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Freedom

While staying in Ecuador and getting my mother settled to retire here, one recurring theme for me is the thought of FREEDOM.  I come from the “land of the free”.  I love the United States and am proud to be a citizen.  But while in Ecuador, I realize I am possibly more free here than in the US.  Dont’ get me wrong, I’m not on a rant, just stating some observations.

Here the amount of laws in day to day life is quite low.  You can walk where ever you want on the street.  There are not stops signs at EVERY intersection.  You can stop, slow down, or keep going…  your choice.

It seems that the Ecuadorian driving rule is “if you think you’ve got it, go for it”  Even if you don’t “have it”, people go for it.  Don’t expect common courtesy or a safety bubble around you to exist.  Lanes kind of exist.  They keep people going in generally the same direction on each side of the road.  You can pass when you want to, whether or not there is traffic approaching.  The shoulders are fair game to stop in, drive on, pass on, etc.  This type of driving seems more efficient to me.

You are free to listen to your music at any volume in your house.  The neighbors generally dont’ complain.

You can drink a beer wherever you want.  Being able to do this generally cuts down on the rowdiness because there is nothing special about drinking in public.  Less need for showoffs when you don’t need to show off.

———–

Now, there are consequences to all of these actions / laws / no laws.

If you keep going through an intersection, there might be kids, bikes, cars, dogs etc that you will have to dodge.  I have yet to see a vehicle accident even though you can drive however you want.

When driving “efficiently”, there are some downfalls.  You constantly have to assume the person in front or on a side street is going to drive unpredictably.  That bus is going to stop many different places and could stop multiple times 40 feet apart to pick up passengers.  Be prepared for anything.

If you are free to listen to music at any volume, your neighbor is free to do the same thing.  At any hour, any type of music.

If you leave anything out, consider it gone.  People use what they need from the surrounding area.  (We set up a table on the beach under a cabana for a romatic dinner for some friends and everything was taken within 45 minutes of the couple leaving.)

The more I think about the term Freedom, the more I believe we are losing that quickly in the US.  There are so many laws preventing / protecting people, that it creates a litigious society.  The more laws you have, the more laws you need to better define the laws you have.

 

More thoughts to come on this subject…

 

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3 thoughts on “Freedom

  1. Here’s a group that rates countries by economic freedom:
    http://www.fraserinstitute.org/research-news/display.aspx?id=18849

    Part of the problem is one of scale. An individual street vendor may have tremendous economic freedom, while someone trying to run and export/import business may have to deal with regulations, fees, and perhaps even corruption (bribes). In that example, at the small scale, it’s free, but at the large scale it is less free.

    What Fraser Institute has shown is that countries which are more free have greater economic growth.

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