Much like topics in previous chapters, to talk about “the loss of freedom” in regard to markets is not quite accurate. Although they have often been much freer than they are today, America has never had truly free markets. The causes for this are multiple—everything from ideology to graft, war and crisis, socialistic schemes and bank fraud, big business and big government. The list really is endless, but could be boiled down to covetousness and greed armed with the guns of government.

Mistakes abounded from day one. The first pilgrim colony attempted to enforce a communistic society. In months the communistic storehouse was strained. It did not take long for some to learn they could slack in working and yet received the same amount of rationed victuals; meanwhile, those who did work hard to produce more also received the same amount while those who slacked ate of the extra fruits of the labors of those who worked harder. Soon, everyone slacked and the storehouse was empty. Half of the settlers died in the first winter. The governors learned the hard way, though slowly; it took three years into the settlement when they finally took the advice of the farmers who were doing the work: land was divided into private plots. Greater prosperity soon followed. The story is well known. What is lesser known is that many elements of this quickly-privatized property economy remained under common ownership and government control. This only improved after 1675.[1]

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