President Obama recently disparaged free-market economics as “you’re-on-your-own economics.” It’s a catchy phrase—rhythmic, alliterative, clever. I like the sound of it. Too bad it’s bunk.
It’s politically clever (read: it’s misleading).
The only genuine “you’re on your own economics”—let’s call it “yo-yo economics,” for short—is known as “Robinson Crusoe economics.” It applies only to those who really are on their own, like sole inhabitants of islands or hermits. Apart from those oddities, human beings don’t live in solitude, but are interdependently connected in a social division of labor.