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Free or Equal Responses

1. If the government gives everybody the same freedom to work and reap the
rewards, some will do better than others. The result will be equality of opportunity,
but not equality of outcome.
2. Immigrants who arrived in the late-1800s/early-1900s found that America was
truly a land of opportunity. Describe the factors these immigrants encountered
which helped them thrive.
Life was hard, but opportunity was real. There were few government programmes
to turn to and nobody expected it. But also, there were few rules and regulations,
there were no licenses, no permits, no red tape to restrict them. They found in fact,
a free market, and most of them thrived on it.
3. Although Hong Kong had no prospects, no natural resources & little land that
could be cultivated, it became an economic powerhouse. How?
Almost by accident [Hong Kong] was given economic freedom. The British
government couldnt be bothered with Hong Kong affairs, and the governor there
happened to favour free markets. So Hong Kong never introduced those policies
that other governments did. No tariffs, regulations, or government intervention in
the economy, so the economy could develop in a natural way.
4. Free markets have spread around the world. At the same time, weve seen the
fastest human progress ever, and it has been led by the countries that opened up
their economies. In fact, average incomes around the world have almost doubled.
Globally, extreme poverty has been more than halved since Milton Friedman did his
series in 1980. Amazingly, 730 million people have been liberated from poverty.
5. Explain how the lead pencil & the smart phone are examples of invisible hands.
To make your life better, you have to better the lives of others. No one
person could make a pencil or a phone, it takes a combination of many people with
many different talents to produce a complex product.

6. Explain the concept of creative destruction as described in the Free or Equal


video.
If we want to increase our wealth and opportunities, we have to stop doing old
things in old ways, and start doing innovative things in innovative ways. Many
factories and businesses close, which is where the destructive part comes in.
However, economists agree that creative destruction is crucial for economic growth.

7. Explain why are Swedish entrepreneurs the oldest in the world, as described in
the Free or Equal video?
The average big Swedish company is 94 years old. We have apparently in our hand
the policies that encourage people to start the new businesses to start the new
Erickson. The young people and immigrants are not starting the large companies;
they are moving to the U.S. and Great Britain where the taxes are less.
8. They (the Founding Fathers) were a wise and learned group of people. They had
learned the lesson of history. The great danger to freedom is the concentration of
power, especially in the hands of a government. They were determined to protect
the citizens of the new United States of America from that danger. And they crafted
their constitution with that in mind.

9. As Milton Friedman said, The society that puts equality before freedom will end
up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a
great measure of both.
10. Professor Friedman compares the concept of equality of opportunity to a race
where everyone begins at the starting line at the same time. In contrast, equality of
outcome guarantees that everyone finishes at the same time. Today, equality of
outcome is referred to as fair shares for all. If we applied the fair shares for all
concept in this class, all students would receive an average grade of C. This
would be accomplished by taking points away from students earning As and Bs to
give to students earning Ds and Es. Distributing points equally would result in fair
grades for all.

1. Would you approve of this method in calculating your final grade? Why or
why not?
2. Would this differ from fair shares for all economically? Why or why not?
For example, whats the difference between a successful student being required to
give up some of his/her hard-earned grade and a successful person being expected
to give more of his/her hard-earned income? If you support redistribution of
income and wealth, shouldnt you also be willing to redistribute academic grades?
After all, many of your fellow students may not have had the advantages in
education and upbringing that youve had.

When asked if I would give my grade to those with a lower grade, that we
may all pass, I am initially opposed. By this you can also see that I assume I would
be an individual receiving a higher grade. However, if I were failing and someone
asked if I wanted to even the outcomes of the grades, I would probably be
interested. I feel as though this is a direct example of a larger U.S. model those
that have the wealth do not want to share it, until they find that they are in a
position without wealth. In theory and upon some consideration, I dont think fair
share grades is a bad thing. Conceptually at least, its differs from fair trade
models and it would make transferring or job hunting a nightmare. Higher education
is usually something people do to set themselves apart from others. I like the idea
that everyone who tried and put effort into the class would pass, regardless of
whether they have good grades.
That brings up another problem though, it is the grade that you are judged
on; grades are the proof you know your subject, but they are not necessarily
formulated on the knowledge youve received or how well you do know your
subject. Grades often dont correlate with what you actually know. I have received
failing grades for classes I have learned a tremendous amount in, and I have
received good marks on classes I may have learned nothing in. I believe
standardized testing and our grading system are extremely flawed, but I digress.
This minor version of giving all the students the same outcome is actually on a

larger scale giving them the same opportunites, making it impossible to pick a
future employee or prospective student out of the pool.
Thats where this differs from fair share economies. The education system is
implemented to see what its students learn, it is hard to justify giving someones
proof of knowledge to someone else. You cannot give them the knowledge just the
proof of knowledge. Since most people go to school to get degrees to prove to the
labour market theyre the right candidate and to give them more money, I consider
school and most education systems an opportunity to use to your advantage. This
means fair share grading is more like equal opportunity, and fair share economy is
more equal outcome. I support fair share economies and think that if there is a way
to support everyone and have them thrive within their individual talents then we
should take advantage of that opportunity.

SLCC Outcomes | Economic History of the U.S.

Many people are so firm in their beliefs and opinions they dont stop to look
at them from another angle. Having assignments like the Free or Equal video
responses help you to not only consider the metaphor of fair share systems, but
having the same concepts applied to something students can relate to a grading
system. This assignment allowed me to think critically and clearly about the relation
and implementation of a fair share system with a frame of reference I could
understand. Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally,
understanding the logical connection between ideas. The most important aspect of
this is to explain things in a way the audience understands, or to give them a

scenario where they can actually place themselves, and are familiar enough with
the setting to be able to think about all the details involved like asking students
about a grading system. Its a setting they can comprehend and one that motivates
them.
Its helped me to develop knowledge and skills to be civically engaged,
because now I am acknowledging the impact of a free market, especially those in
places like Hong Kong, and I want to know more about the United States modern
economics and our government. I have always had an interest in studying rules and
regulations and looking at them from an economic view point makes me want to
study other countries economies more. Taking important topics and putting them in
a frame of reference you can understand actually instills the desire to be more
politically active because you can then see how these topics effect your day to day
life; it helps you want to participate and see certain regulations in action.