We have a general right to conduct our financial and commercial affairs as we see fit, without having to justify ourselves or answer to society at large. Just as recognizing religious liberty requires the general protection of independent activity in the religious realm, economic liberty requires the general protection of independent activity in economic matters.
Libertarians claim that, as a matter of basic justice, people have the right to acquire, hold, use, give, and in many cases destroy personal property. They may decide what to eat, drink, and wear and determine what kinds of entertainment and cultural experiences they will consume. They may acquire wealth for themselves or for others. They have the right to enter into a wide range of contracts for the exchange of goods and services. They may enter into and negotiate employment contracts (including wage rates, hours worked, working conditions, and so on) as they see fit. They may decide for themselves how to balance leisure and work. They may choose to join unions or not. They may manage their households as they see fit. They may create things for sale. They have the right to start, manage, and stop businesses; to sell franchises in such businesses; and to run such businesses for their own private ends in the way they regard as best. This includes the right to form certain kinds of joint ventures, including certain kinds