Recently the MLB decided to move their all-star game from Georgia to Colorado stating that “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.” Leaving the actual substance of the bill and it’s lies that have been pushed by the media and the POTUS himself, I wanted to address the free market and MLBs decision.
Some would argue that this is the free market at work and they are free to do whatever they please. While I agree that they can do what they want, let’s not conflate the free market with what the MLB did. Let us first examine what the free market is.
Ludwig von Mises in defining the free market stated that “Free markets. What does this system mean? The answer is simple: it is the market economy, it is the system in which the cooperation of individuals in the social division of labor is achieved by the market.” For Mises, the the free market is split up into two components, first, the freedom of individuals to exchange goods or services. Second, the division of labor. Why are these things considered the free market?
The free exchange of goods and services is simple. When I buy a meal at Burger King for $7.00, Burger King and I exchange two commodities, they give me a meal and I give them $7.00(or whatever the cost of the meal is).
Both parties undertake the exchange because each expects to gain from it. Also, each will repeat the exchange next time (or refuse to) because his expectation has proved correct (or incorrect) in the recent past. Trade, or exchange, is engaged in precisely because both parties benefit; if they did not expect to gain, they would not agree to the exchange.
The division of labor has been recognized since the days of Adam Smith(An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776) have recognized that the division of labor for its potential for productivity. A surgeon, for example, who is also tremendously adept at preparing for and assisting during surgery is therefore better off — and actually does society a service — when hiring a nurse. This is true even if the nurse is worse at both performing surgeries and assisting during such procedures, simply because by focusing on the relatively more productive task (in this case to perform surgery), the surgeon produces greater overall value — even though some of the profits pay the nurse. The result is that the physician earns more, the nurse gets a job and earns a wage, and the rest of society gains access to both more medical expertise and more doctors’ appointments and treatment.
Now let’s circle back to what the MLB did. Their reasoning for moving their event was neither to increase profits or for better strategic advantage using a division of labor. It was for political purposes. By all accounts they listened to people like Stacy Abrams and other political activists. This is not the free market. This tyranny of the majority. It’s a manipulation of the free market. This of course was backed up by the government with the POTUS advocating that the MLB move.
The government is manipulating and exerting pressure through corporations therefore bypassing a democratic process and creating a narrative that they can exploit in order to exert more power. I believe this will ultimately backfire but it will get worse before it gets better.
Don’t make the mistake of conflating free will with free market. The MLB exerted free will when they moved the all-star game out of Georgia. They did not participate in the free market. They participated in the manipulation of the free market.