Free Markets Essay

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Free Markets The full version of Bruce Alexander and Stefa Shaler’s essay “Addiction in Free Markets” was originally published in Alexander’s book Peaceful measures: Canada's way out of the War on Drugs (University of Toronto Press, 1990). The essay begins by saying that although any individual in any society can become addicted, addiction is more prevalent, in fact, occurs universally, in societies that function on free markets. Understanding this fundamental concept can transform the way we view and handle the problem of addiction in society; however, professionals in the field often overlook this ‘profound proposition’. Free markets force people to become dislocated, that is, they are forced to move or change something fundamental for the sake of transitioning into and maintaining a free market society. This dislocation deprives individuals of psychological integration and this leads to mass addiction. Alexander and Shaler argue that our society has gone “too far toward the free market extreme” and as a result we have mass dislocation and in turn, mass addiction. Although the essay offers a thought-provoking solution to the issue and attempts to demonstrate how this phenomenon – of mass dislocation and mass addiction – has become to be by giving examples, the strengths of the essay are outweighed by the weaknesses. Alexander and Shaler’s presentation of authorities is lacking and one-sided, they fail to clearly define their terms, their examples are at times weak and not adequately supported and overall, they fail to address other possible causes for addiction. Consequently, their causal argument fails to be logically convincing. To begin, good examples are given to support the author’s point that mass addiction is rampant is societies that have endured dislocation in our history; somewhat specific examples of England and Canadian Natives are

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