The uncoerced, consensual exchanges of goods and services between individuals, antithesis of the State
See also:
  • FreedomPedia
  • In economics, a free market is an idealized system in which the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and consumers, in which the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly or other authority. Proponents of the concept of free market contrast it with a regulated market, in which a government intervenes in supply and demand through various methods such as tariffs used to restrict trade and protect the economy. In an idealized free-market economy, prices for goods and services are set freely by the forces of supply and demand and are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without intervention by government policy.


    Free Market, by Murray Rothbard, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, 1993
    Originally published in the The Fortune Encyclopedia of Economics; definition of the free market and some related terms, e.g., exchange, prices, demand, using lay examples
    "'Free market' is a summary term for an array of exchanges that take place in society. Each exchange is undertaken as a voluntary agreement between two people or between groups of people represented by agents. These two individuals (or agents) exchange two economic goods, either tangible commodities or nontangible services. ... Trade, or exchange, is engaged in precisely because both parties benefit; if they did not expect to gain, they would not agree to the exchange."
    Related Topic: Socialism


    A Biography of Henry Hazlitt, by Lew Rockwell, 1 Aug 2007
    Biographical and bibliographical essay
    "... he told the story of his job search to an interviewer ... 'I had no skills whatever. So I would get a job, and I would last two or three days and be fired. It never surprised me or upset me, because I read the Times early in the morning, went through the ads, and I'd practically have a job that day. This shows what happens when you have a free market. There was no such thing as a minimum wage at that time. There was no such thing as relief, except maybe there were places where you could get a soup handout for something, but there was no systematic welfare. You had a free market. ...'"
    A Libertarian Visits Cuba, Part 2, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Jul 1999
    Describes the meetings Hornberger had while conducting an informal study of socialism in Cuba, with "hard-liners" and reformers at research centers as well as people on the street
    "There are also the "reformers" in the research centers — people who seem to understand the benefits of free markets and who seem to want more market openness, competition, and cooperation in Cuba. Many of these people make it a point to keep abreast of intellectual developments in the United States. For example, I saw economics journals on the bookshelves, books by Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises, and standard American Keynesian economics textbooks. The advocates of reform have to be extremely careful to phrase their proposals so that they seem to advance the Cuban revolution, not question or challenge it."
    Antitrust Reform: Predatory Practices and the Competitive Process, by Dominick T. Armentano, The Review of Austrian Economics, 1989
    Examines so-called "predatory" practices from various perspectives, such as the purported "intent" of lower prices, pricing "below cost" and the alleged effects on "consumer welfare"
    "One implication of this discussion is that buyers in a free market may (occasionally) decide to support only one (or a few) major business organizations in some specific line of commerce. Such an extreme supplier situation is certainly possible (although not typical) and there is no reason, from a market-process perspective, to object to any momentary market structure of suppliers. After all, free markets are always open to potential rivalry and entry, and dominant suppliers can attempt to maintain their market positions only by maintaining an overall efficiency advantage over potential users of resources."
    Related Topics: Business, Prices
    An Unstimulating Idea, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 25 Jan 2008
    Examines the economic "stimulus" proposals being made by "everyone and his uncle" during the 2008 United States elections
    "[The] market process solves the problem of how to coordinate the productive activities of countless people in order to satisfy consumers. Those who are biased against freedom will proclaim that our economic problems show that the free market has failed. What free market? Do they mean the "free" market which for ages and in myriad ways the government has straitjacketed and skewed on behalf of favored interests? We are in our present position because government has burdened us with taxes, spending, debt, regulations, subsidies, guarantees (to lenders, for example), trade restrictions, fiat money, and other impositions."
    Related Topics: Government, No Free Lunch
    A Real Free Market Benefits Workers, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Nov 2006
    Discusses arguments from both progressives and their antagonists as to whether workers are losing ground, in terms of inflation-adjusted incomes, and argues that the blame is not on the so-called free market
    "Considering that for a couple hundred years local, state, and federal governments in America have intervened in the economy largely in behalf of business interests, we may reply that whatever we call it, it is not a free market. If the outcome in recent years has been unfair (however that may be defined), then the blame is on government intervention. ... The corporate state, by design, inhibits competition and makes average workers worse off than they'd otherwise be. "
    Begrudging Another Battle of Ballot-Boxing, by Kenneth R. Gregg, 23 Nov 2006
    Explains how those seeking power through politics are led to compromise, even if they are members of a group espousing principles over expediency, and urges others not to ballot-box but instead vote in the marketplace and the social realm
    "In the marketplace, your choices and decisions are unanimously made. You and another party agree on a purchase price and sales price. You make the trade. That's it. ... Our social realm succeeds because we vote constantly in the marketplace for the goods and services which we need and desire. There is no plunder in our profit, only the produce of willing hands and hearts which we purchase and sell with the coin of the realm."
    Bernie Is Not a Socialist and America Is Not Capitalist, by Marian Tupy, The Atlantic, 1 Mar 2016
    Clarifies the meaning of various terms which young people tend to misunderstand, including socialism, communism, capitalism and corporatism, and then discusses the relative levels of economic freedom in the United States and other countries
    "According to the economic historian Robert Hessen, capitalism is 'a term of disparagement coined by socialists in the mid-nineteenth century, [and it] is a misnomer for "economic individualism," which [the founder of economics] Adam Smith earlier called "the obvious and simple system of natural liberty."' Thus, people who favor Smith's system of natural liberty tend to refer to it as 'economic freedom,' 'laissez-faire' economics, 'private enterprise,' a 'free market,' or 'competitive enterprise.'"
    Book Note: Rothbard: Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles [PDF], by Manny Klausner, New York University Law Review, Jun 1963
    Review of Rothbard's economic treatise with emphasis on areas of interest to lawyers
    "After completing his examination of the free market, Rothbard critically studies the effects of government intervention in the market ... he states, 'There are two and only two ways that any economy can be organized. One is by freedom and voluntary choice—the way of the market. The other is by force and dictation— the way of the State.' He goes on to demonstrate that while superficially 'it may seem that the way of the market is only anarchic confusion and chaos ... [and that] the way of the State constitutes genuine organization and "central planning,"' in fact 'the truth is quite the reverse.'"
    Bourgeois Virtues?, by Deirdre McCloskey, Cato Policy Report, May 2006
    Offers an apologia (formal defense) of capitalism, in particular of the phrase "bourgeois virtues" as being neither a contradiction in terms nor a lie
    "A little farmers' market opens before 6:00 a.m. on a summer Saturday at Polk and Dearborn in Chicago. ... a woman walking her dog passes the earliest dealer setting up his stall ... The two people here are enacting a script of citizenly courtesies and of encouragement for prudence and enterprise and good relations between seller and buyer. Some hours later the woman is moved to buy $1.50 worth of tomatoes from him. But that's not the point. The market was an occasion for virtue, an expression of solidarity across gender, social class, ethnicity."
