Free market

a form of a market based economy free from government intervention or regulation
For the trade policy, see Free trade.

In economics, a free market is a system in which the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and by consumers.

Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term "free market" in an equivocal sense: they seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. ... When prodded, they’ll grudgingly admit that the present system is not a free market, and that it includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations. ~ Kevin Carson
If by free market one means a market that is autonomous and spontaneous, free from political controls, then there is no such thing as a free market at all. It is simply a myth. ~ Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

QuotesEdit

  • The current crisis demonstrates not only that all the ideological nonsense about the virtues of the free market is quickly thrown overboard when capitalist interests are threatened, but also that the idea that governments are essentially powerless in the face of the markets is rubbish. Governments are not helpless victims who cannot do anything in the face of “economic reality”. In the normal course of events, when we demand things like better welfare, health care or education, governments tell us that it isn’t possible.
  • The current crisis demonstrates not only that all the ideological nonsense about the virtues of the free market is quickly thrown overboard when capitalist interests are threatened, but also that the idea that governments are essentially powerless in the face of the markets is rubbish. Governments are not helpless victims who cannot do anything in the face of “economic reality”. In the normal course of events, when we demand things like better welfare, health care or education, governments tell us that it isn’t possible.
  • So, in an economic emergency, few of the usual rules apply. Governments can marshal the resources and can threaten the narrow interests of private businesses. Hardcore libertarians despise these measures as rampant socialism. From their perspective, they’re right: the very existence of such programs is condemnation of the free market capitalist model that they promote. But they are best seen only as another approach to the management of the capitalist economy. The fact that governments across the OECD are now prepared to spend trillions of dollar to save the financial system from collapse only confirms that the world economy cannot be left safely in the hands of “the market”. And, the situation clearly confirms that when the capitalist class and governments deem it necessary to save their system, lots of measures they once denounced as “unaffordable”, not permitted by the condition of “the economy”, are actually affordable and permitted. Governments can act when required. The ideological justifications of yesterday are revealed as threadbare. But nor are government interventions of this nature geared towards the interests of the working class, only the interests of the bosses.
  • Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term "free market" in an equivocal sense: they seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. So we get the standard boilerplate article arguing that the rich can’t get rich at the expense of the poor, because "that’s not how the free market works"—implicitly assuming that this is a free market. When prodded, they’ll grudgingly admit that the present system is not a free market, and that it includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations.
    • Kevin Carson, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy (2007), chapter 4.
  • Greg, what are you talking about? Ending corruption? Like there’s a version of this society that isn’t corrupt? Corruption isn’t the exception, it’s the norm. It’s baked in. The whole idea of using markets to figure out who gets what is predicated on corruption—it’s a way to paper over the fact that some people get a lot, most of us get not much, and so we invent a deus ex machina called market forces that hands out money based on merit. How do we know that the market is giving it to deserving people? Well, look at all the money they have! It’s just circular reasoning.
  • The free market system is implied, Hayek felt, by his ontology in order to attain maximum human productivity, the highest standard of living for all—the utilitarian-liberal-socialist-communist-libertarian goal. The division and paucity of individual knowledge renders a market economy necessary for optimal economic productivity. The utilization and communication of information and knowledge are critical.
    • Alan Ebenstein, Hayek's Journey: The Mind of Friedrich Hayek (2003), Ch. 10. Epistemology, Psychology, and Methodology
  • Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
  • Faith in natural order and market efficiency forecloses a full normative assessment of market outcomes. ... It effectively depoliticizes the market itself and its outcomes. It is only when the illusion of natural order is lifted that a real problem arises: that of the justice of the organizational rules and their distributional consequences.
    • Bernard Harcourt, The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (2011), p. 32.
  • If by free market one means a market that is autonomous and spontaneous, free from political controls, then there is no such thing as a free market at all. It is simply a myth.
  • [Securing] resources for large-scale economic transformational change [...] can be achieved by a government committed to subordinating markets in money, goods and services to regulatory democracy [...]. 'Free-market' neoliberal economic policies that detach markets from society's oversight achieve the reverse. They are designed to subject markets to private, not public, democratic authority.
  • Government doesn’t "intrude" on the "free market." It creates the market. ... Those who argue for "less government" area really arguing for a different government – often one that favors them or their patrons.
    • Robert Reich, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, 2015.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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