Moral Markets vs. Cronyism

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“The link between economic liberty and public morality is not tenuous; it is clear and direct. Economic liberty exists where private property and the rule of law are respected.”

In his book Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy, Robert Sirico makes the cogent point that liberty cannot stand on its own; it requires morality and rule of law:

“The link between economic liberty and public morality is not tenuous; it is clear and direct. Economic liberty exists where private property and the rule of law are respected. Consider the case of modern Russia, a culture of rich and poor with only a small and struggling middle class—because corruption is rampant in its pseudo-market institutions. While a few friends of the government higher-ups make out like gangbusters, the vast majority of the population, including the class of poor but aspiring entrepreneurs, often finds itself facing an unscalable wall of insider cronyism.”

Doesn’t that sound precisely like what’s happening in Mississippi–where certain businessmen and politicians are lining their pockets via crony projects like Kemper, KiORTwin Creeks Technologies and others at the expense of taxpayers?

That leaves the question: If morality and the rule of law are essential for the kind of political and economic liberty that creates opportunity for all to thrive, how do we rebuild that foundation? And who has to take first and foremost responsibility for doing so? Leaders, communities, educators, families, or individuals?

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