    California's Energy Meltdown, by George Reisman, The Free Market, Mar 2001
    Examines the causes underlying the problems of California's electric power system, countering those who claim they were due to deregulation and the free market
    "When faced with the need to restrict consumption, a free market does so by eliminating the least important of the uses to which a good was previously devoted, i.e., its previously marginal uses. ... such uses will probably turn out ... to be power-intensive industrial uses in the production of products that are unable to bear substantially higher power costs. To the extent that the free-market price were higher than the previously controlled price, it would operate to increase the profits of power producers and thereby provide both the incentive and the means ... to increase investment in and thus production ..."
    Cantillon, Richard (c.1680-1734), by George H. Smith, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Cantillon developed an abstract model of a self-regulating free market. Throughout the Essai, Cantillon refers to the 'natural' phenomena of the market; these are cause–effect relationships that operate independently of the desires and intentions of particular individuals. F. A. Hayek has noted that Cantillon, in developing his theory of an economic system governed by natural laws, uses 'the method of isolating abstraction,' including 'the device of the ceteris paribus clause,' with 'true virtuosity.'"
    Confessions of a Welfare Queen: How rich bastards like me rip off taxpayers for millions of dollars, by John Stossel, Reason, Mar 2004
    Discusses the National Flood Insurance Program, subsidies to farmers and farm corporations (such as Archer Daniels Midland) and Donald Trump's attempt to use eminent domain to expand a casino in Atlantic City
    "When I make speeches about free markets at Farm Bureau conferences, farmers applaud enthusiastically. But despite their surface support for free markets, most of them operate in a market that's very expensive for all of us ... Farmers argue, 'We need subsidies—because the food supply is too important to be left to the uncertainties of free market competition.' But farmers who grow beans, pears, and apples receive no government subsidies, and they thrive. Free markets are best at producing ample supplies of everything. Notice any shortages of unsubsidized green beans, pears, and apples? Me neither."
    Crushed by the Fed, by Kane, Future of Freedom, Jan 2008
    Discusses the role of the Federal Reserve in supposedly "controlling inflation and running the economy"
    "A free-market economy is based on mutually beneficial, voluntary exchanges. Since no one is forced to participate, all of the parties involved in an exchange expect that their exchange will benefit them in some way. On a large scale, the free market consists of millions of individuals making decisions about how to better their lives. In a free-market economy, the participants run the economy."
    Related Topic: Inflation
    Does the Market Commodify Everything?, by Thomas Woods, Mises Daily, 18 Sep 2006
    Contrasts the behavior of participants in a free market vs. the state's attitude towards those it considers its subjects
    "But is that ['commodify' everything] really what the market does? Murray Rothbard described the free market as simply 'the social array of voluntary exchanges of goods and services.' ... Rothbard was positioning 'power' and 'market' as antinomies. The market consists of voluntary transactions between willing parties; the state, or 'power,' introduces compulsion into human relations, bringing about coerced outcomes that people would not voluntarily have chosen."
    Do Greedy Spinach Merchants Want To Kill You?, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 6 Oct 2006
    Comments on the September 2006 North American E. coli outbreak in spinach, the reaction by merchants and intervention by government agencies
    "At the first notice of problems, five different companies immediately announced a recall, as did merchants around the country. Baggers started shipping salad with greens other than spinach. Grocery stores immediately switched vendors. ... This is one of the benefits of the information age, when word gets out to hundreds of millions in a matter of minutes. The response was a marvel of how markets can work. A valuable product said to bring health suddenly becomes a source of sickness and within hours, people not only stop eating it; it isn't even available for purchase!"
    Don't Do It, Google, by Lew Rockwell, 2 May 2006
    Cautions Google not to take the rumored action of asking the U.S. Justice Department and the European Commission to intervene to prevent Microsoft from setting their search engine as the default in a new version of their web browser
    "In a free society, producers enjoy the freedom to manage how their products are presented to the customer. Bad decisions in this regard are not as profitable to the company as good ones are. ... But what if Microsoft still dominates the market with inferior technology? Here we must speak to a common myth about free markets. It is not the case that the best technology always wins. All we can say about free markets is that there is a tendency for the most economically suitable products to dominate the market over the long term. That could mean that mainstream America will settle for convenience over quality, and who is to say that the proper economic course is always to prefer the opposite?"
    Related Topics: Government, Property Rights
    Economic Nationalism, Enemy of the People, by Sheldon Richman, 17 Nov 2006
    Explains the benefits of free trade and the perils of protectionism and economic nationalism
    "... whenever we can have our current array of products with less labor and fewer resources than before, the freed-up services and resources are now available for things we have had to go without. ... In a free market material progress consists in increased productivity (more for less) and temporary unemployment as people and resources shift to new purposes, culminating in additional production and wealth. The whole process is driven by entrepreneurship. I am describing the free market, of course. To the extent that government interferes with the market on behalf of privileged interests, it doesn't work quite that way."
    Entrepreneurship and Social Progress, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 20 Dec 2006
    Discusses the two usage senses of entrepreneurship, the attributes of an entrepreneur in the "more narrow and heroic sense" and contrasts politicians with entrepreneurs
    "[Some] oppose the free-market process that makes improvement possible. They seize on some innovation that they don't like, and instead of declining to buy, seek to deny that opportunity to others by passing laws against free exchange and economic progress. ... In the market economy, a job well done means serving the public. Profits, as Mises emphasized, accrue to individuals who serve others through enormous personal sacrifice. ... The market is not the only place that permits idealists to serve society, but it does provide a test to make sure their ideals conform to reality."
    Forrest McDonald, "The Founding Fathers and the Economic Order", by Forrest McDonald, 19 Apr 2006
    Speech given at the Economic Club of Indianapolis; contrasts the economic system the founding fathers intended to create with the one that was actually created
    "Had the will of the majority prevailed, had the Jeffersonians prevailed, had those committed to pure republicanism prevailed, the United States would have remained an agrarian, colonial economy destined to become a collection of banana republics. Fortunately, a handful of like-minded visionaries working through Alexander Hamilton and his office as Secretary of the Treasury used the freedoms of the Constitution and its protections to create a capitalistic, free-market economy and ensured that the United States would become the richest, most powerful, freest country the world has ever known. "
    Related Topics: Founding Fathers, Money
    Frédéric Bastiat: An Annotated Bibliography, by Sheldon Richman, 2000
    Opens with a biography, then discusses Bastiat's major works and concludes with a current perspective; includes short list of works about Bastiat and links to other sites
    "For Bastiat the task of economics is to explain this order produced by that 'prodigiously ingenious mechanism'—the free market—which harmonizes the interests of the multitude, enabling each person to enjoy an array of consumer goods no one of them could produce in ten centuries. Bastiat leaves the reader no choice but to marvel at both the market's complexity and its peerless facility at improving our material circumstances. For him, society is a system of exchange of services founded on self-interest, private property, and free competition, whose rationale is the benefit of consumers."
    Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850): Between the French and Marginalist Revolutions, by Thomas DiLorenzo
    Biographical and bibliographical essay which also analyzes Bastiat's ideas in relation to the Austrian School
    "Perhaps the main underlying theme of Bastiat's writings was that the free market was inherently a source of "economic harmony" among individuals, as long as government was restricted to the function of protecting the lives, liberties, and property of citizens from theft or aggression ... Bastiat also explained why in a free market no one can accumulate capital unless he uses it in a way that benefits others, i.e., consumers ... While establishing the inherent harmony of voluntary trade, Bastiat also explained how governmental resource allocation is necessarily antagonistic and destructive of the free market s natural harmony."
    UpdFree Markets Aren't Conservative, by Sheldon Richman, Nov 2001
    Explains why businesses, especially the larger and well established ones, favor regulations and taxes, and why a free, unregulated or "self-regulating" market protects consumer better
    "One of the great myths of the Industrial Age is that businessmen generally like free markets ... that conclusion crumbles when we realize that businessmen historically have opposed laissez faire ... Free markets were too uncertain for many businessmen; they never knew day to day what competitor might pop up and take away market share ... Businessmen ... know there is no safe harbor in the free market — which is why so many companies try to get government to adopt anti-market — that is, anti-consumer — regulations and taxes ... Regulations don't protect consumers as well as the free market does."
    Free markets king in Sweden, at least for a day: Ten minutes with .... Donald Boudreaux, by Donald J. Boudreaux, Bill Steigerwald, 18 Dec 2002
    Comments on Vernon Smith's Nobel Prize and about the firing of Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill
    "... a typical textbook ... says for markets to work efficiently there need to be many, many sellers and many, many buyers. They never really specify - hundreds, maybe thousands. They need to be perfectly informed. And Vernon finds that you only need as few as four sellers and you have no problem with monopoly. It's rare that markets are prone to monopoly. You don't need a lot of buyers. You don't need a lot of sellers. People ... don't have to know what the conditions of the market are. The natural competition of sellers, even when you have a few of them, is sufficient to make markets work pretty darn efficiently. "
    UpdFree-Market Socialism, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 14 Nov 2014
    Counters the caricature of libertarians as hyperindividualists or atomistic and explains the benefits that could be gained from truly freed markets
    "When the marketplace is really free and competitive (rather than constricted by the state to protect privileged interests), it is we collectively who decide who controls the means of production. We don't do this in the legal sense, for example, by literally expropriating the assets of some people and transferring them to others. Yet that's the effect of free competition and individual liberty. In other words, the freed market would give traditional leftists what they say they want: a society in which free, voluntary, and peaceful cooperation ultimately controls the means of production for the good of all people."
    Related Topics: Ethics, Libertarianism, Prices, Society
    Free Market Thinking: Not Applicable, by Per Bylund, 12 Jun 2006
    Discusses how many libertarians associate themselves with right wing, conservative political positions overlooking one important fact
    "I've heard many libertarians agree with conservatives and other right wing politicians on economic issues – joining forces against the 'left.' I too argue low wages and poor working conditions are not necessarily problematic – in the free market. The wording is the same, but the argument is quite different. Those small words, in the free market, are most important because without them, the argument fails and is utterly false."
    Friedman, Milton (1912-2006), by Aaron Steelman, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "In 1962, he published Capitalism and Freedom, the product of a series of lectures he gave at Wabash College in 1956. Although directed at a general audience, the book contains sophisticated and sometimes technical arguments for a number of free-market proposals, all presented in clear and accessible prose. For instance, Friedman called for the establishment of unilateral free trade and flexible exchange rates, introduced the idea of school vouchers, and argued for the privatization of social security. Also, as the title of the book suggests, Friedman argued that economic freedom is a necessary prerequisite for political freedom ..."
    Full Context, by Sheldon Richman, The Freeman, Apr 2006
    Explains why it is essential to be aware that the existing corporatist economy does not equate to the free market
    "What today is called rent-seeking, exploiting others through political means, was as common in earlier times as it is now. It was a rare business proprietor who favored laissez faire. ... Most business people were uninterested in moral philosophy, economic theory, and ideology. ... No knowledgeable champion of free markets will be surprised by any of this."
    Related Topic: Adam Smith
    Gertrude B. Kelly: A Forgotten Feminist, by Wendy McElroy, The Freeman, Oct 1998
    Biographical essay on Dr. Gertrude B. Kelly (1862–1934), Irish immigrant, individualist feminist and contributor to the Liberty periodical (1881-1908)
    "Like most radical individualists of nineteenth-century America, Kelly viewed "capitalism" as the major cause of poverty and social injustice. ... she mistakenly believed that interest, profit, and rent were usuries through which capitalists exploited laborers by usurping the product of their labor. Although it sounds ironic to modern ears, Kelly—along with many other early individualist theorists—considered the free market to be a cure for capitalism. She considered voluntary cooperation, unregulated by anything but the laws of economics and the desires of individuals, to be the solution to this social injustice."
    Government Failure, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Oct 2007
    Examines the validity of the concept of "market failures" as an argument for government intervention, reviewing arguments made by David Friedman against such meddling
    "So 'market failures,' Friedman recaps, are the exception in real markets and the rule in democratic political systems. He takes this a step further and points out that 'a market failure is also a profit opportunity.' A profit opportunity — in a genuinely free market void of privilege — indicates that consumers are underserved; that is, scarce resources are not being used in ways consumers would most prefer if they knew what they were missing. The entrepreneur rights things in this regard. Profit is his reward. The lure of profit is the incentive to discover how to better serve consumers."
    Housing Discrimination Laws and the Continuing Erosion of Property Rights, by George Leef, Future of Freedom, May 1999
    Discusses a decision by the Michigan Supreme Court whereby a married couple who (for religious reasons) declined to rent an apartment to another, unwed couple were deemed to be in violation of the Michigan Civil Rights Act
    "In a free market, everyone with the means to purchase housing (or food, cars, clothing, and everything else) is able to get the goods and services he needs. The great majority of landlords are interested only in the ability of the prospective tenant to pay the rent and take reasonably good care of the property ... The market provides housing for all, and the fact that a few landlords have what politicians and judges call irrational preferences is no justification for the use of coercion against them ... everyone can obtain housing through the peaceful processes of the free market ..."
