The universal economic task consists of applying human action to the resources and means at our disposition, whether they be scarce or abundant, to guide and order them towards the thorough execution of our immediate, mediate and ultimate objectives. Applying human action is nothing more than working; and applying it in order to be able to achieve the best goals is the same as working well, in the right direction. Directing human action towards mistaken goals is not work but rather » un-work»; it is not doing but rather undoing. This occurrs even though we make a great physical or intellectual effort. When so-called work increases in quantity but it diminishes in quality one does not work but rather the work is undone and the action is wasted. In our society the effort of un-doing is remunerated many times and on the other hand there are many that have to pay to work. (All good students, for example).
Human action is fruit of choice and personal decision, and it bears freedom as an intrinsic characteristic. Freedom consists of being suitable and open to possibilities that we transform into projects. The future of free human action appears as a colourful fan of innovative decisions. Free work that directs goals subjectively on the means to humanize them, strengthens the imaginative force of intelligence, materializing its creative capacity. Freedom is unfailingly bound to human action and being free, in turn, is nothing more than beginning to do, with that which is available to us, what reflexively is preferred with regard to our ultimate goals and our meta-objectives. In that task of harmonizing our free actions with the final references, reflection and ethical forging of personal spirit is vital. Deploying and making reality the free statement of our being, we fulfil ourselves and help to build a world in proportion to man. So that we do not fall into the abyss or park in the mire, economic and technological progress has to be freely bridled by each one with the cultural configuration of man’s interior.
Restoring the essential protagonism of personal freedom is affirming that the economy does not necessarily drag us but rather it is us that make the economy and therefore, we have to take responsibility for good or for bad. Individual responsibility allows the maximum use possible of our own knowledge and aptitudes in the achievement of our objectives. In the performances derived from free decisions, it is not the concrete alternatives that determine us in an irrevocable direction, but rather it is each individual that is determined to attain one or another economically innovative project. Freedom is always accompanied by responsibility. If men are allowed to act with freedom and in accordance with what they estimate convenient, they should also be responsible for the result of their efforts, be that of success or failure. Freedom does not only mean that the individual has the opportunity and the responsibility of choice, but also that he should take the consequences of his actions and receive praise or criticism for them in the social game of the markets by means of the harvest of economic profit or loss. Without external design or planning “a priori,” the markets are constituted in spontaneous systems of self-adjustment and self-help that harmonize the original subjective preferences of all participants.
So that all these beneficial effects are made reality in our economies withered and knocked down by the state and collective interventionism, it is necessary to enlarge the field of exercise of that freedom and responsibility to strengthen human action that transforms the matter on which it acts. Enlarging the field of freedom is enlarging the field of private property of goods. Being free is being able to be free. Freedom, responsibility and property are interlaced in a radical way: it is freedom which facilitates the convenient use of property, and property that frames the environment of the right of free disposition. Freedom and property are interweaved in such a way that I can only possess what I have if I can really have it available flexibly. Being free is knowing what is wanted and doing what I want… with my possessions. As Mises indicates, not even Marx dared to refuse that private initiative and property particular to production means constituted unavoidable stages in the progress that took man from his primitive poverty to the most satisfactory state in 19th century Europe and North America. It is in those societies and times where the people are free and proprietors with more amplitude, and in those that each individual is constituted economically in the centre of the decision, where he has shown his effectiveness in general economic development. Free disposition of different goods, many or few, stimulates us so that we increase their value combining them with other goods and complementary services whose ownership we show, or we can show by means of free sale and purchase. When fertilising some and other properties with the work that is also an essential part of our wealth, we are able to carry out our objectives and projects of life.
Expropriating coercively a substantial part of the citizens’ properties by means of taxes is like tossing sand on the origin of the wealth and blinding the most dynamic sources in economic progress. When more than 50% of what is produced in a country goes through the government filter, the assignment and effectiveness of resources becomes impoverished. When the fraud of free education, healthcare or subsidies is used, it is deceiving citizenship. Education or healthcare are never free since they always imply a use and consumption of resources that have a cost and that it will possibly be higher if their production is public that if it were private and in competition. Payment of those high costs comes from the tributary revenues that the taxpayers pay. As the lower and medium low classes have fewer possibilities to avoid taxes legally or illegally, and as indirect taxes are increased with direct repercussions on these sectors of the population, the final result ends up being regressive. The underprivileged layers of the population will pay more proportionally and will have less freedom of choice, and diversified offer and qualitatively innovative work better carried out will be discouraged. Freedom is power of disposition on one’s own possession, freedom of choice. If the economic power gained with our work is expropriated coercively by the entity of collective reason, freedom backs down and with it the creative and enriching human action.