An Interview with Don Watkins: Free Market Revolution?
1) Don, you and Yaron Brook have just completed a book entitled Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government. What brought this about?
Government intervention into the economy has been growing for the better part of a century, but it has really taken off during the Bush and Obama years. How can you stop a trend like that? Well, Ayn Rand has a fifty-plus year track record of getting people to understand the power and nobility of free markets. Yaron and I decided that to stop the growth of the state, there needed to be a new statement laying out Ayn Rand’s moral case for capitalism. The result was our book.
2) Why now, why in this election year? Or was it intentional?
The rapid expansion of government intervention under Obama helped spark the Tea Party protests. Ever since, Americans have been debating whether government should be increasing its power over the economy, or whether we should be moving in the direction of freer markets. We knew that debate would intensify during the election season, so the timing of the book’s release wasn’t accidental. However, this book is not a plea to vote for this part or that party. It is about the long term fight to limit government, a fight that will continue no matter who wins in November.
3) World wide, there have been some changes- I am thinking of the Euro- are some of these changes good or bad?
Overall, the worldwide trend in terms of economic freedom is bad. Europe, for instance, seems intent on doubling down on the welfare state. The only hopeful signs I see are here at home: the rise of the Tea Party and the avalanche of interest in Ayn Rand.
4) Certainly, at the end of the Bush Presidency, there were some real concerns- about certain organizations being “ too big to fail”. Let me be blunt here- was all that a crock ?
The doctrine that certain financial institutions are “too big to fail” is a product of government intervention and regulation, going all the way back to deposit insurance. In a free market, no company is too big to fail.
5) Some businesses plan for tomorrow, some for next week, some for next year- some do no planning at all- do they deserve to fail?
Whether a business succeeds or fails should be determined by the free market. If consumers don’t want what you’re selling, then your business will ultimately fail. The government should not intervene to save you.
6) Let me be ridiculous for a minute- if I open a store and sell hula hoops and grass skirts- should I get government or city help?
7) Some “ organizations “ are subsidized by the government, but they seem to do whatever they want, with minimal supervision- what is a citizen to do?
Fight for free markets. In a free market, there is a complete separation between state and economics. That means no subsidies for anyone. Businesses are free to conduct their affairs as they see fit, so long as they don’t violate anyone’s rights, and consumers are free to patronize them or not.
8) Now, let’s draw from Ayn Rand’s work- Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, Anthem- what do those books say about “ free markets”?
Rand’s writings show that free markets are moral—they are moral because they leave the individual free to pursue and achieve his own happiness. When the government restricts itself to protecting individual rights, including property rights, then the individual is free to act on his own rational judgment, to produce and trade free from interference, and to deal with others via mutually beneficial, voluntary trade. That is what it means for capitalism to be a moral system.
9) Where can interested people get a copy of the book and who should read it?
Free Market Revolution is for anyone who wants to know why government has been growing for the last century, and what can be done to stop it. You can find it at any bookseller. For more information, visit http://www.freemarketbook.com.