Labor is “Responsible for the Consequences of Their Choice”


An early free-market economist claims that in a free-market economy, a worker’s happiness depends mainly on her own actions:


But whenever property is secure, industry free, and the public burdens moderate, the happiness or misery of the labouring classes depends almost wholly on themselves. Government has there done for them all that it should, and all in truth that it can do. It has given them security and freedom. But the use or abuse of these inestimable advantages is their own affair. They may be either provident or improvident, industrious or idle; and being free to choose, they are alone responsible for the consequences of their choice.


The passage was brought to my attention by an HES Posting from Michael Perelman.  The thread was continued by Torsten Schmidt, and the final information on the pages where the passage may be found, was added by Masazumi Wakatabe.


The reference for the source of the passage is:

McCulloch, J.R.  A Treatise on the Circumstances which Determine the Rate of Wages and the Condition of the Labouring Classes, second edition, corrected and improved, 1854, 16-17.


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