Magazine article New Internationalist

Creating Freedom

Magazine article New Internationalist

Creating Freedom

Article excerpt

BOOKS Creating Freedom by Raoul Martinez (Canongate, ISBN 9781782111818)

As the author says in his introduction to this thought-provoking book, the idea of freedom is everywhere in society. From free trade to free speech, free will to free thought, the concept saturates the way we think and behave. However, Martinez argues, once we begin to question the assumptions we are brought up with and examine the reality behind the rhetoric, a darker picture emerges, in which we are much less free than we imagine.

Martinez structures his argument around the concepts of 'The Lottery of Birth', which interrogates the principle that we are free to make informed decisions in a world of our choosing, and 'The Illusion of Consent' which challenges the conventional wisdom regarding the freedom of elections, markets and media. He draws on a wealth of examples in challenging these sacred cows, from Orwell to Chomsky, Stanley Milgram to Joseph Stiglitz, and his argument is sound and persuasive. …

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