Markets Are Created By Government

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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.

Links

Karl Polanyi Explains It All [More...]
Robert Kuttner explains how Polanyi's The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time is more relevant now than ever. "Contrary to libertarian economists from Adam Smith to Hayek, Polanyi argued, there was nothing “natural” about the free market."
Ronald Coase, a Pragmatic Voice for Government’s Role [More...]
"Mr. Coase’s work cannot be read as a case for minimal government. On the contrary, his message was more purely pragmatic: Because we can’t negotiate efficient private solutions most of the time, we must ask whether laws and other institutions can help steer us toward solutions we would have chosen if negotiation had been practical."
The case against free trade – Part 2 [More...]
"There is no such thing as the ‘free market’. It is an obfuscation used by elites to distort the public debate and create the impression that state regulations, consumer and worker protections and the like are costly distortions which undermine our welfare. What they really mean when they talk of the ‘free market’ is that these protections reduce their capacity to extract larger proportions of national income..."
The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time (book, online) (1 link)
Explains the socially constructed nature of "free markets", as opposed to "spontaneous order". A major work of economic history.
The Myth of the Free Market and How to Make the Economy Work for Us [More...]
Robert Reich lays out the facts about what the "Free Market" really is: a large set of rules managed by government that creates and enlarges markets.
The Myth of the “Free Market” and How to Make the Economy Work for Us [More...]
One of the most deceptive ideas continuously sounded by the Right (and its fathomless think tanks and media outlets) is that the “free market” is natural and inevitable, existing outside and beyond government.

Quotations

Mr. Coase’s work cannot be read as a case for minimal government. On the contrary, his message was more purely pragmatic: Because we can’t negotiate efficient private solutions most of the time, we must ask whether laws and other institutions can help steer us toward solutions we would have chosen if negotiation had been practical.
Robert Frank, "Ronald Coase, a Pragmatic Voice for Government’s Role"
In reality, the “free market” is a bunch of rules about (1) what can be owned and traded (the genome? slaves? nuclear materials? babies? votes?); (2) on what terms (equal access to the internet? the right to organize unions? corporate monopolies? the length of patent protections? ); (3) under what conditions (poisonous drugs? unsafe foods? deceptive Ponzi schemes? uninsured derivatives? dangerous workplaces?) (4) what’s private and what’s public (police? roads? clean air and clean water? healthcare? good schools? parks and playgrounds?); (5) how to pay for what (taxes, user fees, individual pricing?). And so on.
Robert Reich, "The Myth of the “Free Market” and How to Make the Economy Work for Us"