    Related Topics: Michigan, Property Rights
    In Defense of a Free Market in Health Care, by Robert D. Helmholdt, 16 Apr 2004
    Explains why government health care reforms will not improve the status quo, recommending instead complete deregulation of the industry and reliance on the free market
    "Oh, what a godsend it would be to restore a free market in health care and a two-party contractual agreement between doctor and patient, which is what the true doctor-patient relationship is: only if treatment is agreeable to each party and value is received in exchange for value is it likely that treatment will be efficient, effective, and cost-controlled. Restoring a free-enterprise, voluntary system to health care would produce the best health care at the least cost that the world has ever seen."
    Inequality of Wealth and Incomes, by Ludwig von Mises, The Freeman, May 1955
    Describes how attempts to equalize incomes and wealth lead to lowered standard of living for the masses and eventually to socialism
    "Profit and loss tell the entrepreneur what the consumers are asking for most urgently. And only the profits the entrepreneur pockets enable him to adjust his activities to the demand of the consumers. If the profits are expropriated, he is prevented from complying with the directives given by the consumers. Then the market economy is deprived of its steering wheel. It becomes a senseless jumble."
    Related Topics: Capital Goods, Socialism, Taxation
    I, Pencil, by Milton Friedman (afterword), Leonard Read, Lawrence Reed (introduction), The Freeman, Dec 1958
    Read's most famous essay; resource page at FEE website includes PDF, MOBI and ePub versions, and MP3 recording
    "Here is an astounding fact: Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger ... nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Each one wants me less, perhaps, than does a child in the first grade. ... Each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants. ... There is a fact still more astounding: The absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work."
    Related Topics: Capital Goods, Government, Labor, Land
    Israel M. Kirzner and the Austrian Theory of Competition and Entrepreneurship, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Aug 2001
    Written on occasion of Kirzner's academic retirement at age 71; begins with biographical summary and then focuses on Kirzner's understanding of entrepreneurs in the market "process" and the detrimental effects of government intervention in the market
    "Mises, as Kirzner explained, viewed the market as a 'process.' But what kind of a process is it? Kirzner has emphasized that it is a process of entrepreneurial alertness. ... In Israel Kirzner's view, one of the most important reasons for open, competitive markets is for individuals to have the profit incentives and the chance to benefit from alertness. The free-market institutional order creates the conditions under which people will be more likely to have the motivation to be alert, even though we can never know ahead of time what their creative discoveries will generate and unearth."
    James Buchanan's Subjectivist Economics, by Sheldon Richman, Apr 2013
    Reviews Buchanan's writings in What Should Economists Do?, a collection of several of his essays
    "... Buchanan made an important contribution to our thinking about markets ... he took issue with the claim that an omniscient being could in principle predict the outcome of the market process. He thought that claim indicated an incomplete understanding of the nature of spontaneous processes and therefore made a regrettable concession to the market's opponents. For him, the market doesn't aim at some external objective ... Rather, Buchanan wrote, 'the "order" of the market emerges only from the process of voluntary exchange among the participating individuals. ...'"
    James M. Buchanan and the Rebirth of Political Economy, by Peter Boettke, Economics and its Discontents, 1998
    Examines Buchanan's contributions in bursting the "romantic vision of political science," advancing subjectivism as a challenge to modern economics formalism and re-integrating moral philosophy into economics
    "... a Roman Emperor was asked to judge a singing contest ... On hearing the first contestant, the Emperor simply gave the prize to the second under the assumption that the second could be no worse than the first. Of course, the ... second singer could have indeed been worse. The theory of market failure as developed in the 1950s committed the same mistake as the Emperor. Demonstrating that the market economy failed to live up to the ideals of general competitive equilibrium was one thing, but to gleefully assert that public provision could costlessly correct the failure was quite another matter."
    J. B. Say: An Economist in Troubled Times, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, May 1998
    Review of J.B. Say: An Economist in Troubled Times (1997), writings selected and translated by R.R. Palmer
    "... the main focus of his writings was to emphasize the importance of sound economic principles for understanding why the market should be freed from government control. He strongly believed that freeing the market was the best avenue for reducing poverty, eliminating the artificial inequalities in income created by state regulation, and bringing about a much better world for all through increased productivity and competition. As Say expressed it ... "In general, it results from the study of political economy that it is best in most cases for men to be left to themselves because it is thus that they reach a development of their faculties ...""
    Jean-Baptiste Say: Neglected Champion of Laissez-Faire, by Larry J. Sechrest
    Biographical and bibliographical essay, discussing Say's life, methodology and his writings on money, banking, the law of markets, entrepreneurship, capital, interest, value, utility, taxes and the state
    "... 'Say's Law' ... or law of markets (loi des debouches) ... remains, in some guise or other, essential to any defense of free markets. Moreover, all collectivists attempt to refute it in the course of their assault on liberty and the free society. ... It is certainly possible for there to exist either a shortage or a surplus of any particular commodity, but general overproduction or general underproduction can be no more than momentary phenomena. ... maladjusted production results from 'some violent means ... a political or natural convulsion.' Left to its own devices, the market will correct such imbalances."
    John Stuart Mill and the Three Dangers to Liberty, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Jun 2001
    Evaluates John Stuart Mills arguments in his essay "On Liberty", in particular the three forms of tyranny posited by Mill and an element (private property) not emphasized by his analysis
    "But the advantage of the market economy is that an individual can choose how and in what form he will find his niche in the nexus of voluntary exchange to acquire those things that will enable him to fulfill his own vision of the good life and its purposes. This will not come without a cost. To earn the income that permits him, as a consumer, to buy the things that will enable him to live that unconventional life may require him to work as a producer at tasks he finds irksome or unattractive. On the other hand, he can choose to earn a living doing something he enjoys more, but then he may have to forgo the higher income ..."
    Julian Simon, Lifesaver, by Donald J. Boudreaux, The Freeman, Apr 1998
    Reflections on the passing of Julian Simon; opening quote: "The real issue is not whether one cares about nature, but whether one cares about people", The Ultimate Resource 2 (1996)
    "More clearly than almost anyone else, Julian understood Adam Smith's insight that in free markets wealth is the product of human creativity. And the greater the number of free people, the greater the number of innovative ideas for transforming raw resources into goods and services that improve human lives. In free markets, more people mean more wealth. ... Precisely because a free market inspires literally millions of people to add their creative geniuses to industrial and commercial efforts, relatively few individuals are singled out as great benefactors."
    Les Economistes Libertaires, by Carl Watner, Reason, Jan 1977
    Discusses the French economists of the 19th century and in particular Gustave de Molinari and his thoughts on the provision of security and defense services by private agencies
    "If security were offered on the free market by private firms or individuals, it would become necessary for the consumer to investigate the claims of the producers in order to determine which one would best suit them. Consumers would have to know whether their supplier was actually strong enough to provide the degree and type of protection they would require. The purveyors of security would have to offer moral guarantees ... As in any open market, Molinari believed that the purchasers of security would shop around for the best deal."
