It is Saturday morning and I just woke up from sleep. Being the internet addict that I am, within 15 minutes of consciousness, I was already log onto the internet, reading my bookmark, scouring for news or any interesting reading. Somehow, through random clicking, I reached Wan Saiful’s blog and found myself downloading “Apa itu Liberal dan apa itu Liberalisme?“.

I am not sure what I downloaded it in the first place. It might be caused by the launch of a book entitled, “Apa itu Pencerahan?“, a Malay translation of Kant’s Was ist Aufklarung?“. Liberals that do not read German might be more familiar with its English title: “What is Enlightenment?” So, perhaps, I took the recurrence of the term “Apa itu… ?” as a sign; I need to read it.

So, I read it with relative ease. With ease because there is almost nothing new in the document; I, proudly, am familiar with almost all the ideas and the cited authors. So, it is dull except at the manner the author argues for free market, which I feel is ingenious.

On the fourth page, in Malay:

…Sebagai contoh, sebab apa percaya bahawa instituisi [sig] ekonomi yang bebas itu lebih adil, pertama sebab pasaran yang merupakan satu pilihanraya setiap jam dan minit. Contohnya A dan B jual nasi lemak, siapa yang menentuka [sig] A dan B boleh jual atau tidak? Yang menentukannya adalah pasar, peti undinya adalah pasar. Jika nasi lemak A tidak sedap dia akan kehilangan undi. Keadilannya terletak di sini.

Roughly in English:

…As an example, why free market institution is fairer than the other? First, the market is an election held every minute. For instance, who would decide A and B could sell nasi lemak? It is the market; the market is a huge ballot box. If A sold low quality nasi lemak, he would lose vote. The fairness of the system is here.

Though the idea is not foreign, I had never seen it stated in such an explicit way that links democracy with free market. I think this is the first time somebody explicitly uses democracy to justify free market.

Perhaps, such presentation of free market it is nothing more than an analogy. Nevertheless, this analogy could be used to entice fervent supporters of democracy that are neutral of the liberal-socialist divide towards free market and to a certain extent, liberal democracy.

One Response to “[1120] Of analogizing free market as democracy”

  1. on 03 Mar 2007 at 16:54 johnleemk

    I always found the analogy so obvious that I never wondered why nobody used it – I thought it would seem trite and overwrought. As an aside, some people might criticise the free market for being subject to the same problems as democracy, e.g. misinformation. :p

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