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Opinion / Editorial

Freedom as a product of the balance between the state and society

Freedom as a product of the balance between the state and society

When King John of England and a group of rebel barons gathered on a moorland outside London in 1215, establishing a foundation of modern democracy was not on their minds. However Magna Carta, the document agreed upon by the king and the nobles of the land, eventually went far beyond its original purpose of protecting the privileges of the barons from the royal power. It has become a global symbol of an individual's rights against despotic rule. Written in Latin and inscribed on sheepskin parchment, it evolved from a peace treaty for England's warring nobility to an inspiration for the passage of the United States Bill of Rights and other historical events. The Magna Carta made it clear that freedom and democracy originate in the process of mobilizing society, people defending their liberties and actively challenging how rules and laws are imposed on them by governments and its agencies. The example of England is typical, as it created a tradition of limiting the rights of the king and giving decision-making powers to the baronial class in 1215. It also made it possible for this tradition to be preserved and reinforced over the centuries and finally culminated in the revolution of glorious in 1688, which permanently established the formation of the parliament as the ruling power in the country. It was precisely this tradition that produced the Anglo-Saxon democracies in the USA, Canada, Australia and many other countries of the British Empire. Freedom is hardly the 'natural' order of things; usually states have been either too weak to protect individuals or too strong for people to be protected from despotism. There is also a myth in the west that where freedom exists, it is a stable state, achieved by 'enlightenment'. But freedom emerges only when a delicate and unbroken balance is achieved between state and society, between elites and citizens. This struggle becomes self-generating, prompting the state and society to develop a more diverse set of possibilities, thereby influencing the peace of societies, the success of economies, and the way people experience their daily lives. Where do democratic states with considerable personal freedom come from? Over the years, many grand theories have emphasized one specific factor or another, including culture, climate, geography, technology, or socioeconomic circumstances such as the development of a powerful middle class. We have no universal template for freedom. we have no conditions which necessarily give rise to it, and no unfolding historical progress which inevitably leads to it. Freedom is not designed and granted by elites, and there is no guarantee that freedom will remain intact, even when it is enshrined in law. "True democracy and freedom do not come from checks and balances or from wise institutional design." says Acemoglu, an economist and institute professor at MIT. "They originate [and are sustained] in the much messier process of social mobilization, of people defending their liberties and actively placing limits on how rules and behaviors are imposed on them." It was precisely the tradition of civil society and opposition to communism that produced a milder communism in central Europe and much harsher in Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. Also, the lack of revolt and organization in Albania produced a despotic leader after the overthrow of communism, and the most revolt-prone part of our society chose collaborationism instead of revolt for justice, dignity and freedom. The democratic state created after the popular revolts was more like a monkey dressed in a democratic costume, as it was basically a struggle for power and everything was put in the service of power and personal enrichment. Civil protests for freedom and democracy turned into protests for power and wealth. Decentralization of economic decision-making supports civil society by creating the space in which organizations of all kinds can exist independent of the state. A nation in which there is economic freedom is one in which the private sector can finance the institutions of civil society. Thus truly independent religious institutions, opposition political parties, and a variety of businesses and media are more likely to exist where economic power is not concentrated in the hands of bureaucrats or politicians. In 1962, Nobel laureate in economics Milton Friedman observed: “History speaks with one voice on the relationship between political freedom and the free market. I know of no example in time or place of a society that has been characterized by a great deal of political freedom and that has not also used something comparable to a free market to organize most economic activity." Economic freedom allows independent sources of wealth to counterbalance political power and nurture a pluralistic society. When the state owns or exercises undue control over banking, credit, telecommunications, or the media, it controls not only economic activity but also human behavior. It has taken the world a long time to recognize the truth in early 20th century writer Hilaire Belloc's statement that "the control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself." This seems to apply in Albania, where the main sectors of the economy are construction, public projects and tourism, which are controlled by the state and financed mainly by corruption money and illegal traffic, for which Albania with a population of less than 3 million accounts for first place in the world. This has made it possible to criminalize the country's life, asphyxiate civil society and increase poverty as the country with the lowest salaries in the region. it has also enabled the state to hire its own sympathizers and invest in areas they care about getting votes. In this way, the state controls the lives and actions of Albanians. The most comprehensive empirical study on the relationship between a country's economic policies and institutions and the level of prosperity is the Canadian Fraser Institute's "World Economic Freedom" report. It examines 38 components of economic freedom, ranging from government size, rule of law, and monetary and trade policy, in 127 countries over a period of more than 30 years. The study reveals a strong link between economic freedom and prosperity. Freer economies have an average per capita income of $40,000, compared to $3,850 in less free countries. Free economies also grow faster than less free economies. Per capita growth over the last 10 years was 2.5 percent in the freest countries, while it was 0.6 percent in the least free countries. According to United Nations data, Albania with $6400 per capita income ranks 84th, which indicates the low level of market freedom, the high level of corruption and the lack of initiatives to have an active civil society. . Civil disobedience is not something outside the realm of democracy. Without civil disobedience, democracy does not exist. It is not desirable to cultivate respect for the law, but for the right. Unjust laws always exist. The question is: will we be content to obey them, or will we try to improve them and obey them until we succeed, or will we violate them immediately?". Civil disobedience is not something outside the realm of democracy. Without civil disobedience, democracy does not exist. It is not desirable to cultivate respect for the law, but for the right. Unjust laws always exist. The question is: will we be content to obey them, or will we try to improve them and obey them until we succeed, or will we violate them immediately?". Civil disobedience is not something outside the realm of democracy. Without civil disobedience, democracy does not exist. It is not desirable to cultivate respect for the law, but for the right. Unjust laws always exist. The question is: will we be content to obey them, or will we try to improve them and obey them until we succeed, or will we violate them immediately?".