    Libertarianism in Ancient China, by Murray Rothbard, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith, 1995
    Excerpted from chapter 1, section 1.10 "Taoism in ancient China"; discusses the Legalist, Confucian and Taoist schools of political philosophy and then concentrates on the latter, covering Laozi, Zhuangzi, Bao Jingyan and the Confucian historian Sima Qian
    "Since Ch'ien thought very little of the idea of limiting one's desires, he was impelled, far more than the Taoists, to investigate and analyze free market activities. ... Furthermore, prices are regulated on the market, since excessively cheap or dear prices tend to correct themselves and reach a proper level. But if the free market is self-regulating, asked Ch'ien perceptively, 'what need is there for government directives, mobilizations of labor, or periodic assemblies?' What need indeed?"
    Related Topics: China, Government, Lǎozǐ, The State
    Ludwig von Mises and the Justification of the Liberal Order, by William Baumgarth, The Economics of Ludwig von Mises, Nov 1974
    Critically examines various Mises' writings on liberalism, democracy, the wisdom of the masses, special-interest politics, equal treatment under the law, anarchism, self-determination and of course economics
    "The decentralized planning of the market offers a greater probability of success than 'societal' planning on a centralized or command basis. In a market situation, the individual's plans are not subject to the plans of any one person or even a few persons: the individual conforms to the plans of others because he thereby advances his own. The market not only provides the individual with the autonomy needed to carry out his plans but also offers information about the plans of others by way of the pricing mechanism."
    Ludwig von Mises: An Economist for Freedom and Free Enterprise, by Richard Ebeling, 29 Sep 2016
    Discusses three major themes in the works of Mises, namely, business cycle theory, his critique of socialism and the unfettered market economy; includes list of suggested additional readings
    "Partial government regulations ... [prevent] the competitive market system from operating as dynamically and adaptively ... This latter point highlights an element that runs through most of Mises's writings on economics, and that is his emphasis on seeing and understanding the market economy as a dynamic process of never-ending change containing within it the potential and possibilities for human creativity and entrepreneurial innovation that when left free and open offers a wide arena for human improvement and rising standards of living for all over the long run."
    Module 4: Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (Part I)
    Fourth module of the Cato Home Study Course, includes link to listen or download audio program (2:33:47), questions and suggested readings
    "Enemies of free-market relationships tend to portray voluntary exchanges as 'zero sum,' that is, a gain to one party can come only at a loss to the other. But Smith showed how trade is based on mutual benefit, rather than conflict over fixed resources. The division of labor, so bemoaned by socialists as the source of 'alienation,' is seen as the foundation for an enormous system of social cooperation and wealth production. ... free markets and the attendant economic progress and growth are to the long-term benefit of all the members of society, including the least powerful, whose interests count as much as those of the powerful."
    Related Topics: Netherlands, Adam Smith
    Monopolies versus the Free Market, Part 1, by Gregory Bresiger, Future of Freedom, Sep 2006
    Contrasts state-backed monopolies or quasi-monopolies vs. regular businesses in a free market, with historical and current examples, and discusses antitrust laws
    "Market domination that has been achieved in the private sector through efficiency and consumer satisfaction is a phenomenon of a free-market economy. Even without any competition, such a business can never take customers for granted because of the possibility that new entrants will enter the marketplace to compete. Indeed, big, well-established companies with large market share must constantly strive to satisfy consumers. ... Owners of big, successful businesses can never be sure that they will retain their strong position no matter how dominant they may look at a particular point in time."
    Mr. Bush, Mind Your Own Business, by Sheldon Richman, 21 Oct 2005
    Criticizes George W. Bush's advice to Americans that they should drive less in order to conserve gasoline
    "The principal difference between the genuine marketeer and the phony is that the genuine marketeer ... understands that nothing compares to unfettered markets at (1) respecting freedom and (2) placing the division of labor and knowledge at the service of everyone in society. Part of this process involves the price system's dual constructive role of summoning greater supplies by offering entrepreneurs new chances for profit and encouraging consumers to economize. Once the nature of the market process is grasped, one readily sees that there is no economic role for government ... "
    Related Topic: George W. Bush
    Murray N. Rothbard: Mr. Libertarian, by Wendy McElroy, 6 Jul 2000
    A tribute to Rothbard as a "system builder," an integrator of multiple disciplines into a "philosophy of freedom"; examines several of Rothbard's essays and books
    ".. the last essay ... is entitled "Ludwig von Mises and the Paradigm for Our Age." He explained, "There is, in the body of thought known as 'Austrian economics,' a scientific explanation of the workings of the free market (and of the consequences of government intervention in that market) which individualist anarchists could easily incorporate into their political and social Weltanschauung." This was the point at which radical civil liberties embraced the free market and became virtually indistinguishable: that is, economic and civil liberties became points on the same continuum of freedom."
    Murray Rothbard's Philosophy of Freedom, by David Gordon, The Freeman, Nov 2007
    Examines the arguments made by Rothbard from the premise that slavery is wrong, self-ownership, private property rights and a free market without government interventions follows
    "But Rothbard did not altogether distance himself from Mises's view that there can be a defense of the free market that rests on no controversial ethical assumptions. On the contrary, he extended it. In Power and Market, he contends that some types of interference with market can be rejected because they aim at a logically impossible goal. If a proposed ethical ideal cannot be realized, it must rationally be rejected. To accept this requires no adherence to a particular ethical view: it is a requirement of reason."
    On Equality and Inequality, by Ludwig von Mises, Modern Age, 1961
    Examines the premise that "all men are created equal" and some possible as well as purported conclusions
    "In the market, economic power is vested in the consumers. They ultimately determine, by their buying or abstention from buying, what should be produced, by whom and how, of what quality and in what quantity. The entrepreneurs, capitalists, and landowners who fail to satisfy in the best possible and cheapest way the most urgent of the not-yet-satisfied wishes of the consumers are forced to go out of business and forfeit their preferred position."
    On Evil Acts, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 19 Apr 2007
    Analyzes the typical mainstream ("liberal") and conservative responses to acts of violence such as the April 2007 Virginia Tech shooting
    "What we really need is a system of social organization and political management that creates the best possible environment for human thriving regardless of man's propensity toward evil. ... There is only one system of social organization that strives daily for a more perfect way of identifying the problem of evil, assessing its likelihood, and curbing it as much as humanly possible, and that is the competitive market economy rooted in the private ownership and control of property. Matching security to risk is a very complicated undertaking, so firms work with insurance companies to discover the right means."
    Related Topics: Conservatism, Society, The State
    Parity: Bureaucratic Tyranny by Moral Fraud, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Sep 1999
    Discusses the consequences of establishing "parity" for agricultural prices, in the name of "fairness", as was done by the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 (and subsequent legislation)
    "In a free society, no individual or group has a moral right to the same income as any other individual or group. A profession's income is the result of billions of voluntary decisions of that group and other groups throughout the economy. If people are dissatisfied with their incomes, they are free to change professions. But farm lobbies have always thought that the answer was ... for the American economy, consumers, and even farmers to be shackled to benefit farmers. Yet there is no reason to equalize farmers' and city folks' income that would not justify forcibly equalizing the incomes of all professions."
    Paterson, Isabel (1886-1961), by Stephen Cox, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "To Paterson, it is clear that 'a machine economy cannot run on a mechanistic philosophy.' The great example of correct engineering principles is America's original constitutional system, in which government functions mainly as a brake on invasions of liberty. The constitutional system allowed for the existence of laissez-faire capitalism, which includes its own self-controlling features and which has produced the greatest extension of the long circuit of energy. Subsequent progress depends on people's willingness to understand the principles of a liberal society and the errors of its conscious or unconscious opponents ..."
    Related Topic: Isabel Paterson
    Professor Ludwig von Mises Discusses Free Enterprise, La Prensa, 2 Jun 1959
    Translation of interview with Ludwig von Mises upon visiting Buenos Aires; discusses Mises' views on free enterprise, inflation, the policies of De Gaulle and Adenauer and the possibility of an Argentine economic recovery
    "The visitor told us he 'deeply believes in the benefits of free enterprise,' and considers that 'only a free-market economy can resolve the problems of the current world, at the national as well as in the international level, including — he added — the question of peace between nations.' Dr. Mises insisted that 'most international conflicts could be eliminated by the general acceptance of the principles of free trade and the conditions of a free economy.'"
    Pundit in Wonderland, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 28 Sep 2007
    Critiques a Washington Post op-ed about the results of a survey showing an increase in those who consider themselves the "have-nots" of American society
    "Clearly, Meyerson's perceptions go no further than the public statements of politicians. For him, if a president talks about the benefits of the free market, that must mean we have a free market. No need to consult reality to see if word and deed diverge ... We can expect the widest diffusion of wealth in a truly free market because government wouldn't be discouraging production or granting privileges to the well-connected. Working people, who often feel they are without economic power, would have maximum bargaining clout if government kept hands off. Clout comes from having alternatives, and government intervention reduces alternatives ..."
    Robert Nozick and the Value of Liberty, by Aaron Ross Powell, 21 Jun 2011
    Responds to Stephen Metcalf's essay "The Liberty Scam", published on
    "The beauty of the free market is not that it specifically supports basketball playing or philosophy writing, but that it rewards those who have talents that are actually and voluntarily valued by the rest of us. Arriving at an array of values this way seems a good deal better than the alternative, at least. For if we aren't to leave 'value' to the market, we have to leave it to someone. Which means substituting that person's (or committee's) particular, uniform conception of value for the variegated bramble that is a free society."
    Smith, Adam (1723-1790), by Ronald Hamowy, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay focusing on Adam Smith's two major works
    "Wealth is produced and distributed, Smith argued, by virtue of the fact that the market constitutes a self-regulating mechanism producing complex patterns without the need of an orderer. It is as if, he maintains, economic interactions were directed by an invisible hand, by which men, seeking their own private gain, benefit society and thus promote an end that was no part of their intention. Indeed, the notion of an unfettered market is predicated on the idea that a socially beneficial ordered arrangement is likely to emerge out of the free actions of countless individuals, each aiming at the satisfaction of his own private ends."
    Socialism, by David Prychitko, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Describes socialism, the economic calculation debate and some socialist variations such as market socialism, decentralized participatory socialism, anarcho-communism and the welfare-regulatory state
    "The collapse of socialism does not necessarily imply that free-market capitalism will win by default. Markets, profit and loss, entrepreneurship, and competition are indeed necessary features of advanced societies. But these institutions require trust and legitimacy to function. Furthermore, market institutions are quite capable of supporting a parasitic welfare-regulatory state. However, the utter collapse of socialism as an economic system accounts for the fact that the bulk of socialist thought in our postcommunist era has finally acknowledged the necessity of basic market institutions."
    Related Topics: Prices, Property Rights, Socialism
    Socialism and Medicine, Part 2, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom, Jun 2008
    Examines the economics of medical care in the United States, including the influence of third-party payers and comparisons to medical care in Canada
    "This is the world of insurer-led medical care that Moore calls 'free-market.' It clearly is not. American medical care is heavily regulated on all fronts, and is dominated by third-party payers who are under pressure to keep from giving away the store. (That includes government payers and providers of medical care, which also face real cost constraints and often are stingier than private insurers.)"
    Socialism and Medicine, Part 3, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom, Jul 2008
    Further examination of medical care in the United States, analyzing the calls for "mandates" for universal health care
    "There is one thing to remember that is very, very important when speaking of free markets: they are entities that are free of coercion. We often fail to remember that free markets are called such precisely because they involve voluntary and consensual behavior on behalf of the individuals involved in those exchanges."
    Related Topic: Health Care
    Socialism: Illegitimate, Not Just Inefficient, by Gary North, 15 May 2001
    Discusses two aspects in the criticism of socialism: whether it is efficient compared to capitalism (according to the theory of value-free economics) and whether it is immoral (or contrary to human nature)
    "The problem is, the most efficient defenders of the efficiency of the free market have generally been defenders of value-free economics. They have let their technical case against socialism stand alone. This lets the socialists off one of the two hooks, the hook that offers them their greatest propaganda advantage: the myth of their high moral ground. We need defenders of the free market who understand both the inefficiency of collectivism and its immorality. It would be nice if they were effective coiners of aphorisms, the way that Bastiat was."
    Socialized Medicine in a Wealthy Country, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 2 Dec 2006
    Discusses the view of socialized medicine held by left-socialists, examining the problems that existed in Soviet-controlled countries as well as current U.S. problems, and urges for a "complete separation of health and state"
    "So we face a peculiar situation in which there is an overuse of approved drugs and nonuse of needed but unapproved drugs and other remedies. The way around this problem is to leave it to the market, but that is a solution hardly anyone wants to consider. ... But fortunately the market – meaning innovating and cooperating human beings – seems to find a way around the problems that government has created. This is nowhere more true than in the medical sector. It is thanks to the market that there is more medical information available today than ever before in history, more life-saving techniques, more access to services, and more choice."
    Speaking to Nonlibertarians, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 11 Jul 2014
    Suggests an approach by which libertarians can try to persuade others of the undesirability of government-provided services and the benefits of free markets
    "We must demonstrate that people cooperating in freed markets (not to be confused with today's corporatist economy) would be better providers than the state ... the free and competitive market ... ties rewards to customer service and stimulates entrepreneurial discovery, which makes products and services better and cheaper. For example, market-based consumer protection would be superior to the government's ersatz version precisely because it would be market-based — that is, offered by competitors trying to prosper by demonstrating competence, establishing reputations, and winning the favor of customers."
