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Markets are not Free

The Neocrybabies are always whining about the free markets.  I always wondered free for whom. The so called free markets tend to squash local accountability, workers rights, and environmental safe guards.

Naomi Klein is absolutely correct that free markets are an oxymoron. At its essence free markets are incompatible with democracy. There is a reason Friedman was dependent on authoritarian regimes to implement his ‘free market” ideology.   You can have free markets or democracy, but not both.

It is important, however, to remember that “free markets” are simply a particular type of market. Even socialist economies have markets. Neocrybabies are incapable of envisioning anything other than a “free market” and totally controlled state one.

Markets, like schools, government, and other institutions are a reflection of ourselves.  When those reflections become uncomfortable, those institutions must be transformed.  We don’t assume schools or government  should be outside the moral decision making process, so why markets.  Why shouldn’t our markets reflect our values as a society.

Even a socialist leaning guy like myself would be more than uncomfortable having congress running our financial markets.  We have been taught to believe the myth that we only have two choices; free market, or Five Year Plans voted on by congress. Yet, even Friedman  had to come to the conclusion that “free markets” and “democracy” are not compatible.

So, the question is if we want a democracy, what kind of market is compatible with that.  I think most would agree that state capitalism is NOT the preferred model. In the end it would probably include policies and regulations that will promote markets which are reflective of our societies values.