“I believe in free markets, but…”
I hear some variation on this statement so often that it rings in my head like an echo.
“I believe in free markets, but sometimes they fail.”
“I believe in free markets, but they need regulation to operate effectively.”
“I believe in free markets, but these are special times.” Or…
“We need to fix the free market so this never happens again.”
What don’t these people understand about the free part of free markets? Free markets don’t fail; they cannot fail by definition. Regulating a market makes it not free. Intervening in markets has made these time special; therefore, you cannot fix the free market; you can only assure making this or something worse happen.
Please stop advocating for free markets then making inconsistent statements that refute that position. These mixed messages create obstacles to learning about free markets. But the people who make these inconsistent statements seem to want that result.
People in much of the world live in some form of socialist economy and they belief they have free markets. So now the people with the political power get what they want-citizens clamoring for more government intervention in the name of freedom.
I cannot expect the president, or any other politician, to sincerely advocate for free markets. They make a living at intervention-restricting the freedom of markets. But, I implore news commentators and others who write about economic issues to get off the propaganda band-wagon and quit referring to oppressed markets as free markets.
If people started hearing,
“I believe in socialist markets, but sometimes they fail.”
“I believe in market intervention; so markets need regulation to operate effectively.”
“I believe in statism for these special times.” Or…
“We need to fix the regulated market so that we can fix them again.”
…maybe they will realize that, in the words of Ronald Reagan, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Or, as Milton Friedman said, “The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.“
Free markets work; controlled markets do not. No middle ground exists.