    Stigler, George J. (1911-1991), by Aaron Steelman, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "In the early 1960s, Stigler's attention turned in large measure to examining economic regulation. He was skeptical of the view held by many political scientists that most regulations were, quite simply, necessary and rational responses to problems with a relatively unfettered market system. Through a number of careful empirical studies, on the electricity and securities industries, for example, he found that regulations often reduced consumer welfare rather than enhanced it. If true, then, why had the number and power of regulatory agencies expanded so greatly in the 20th century? In answer, Stigler came up with his 'capture theory.'"
    Related Topics: George Stigler, Prices
    Stiglitz is Wrong on Government, by Michael S. Rozeff, Mises Daily, 6 Sep 2006
    Criticizes the 1986 Bruce C. Greenwald and Joseph E. Stiglitz paper "Externalities in Economies with Imperfect Information and Incomplete Markets", which posits that certain government interventions "can make everyone better off"
    "The real economic questions concerning externalities are why they arise, how they relate to property rights, what to do about them, or when it pays for interested parties to do something about them. In a sense, they are no different than any other kind of inefficiency. Therefore, the presumption is that free exchanges can address the perceived costs and benefits associated with them whereas government is ill-suited to the task."
    Related Topics: Government, Prices, Murray Rothbard
    Synchronized Boom, Synchronized Bust: Bad U.S. monetary policy had global consequences, by Marc Faber, The Wall Street Journal, 18 Feb 2009
    Examines how the latest boom/bust cycle came into being and allegations that it was a "free market" failure
    "It is not that the free market failed. The mistake was constant interventions in the free market by the Fed and the U.S. Treasury that addressed symptoms and postponed problems instead of solving them. ... The best policy response would be to do nothing and let the free market correct the excesses brought about by unforgivable policy errors."
    Related Topic: Federal Reserve System
    Thank You ... for a Free Market, by Jacob Hornberger, 30 Jun 2006
    Explains why so often both parties to a commercial transaction express gratitude toward the other
    "The ... subjective theory of value ... is based on the following principle: In every economic exchange, each side gains because each side gives up something he values less for something he values more. Therefore, each side to an exchange is grateful for being given something that, in his mind, is more valuable than what he surrenders in order to receive it. ... Both sides have gained from the transaction, each from his own individual perspective ... An important corollary to the subjective theory of value is that people's standard of living rises through the simple act of exchange."
    Related Topic: Labor
    The Abstract Concept of Human Liberty, by Robert LeFevre, The Freeman, Dec 1982
    Discusses how people may be interested in other people, events or things but only a few are interested in ideas, and how each group of people tends to view liberty from those perspectives
    "Those thinking at [the level of things] usually forget that a free market has its merit because the customer is king. And, as customers rule, it is customer choice that finally determines who will profit and who will lose. A free market is a profit and loss system, with only the customers making the final decision. ... Here are often found those businessmen who speak from both sides of their mouths. They favor a free market until they face effective competition."
    The Bridge of Asses, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 2 Oct 2003
    Argues that minimum wage legislation is "the pons asinorum of the relationship between economics and politics", explaining that labor prices (wages) are no different from other prices in the marketplace
    "If the free market works—meaning the existence of exchange under private property and contract enforcement—then there is no need for such laws; indeed, such laws do violence to the market. If ... we need such laws to guard against exploitation and to boost living standards, there is every reason for all-round central planning. ... Politicians who enact these laws imagine themselves as central planners magically bringing compassion and high living standards into being with the stroke of a pen. People who support the laws have a flawed view of the market process that sees exploitation behind all exchange relationships."
    The Brilliance of Turgot, by Murray Rothbard, 1986
    Biography and review of Turgot's major writings; introduction to The Turgot Collection
    "[Turgot makes] a vital pre-Hayekian point about the uses of indispensable particular knowledge by individual actors and entrepreneurs in the free market. These committed, on-the-spot participants ... know far more about their situations than do intellectuals aloof from the fray. ... Turgot points out that self-interest is the prime mover of the [market] process, and that in the free market, individual interest must always coincide with the general interest. The buyer will select the seller who will give him the lowest price for the most suitable product, and the seller will sell his best merchandise at the highest competitive price."
    UpdThe Consequences of Liberty, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 30 Jan 2015
    Compares consequentialism (or utilitarianism) to deontological ethics, also mentioning virtue ethics, and reviews Roderick Long's essay "Why Does Justice Have Good Consequences?"
    "We know that a radically freed market would create a high level of prosperity even for the "poorest." But before getting into the reasons for that, there is a point worth putting on the table. Sometimes the question posed to deontologists is different: What if free markets increased income inequality (not poverty)? The switch from poverty to income inequality is sometimes unnoticed, but it is significant. I noted recently that increasing "market inequality" (as opposed to what I call "political-economic inequality," which results from government privilege) is consistent with dramatically rising prosperity for all ..."
    The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise, by Milton Friedman, 16 Nov 1991
    From keynote address at Fifth International Conference on Drug Policy Reform; examines why, 20 years after Friedman's admonition against Nixon's drug war, the government continues its attempts at enforcement, in spite of the observable, predicted results
    "My last is economics, the study of how society organizes its limited resources to meet the many and varied wants of its members. Fundamentally, society's resources can be organized in only one of two ways, or by some mixture of them. One way is by market mechanisms: from the bottom up. The other way is by command: from the top down. The market is one mechanism. Authoritarian organization—the military is a clear example—is the other. The general gives the order ... and so on down the line. In the market, the orders come the other way. The consumer walks into a store and gives the order and the orders go up."
    The Early Economists Who Tried to Save France, by Richard Ebeling, 31 Oct 2016
    Discusses the Physiocrats, focusing on Quesnay and Turgot
    "He abolished all restrictions on the free trade in grain within France ... He eliminated discriminatory taxing practices ... that discouraged investment and work. ... He went about breaking the power of privileged monopolies by ending legal restrictions that prohibited new competitors from entering various markets and local taxes that made entry too costly. ... Turgot began the arduous process of eliminating layers of bureaucracy ... The more Turgot instituted such sweeping free-market-oriented reforms, the greater the number of special interests who found themselves with a common goal to defeat him."
    The Free Market Is the High Road, by Bart Frazier, 2 Aug 2004
    Discusses how government regulations bear on countless areas, how regulation distorts free market prices and the benefits of deregulation, both financial and moral
    "Though the financial benefits of ending regulation are enormous, they are not the most important reason for freeing the economy. A free market is superior to a regulated one because individual liberty is the only moral foundation on which to base a society. ... The moral path is to let people live in peace so long as they do not violate the rights of others. This is the essence of a free-market society, it is the path to prosperity, and it is the only honorable way to live with one another."
