"But in a free society, what business is it of ours what people “need,” if they are earning and spending their own money? (Skeptics will say that the recent AIG bonuses were taxpayers’ money, not the exec’s own money — a proposition that is incorrect, but in a way beyond the scope of this post.) I don’t “need” the books and games and music I buy — or at least, there is surely some bean-counter-at-heart who is willing to parse them and say I don’t “need” all of them. My father doesn’t “need” the Asian art collection he has spent a lifetime carefully accumulating. People don’t “need” to see Paris, or ski with the family, or eat a meal at a restaurant instead of rice and beans at home. But each of those choices is an expression of our own values, goals, and autonomy. Those purchases matter to us, even if some third person does not value them in the same way."
Thursday, March 26, 2009
“Need,” Autonomy, and Freedom: