OF FREE MARKET
Free exchange and choice
Individual self responsibility
Rule of Law & Limited Government
The Scottish moral philosopher and political economist Adam Smith changed the course of history by arguing that open and free societies naturally generate human prosperity and economic growth. His market-liberal ideas have enriched nations whenever they have been tried, and are the bedrock of the modern world we live in today.
Adam Smith has been unfairly caricatured by some as supporting unvarnished human selfishness, and a blind faith in laissez-faire. A close reading of Smith will reveal his nuanced view of human nature as not only driven by self-interest, but by ethical, moral sentiments. Far from asking for no government, Adam Smith advocated for a market order based on effective governance institutions protecting persons and property under the rule of law.
Stamford Raffles is not only the founder of modern Singapore in 1819, of which he is most well-known. Raffles was also a strong proponent of free trade, setting Singapore on a path to becoming an open and prosperous hub of trade and immigration.
Raffles’ market-liberal ideas were also accompanied by his strong humanitarian desire to improve society, having been a champion of abolitionism and laid social reforms in even Java and Bencoolen.
Raffles not only embodied a sense of humanitarian reform, but exuded a sense of friendship and self-improvement. So impressed was his friend Munshi Abdullah, that he was described as “most courteous in his intercourse with all men”, and who “had a sweet expression on his face, was extremely affable and liberal, and listened with attention when people spoke to him.”
Friedrich Hayek is a well known political economist and social theorist in the 20th century and who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974. He is known for his warnings against excessive government intrusion into the market economy and how it would lead to tyranny.
Hayek’s also influenced Singapore history though its first Prime Minister and Founding Father Lee Kuan Yew, who regarded him as a “very clear thinker” who “hit upon the eternal truth...that the free market is necessary to get the economy right.”
Hayek’s social thought is distinguished by its strong emphasis in the limits of human reason, and thus the need for competitive experimentation in society. This was itself acknowledged by Lee Kuan Yew, who praised Hayek’s book the Fatal Conceit, Errors of Socialism, for having “expressed with clarity and authority what I have long been unable to express, namely the unwisdom of powerful intellectuals, including Albert Einstein, when they believed that they would devise a better system and bring about more ‘social justice’ than what historical evolution, or economic Darwinism, has been able to work out over the centuries”.
BUILD THE FUTURE WITH US
These principles articulated here have been responsible for generating peace and prosperity in the modern world we live in today. But they are increasingly being forgotten in today’s generation and we need your help making them come to life again. If these principles interest you as they do us, we hope you will support our work and reach out to us!