Our entire way of life depends on others doing lots of work for us. We do our work for them as well. It’s a great system. You do what you you can to help other people, and they do what they can to help you. Isn’t it great to have other people do things for you? It’s especially good since I have no idea how to make a lot of the things I use. We all barter our labor for the things that we want through the intermediary of money. You work and are given IOU’s to other people’s labor in the form of money. Other people will do almost anything for you in exchange.
When viewed in this way, it is easy to see why a society based on freedom of exchange works so well. It gives all of us the most varied products and services and the lowest prices. When you see money as the way to barter your labor for others labor, paying low prices seems even better! Cooperation is the name of the game, and freedom is the cause of it, and the result of it.
People that espouse “self sufficiency” have a general distrust of this idea of free cooperation. In my more cynical moments, I get the feeling that they just distrust people in general. Self sufficiency is the road to privation. You spend much more of your most precious commodity, time, on things that could be gotten much more easily with exchange. Cooperation and exchange is the two laned road to abundance and freedom.
There are people that espouse the idea that we should grow our own food, raise our own animals, and do our own canning (canning for God’s sake!) in order to pursue freedom. All that stuff is fine if you enjoy doing them, but don’t pretend that you are any more “free” because you did it yourself. Don’t kid yourself, you have given up a lot to do those things.
Our current wealth is evidence. I once asked my grandmother why she didn’t can things and make pickles anymore. She gave me a look that I’ll never forget and said, “Because I don’t have to anymore.” Canning was hard work and it simply wasn’t worth her time. She would have laughed in my face if I had told her that some people think that canning is part of the formula for freedom.
Go shopping for the things you need, work for other people’s benefit, and enjoy the extra time you get instead of doing everything yourself. What could be more freeing than that?