From Critiques Of Libertarianism
Existing markets are not spontaneous: they are social institutions that have been often created, heavily modified and regulated by governments throughout history. Because markets are amoral, they need regulation.
- Real Markets (8 links)
- Actually existing markets (as opposed to theoretical free markets) are unnatural, are created by government, are rife with market failures, are amoral, are based on the coercion of property and rights, cannot escape crony capitalism and cannot be understood with simple economics 101 models.
- Free Market (19 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".
- Unregulated Market (5 links)
- Includes black markets. In an unregulated market, you have the freedom to buy and sell whatever you want, no matter how noxious. Drugs, poisons, child prostitutes, slaves, beatings, torture, executions, military force, mass murder: all these are sold in unregulated markets. Libertarians generally oppose market regulation, and thus would produce these ills.
- The Economy (1 link)
- Capitalism and Markets are only parts of the economy: the economy is a very heterogeneous system that includes government production, domestic economy, and gift transactions. Libertarian focus only on vanilla capitalism and markets makes easy ideology, but ignores vast and important swathes of the real economy.
- Capitalism, Markets and Laissez-Faire (15 links)
- Libertarian ideology worships these gods with feet of clay, and wishes no limits to them. History and common sense tell us that limits must be imposed on them, they must be regulated.
- Consumers Are At A Disadvantage In Markets (4 links)
- Consumers are generally amateurs attempting to compete with professionals. The professionals use a wide variety of psychological tactics to maximize the money extracted by misdirection, hiding information, and fostering irrationality. Regulations can alleviate this problem.
- Individual Choice (1 link)
- Individual choice is a misleading concept: individuals do not control the choices available and are heavily influenced by advertising, propaganda, and other irrational factors. It also focuses attention away from alternatives, such as social choice.
- Market Failure (25 links)
- Real world economies are rife with market failure. This means choosing between second-best options such as imperfect markets, NGO's and government solutions. Ideology and economic theory cannot say which is best: you must resort to experimentation and history.
- Market Fundamentalism (7 links)
- The unholy ideological trilogy of Laissez Faire, Free Market and Invisible Hand. Beliefs that supposedly will solve all the world's problems.
- Markets Are Amoral (2 links)
- Markets are tools, with as much morality in them as hammers. Hammers can build, hammers can kill: so can markets. Libertarians pretend markets and the transactions within them are always moral, but they are not.
- Markets Are Created By Government (6 links)
- Modern markets rely on stable property, transportation, currency, educated workers and customers, and other factors with enormous market failures. Remove the government infrastructure of these, and markets will shrivel.
- Markets do it better and cheaper than government. Not. (1 link)
- A common propaganda claim from Milton Friedman. Patently untrue for a number of market failures. An additional problem is that the products would be different, sometimes in undesirable ways, because markets have no incentive to create positive externalities
- Markets in Everything (1 link)
- A propaganda theme at Marginal Revolution blog. Be amazed at the triumph of markets everywhere, but don't notice that they are often missing, noxious or poor substitutes for government. Markets are tools, like fire: but you wouldn't want fire in everything.
- Markets in Organs (3 links)
- Society is very leery of creating markets for organs, for very good reasons. Many libertarians (following ideological dictates of Self-Ownership and Market Fundamentalism) think organ markets should be unregulated.
- Repugnant Markets (5 links)
- Some markets (or potential markets) are offensive for a variety of reasons. Markets for kidneys, for example. They may involve objectification, coercion, slippery slopes, or undermining of important institutions. Libertarians often say marketize anyhow, while ignoring non-market alternatives.
- The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives (book) (1 link)
- "Usually, private ownership creates wealth, but too much ownership has the opposite effect -- it creates gridlock. When too many people own pieces of one thing, whether a physical or intellectual resource, cooperation breaks down, wealth disappears, and everybody loses."
The majority of economic activity takes place without any direct connection to markets, undertaken in the household or government sector, or within large corporations that trade in the market sector, but use central planning to organize their own activities.
John Quiggin, "I Pencil: A product of the mixed economy"