Free Will/Agency Free Will and Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Evaluating how a free market economy views human agency and free will, it is then seen that human beings in this kind of set-up are interpreted as rational human beings with the same capacities, abilities, and resources for competition in an invisible hand economy. Rather than the government, the majority of decisions on economic activities and transactions are then assumed by individual key players in the market (

Comparison of Marxism and Free Market Capitalism and their views on Free Will or Human Agency

The Marxist conception of free will and human agency initially looks at human beings as alienated people because of capitalism. Their existence, identities, and consequent opportunities are then dependent on the social classes they are in. From this point, it can be said that Marx does not ascribe too much on the role of human beings to act out of their own accord. Yet in the end, it must be remembered that in order to topple down the capitalist system, a social revolution must first take place. It is in this revolution where we can how Marx gave importance to human agency- human agency that lies on the unity of a group, the proletariat class.

On the other hand, free market capitalism begins with the assumption that human beings are all given the capacity to be rational. With the ability to assess costs and benefits, human beings are then apt to compete in a free market set-up where the government is left at the sidelines. This can be very tempting to believe at first. Yet in application, the free market capitalism fails to look the fact that their players are not really equal, primarily because of varying economic capacities. It should be noted that the economic set-up was not created to be fair in the first place. This is the reason why small-scale businesses do not really prosper that much compared to giant businesses and monopolies. The concept of human agency in free market capitalism is very ideal yet in practice the abilities of human beings for development are actually stunted.

This brings the point that free market capitalism actually rests on the idea of negative freedom. Negative freedom pertains to a concept of freedom wherein restrictions are taken off, implying equal opportunities for all.

This may be illustrated with a prisoner who is suddenly released out of prison. Because he is no longer in chains, technically he is free. But after his release in prison, he cannot find a suitable work. He finds difficulty in reintegrating himself to society. In effect, he cannot compete with the society or supposedly the free market set-up. He may have been freed from his chains, but he is still bound in many ways because he was not equipped with the skills and resources for competition.

On the other hand, the Marxist conception of human agency and free will speaks of a positive freedom. This freedom lies not merely on removing restrictions to freedom but actually equipping the individual for means to compete. The idea is then to equate freedom with a sense of actually learning how to stand on your own two feet. The journey to that may however take a longer time that is until the proletariats class realizes what they ought to do which is to launch a social revolution. But even in that process, one can see that Marx already views the individual's capacity to become agents of changes. And in the final analysis of perhaps finally achieving a socialist-communist society, should be believes that human agency and the exercise of free will would be realized.

References List

Alienation" 2006. [online]

Free Market" 2006. [online]

Human Agency." 2006. [online]

Marx's Theory of Social Class and Class Structure." 1999. [online]

O'Connor, T. 2005. "Free Will." [online]

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