freeman

ARTICLE

Ebenezer Scrooge and the Free Society

DECEMBER 24, 2009 by HOWARD BAETJER JR.

Behaving in a self-interested manner does not mean disregarding others. On the contrary, because we are social beings who depend on, and often care deeply about many others around us, a sound attention to our self-interest must include a great deal of concern for others.

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

December 1988

ABOUT

HOWARD BAETJER JR.

Howard Baetjer Jr. is a lecturer in the department of economics at Towson University and a faculty member for seminars of the Institute for Humane Studies. This article is based on ideas from his book, Free Our Markets: A Citizens’ Guide to Essential Economics.

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For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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