Market Fundamentalism

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The unholy ideological trilogy of Laissez Faire, Free Market and Invisible Hand. Beliefs that supposedly will solve all the world's problems.


Free Market (21 links)
"Free Market" (for libertarians) is a propaganda term, by which libertarians actually mean unregulated markets. Free markets cannot exist: they are an ideal model in economic theory. The vast majority of uses of "free market" are actually about real, regulated, imperfect markets, which are very little like free market models. Truly free markets would include markets for anything, including murder, and require perfect information and perfect competition. I recommend "unregulated market" instead of the propaganda term "free market".
Invisible Hand (4 links)
One analogy used by Adam Smith has been inflated into a full-blown economic mythology. If there is an "invisible hand", it drives concentration of wealth and power instead of economic equilibrium. There is also a corresponding "invisible foot" that leads to production of harmful externalities.
Laissez Faire (17 links)
Laissez faire is a hypocritical propaganda term: it is government that creates a capitalist environment, advantaging capitalists over others. Unregulated Market is a more honest term. History shows pretty clearly that unregulated, unfettered capitalism is a brutal environment where wealth accumulates in the hands of an elite leaving most people in poverty, deeply vulnerable to the inevitable economic shocks that follow.
Corporate Destruction of Free Markets Rules Us [More...]
"Corporatism makes massive exceptions that rig markets and tilt the seller-buyer balance heavily in favor of the former who become bigger and bigger global corporations." Several good points about how corporatists have rigged markets so they do not fit the free market model.
Karl Polanyi (4 links)
Karl Polanyi's critique of Ludwig von Mises and Market Fundamentalism in 1934 still outlines the great fallacies and propaganda that have been foisted on us.
The God That Sucked [More...]
The results of roughly 30 years of market worship are a destruction of the American dream.
The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi's Critique (book) (1 link)
"Polanyi teaches us that periods of prosperity and rising living standards [...] were a direct result of democratic gains in politics and civil society. The greatest prosperity in living memory in Europe and the United States came during the social democratic moment -- in the 1950s and 1960s -- when the constraints on business were the greatest."


"Let the Market Decide" Always Means "Let Rich People Decide."
Dale Carrico, "Dispatches from Libertopia: An Anthology of Wingnut Chestnuts and Democratizing Remedies"
There has never once been an outcome attributed to the Invisible Hand of the Market in which the Heavy Hand of the State did not play an indispensable part, and in which all too many are not sure to discern the Hidden Hand of Conspiracy.
Dale Carrico, "Dispatches from Libertopia: An Anthology of Wingnut Chestnuts and Democratizing Remedies"
All Power to the Markets has never been too persuasive as a rallying cry.
Thomas Frank, "The God That Sucked"
The market is a god that sucks. Yes, it cashed a few out at the tippy top, piled up the loot of the world at their feet, delivered shiny Lexuses into the driveways of their ten-bedroom suburban chateaux. But for the rest of us, the very principles that make the market the object of D’Souza’s worship, of Gilder’s awestruck piety, are the forces that conspire to make life shitty in a million ways great and small. The market is the reason our housing is so expensive. It is the reason our public transportation is lousy. It is the reason our cities sprawl idiotically all across the map. It is the reason our word processing programs stink and our prescription drugs cost more than anywhere else. In order that a fortunate few might enjoy a kind of prosperity unequaled in human history, the rest of us have had to abandon ourselves to a lifetime of casual employment, to unquestioning obedience within an ever more arbitrary and despotic corporate regime, to medical care available on a maybe/maybe-not basis, to a housing market interested in catering only to the fortunate.
Thomas Frank, "The God That Sucked"
Free-market fundamentalists prefer rejecting science to admitting that there are ever cases when government regulation is necessary.
Paul Krugman, "The Id That Ate the Planet"