By Priyanka Dey

Edited by Sanchita Malhotra, Associate Editor, The Indian Economist

Freedom to any sane person will be the right to perform activities which he wishes or desires to. The personal preferences regarding activities provides us the vital distinction of subjective freedom. Freedom as it means to one person will differ from the other. Given the scenario when we assume , wants are unlimited the fundamental for the study of economics, we create a set of events which contains infinite subsets. Hence to choose from these subset cannot be predicted in custom. It depends on every individual what he wants? Which issues does not matters to him? And also what he does not want?

The nature of freedom is defined as in freedom to act in most literatures. The elementary judgement to unleash ones desire into the physical world provides sense of independence. To opt for an act shows choice of the person. These choices create foundation to behavioural study of mankind. But a hole in the sheet is to assume the capability to draw aggregate results from generalized overview. In doing so we suppress the principal existence of mankind, individualism. But we validate the results from “Social Choice Theory”. It  considers interpersonal utility comparisons to aggregate individual preferences into social welfare function. The consideration for possibility of individual preferences to sum up is due to comparability of each individual to the other.

Freedom cannot be found alone, it always needs to be paired to responsibilities. As without responsibilities choice becomes random and improper. Now, responsibilities can be social, moral or legal where the first two are subjective in nature,and legal is fact based. Social responsibilities changes as we move into different communities or social groups. Like, in eastern countries we find a chauvinist view regarding marriages. The household responsibility solely depends on the lady and income depends on the men. But a contrast is in Western scenario where both the man and his lady cooperates in earning the bread and running the house. Moral responsibility is the most out structured one i.e. it is not bounded by any prerequisite. It depends entirely on the individual and upbringing how morality will be formed. But a pattern can be found in generation wise transition of morality. I do not think anyone will disagree that morals and ideals have declined drastically through generations. If yes, then a glance at crime rate, household violence and rape can be an  argument. Legal responsibilities are predefined and structured. These are the ones which have no grey matters attached to them, they are either right or wrong. However, very conveniently human beings have found out a way to tamper this according to situation, the amendment mechanism. So freedom along with social, moral or legal responsibilities causes rather narrowed choice options. Most of the time desire is being surprised by do’s and dont’s. ‘Do’s ‘as we know them comprises of questions like “Should I? “, “Is this appropriate?” or “Am I violating something?” So we generally consider a subjected function of freedom, what we’ wish to do ‘as termed by Sir John Stuart Mill.

So our freedom depends on what all other people around us consider acceptable and inoffensive to their personal freedom and thus our decision cannot be rational or self-utility maximizing. It is constrained decision making, the co-existence struggle.


Priyanka is passionate for love , economics , dance, fashion and living life . She builds her life in hope of inspirations. For her bringing change is the cause of our existence and every step that one takes changes assumptions for the superstructure . It gives her pleasure in deconstructing anything and everything . Accordung to her we all know what we actually want and eventually achieve that and the rest that comes in the path is just knowledge creation.

Posted by The Indian Economist | For the Curious Mind