    Related Topics: Government, Prices
    The French Employment Fiasco, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 11 Apr 2006
    Discusses the business and labor situation in France where a 2006 law deregulating job contracts led to protests and a repeal of the law
    "Imagine if jobs were available for everyone who wanted to work. ... Or imagine if French workers were in the position of deciding — as many young Americans are — whether to work for someone else's company or take the risk of starting their own. ... But how can we know that a free market would guarantee high employment opportunities? In any society, in any time in human history, there is always and everywhere work to be done because there are people with unmet needs. ... Is there work to be done on your plumbing, paint, carpets, yard, and cabinetry? Is there not work you would gladly have done if the price were right?"
    Related Topics: France, Labor, Unemployment
    The Futility of State-Directed "Market Reform": Privatization, by Kevin Carson, 5 Aug 2013
    Examines how so-called "privatization" typically works, with examples from various industries and how Carson thinks it ought to work
    "But the examples he lists — water and electric utilities, prisons, "free market healthcare," etc. — make it pretty clear it's only "free market" insofar as it involves corporate profit ... This is what the right-wing "free market" think tanks mean by "market reform." But it's delusional to expect anything else, no matter how much they throw around the term "free market." It's just as foolish to expect genuine "free market reform" from right-wing capitalists as it is to expect genuine pro-worker policies from left-wing capitalists. Trying to promote free markets ... through the state is like doing origami with a hammer."
    Related Topics: Private Property, The State
    The Great Thanksgiving Hoax, by Richard J. Maybury, The Free Market, Nov 1985
    Describes what really happened to the Mayflower pilgrims (and also at Jamestown) by relying on governor William Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation
    "To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of the famines. Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results. ... Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth. ... Before these free markets were established, the colonists had nothing for which to be thankful."
    Related Topics: Socialism, Thanksgiving
    The Housing-Financial Meltdown Revisited, by Sheldon Richman, 11 Oct 2013
    Examines the history behind the 1933 Glass-Steagall act, its repeal in 1999, and the causes behind the 2008 financial meltdown, with quotes from "The Rise and Fall of Glass-Steagall" (2010) by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Warren C. Gibson, and other sources
    "This tale is favored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others of her ilk, who hold ... that the United States had free banking between the 1980s and the passage of Dodd-Frank in 2010 ... it's hard to know if this is anything more than an incantation designed to blame the "free [sic] market" and to bolster their case for bureaucratic management of our lives (which they call "the economy"). It takes Herculean ignorance or dishonesty to claim that America had free banking before 2010 ... this [confirms] that no matter how much the government controls the economic system, any problem will be blamed on whatever small zone of freedom remains."
    Related Topics: Banking, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
    The Invisible Hand Is a Gentle Hand, by Sharon Harris, 14 Sep 1998
    Defends the free market and individual liberty, quoting among others Frédéric Bastiat, Thomas Jefferson, David and Milton Friedman, John Lott, Isabel Paterson, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Adam Smith, Thomas Sowell, John Stossel and Walter Williams
    "That invisible hand is a gentle one. A free market is a gentle market. ... In the free market we see, not a survival of the fittest, but a survival of the kindest. Survival of the most cooperative. Survival of the friendliest. A gentle Darwinism, if you will. ... Compare that to the gentle hand of the free market. If you don't like the way one grocery store treats you, you can go elsewhere. ... Cooperation is inherent in the free market. ... In a free market, you would have the opportunity to retire better off than you are while you're working. Even if you're a minimum wage-earner."
    The Labor Theory of Value (An Analysis), by Donald Ernsberger, Jarret Wollstein (Editor), 1988
    Examines Marx's Labor Theory of Value, including an example, and compares it to the market-exchange theory, exploring some of the flaws in the former
    "The free market, in contrast, rests upon voluntary trade. If workers choose to contract for employment in factories rather than work their own farms or produce handicrafts, it is because they prefer the wages and conditions in factories. ... True free-market capitalism, capitalism free of state intervention, prohibitions, subsidies and protectionism, means economic prosperity and freedom for all. Indeed, the free market is the only economic system which enables consumers rather than bureaucrats to determine what is produced and at what price."
    The League and Sir Robert Peel, by Richard Cobden, 15 Jan 1846
    Speech to the National Anti-Corn-Law League, discussing their work over the past seven years and predicting immediate repeal of the Corn Laws in the upcoming session of Parliament
    "... let the Corn Law be abolished instantly; let foreigners see what the English market is in its natural state, and then they will be able to judge from year to year and from season to season what will be the future demand from this country for foreign corn. There will be no extravagant estimate of what we want - no contingency of bad harvests to speculate upon. The supply will be regulated by the demand, and will reach that state which will be the best security against both gluts and famine. Therefore, for the farmer's sake, I plead for the immediate abolition of this law."
    Related Topic: Free Trade
    The Many Monopolies, by Charles W. Johnson, 24 Aug 2011
    Describes four ways in which markets are distorted by government interventions, explains Tucker's "Four Monopolies", examines five present-day monopolies and discusses Tucker's libertarian views
    "We libertarians defend economic freedom, not big business. We advocate free markets, not the corporate economy. And what would freed markets look like? Nothing like the controlled markets we have today. But how often do we hear mass unemployment, financial crisis, ecological catastrophe, and the economic status quo attributed to the voraciousness of 'unfettered free markets'? As if they were all around us! The crises laid at the feet of laissez faire are the crises of markets that are nothing if not fettered."
    The Market Is a Beautiful Thing, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jul 2013
    Explores whether most people's aversion to the market is aesthetic and explains the beauty in the dynamics of the (freed) market, with quotes from Bastiat and Adam Smith
    "The freed market is a political-legal setting in which people are at liberty to peacefully pursue their chosen plans. This activity generates, unintentionally, an undesigned order that facilitates cooperation and coordination among even distant strangers, making each person's pursuit more effective and efficient than otherwise. ... The market is beautiful not because it lives up to some mathematically elegant equilibrium model — but because it does not! Its beauty lies in its power to coordinate activity and correct errors. And it does that work without compulsion or authoritarian central direction."
    The Nature and Significance of Economic Education, by Israel Kirzner, The Freeman, Oct 1998
    Explains why economic education of both the general public and politicians/legislators is needed and why a teacher, such as Mises, must remain scientifically detached (value free) even if passionate about the teaching goals
    "First, despite individual freedom in the making of decisions in the free-market economy, there do emerge 'law-like' regularities in economic phenomena – regularities that society can ignore or defy only at its own peril. Second, these regularities appear as powerful tendencies in free markets toward the directing of scarce resources:
    • Into those branches of production which the consuming public values most urgently and most highly;
    • Into those methods of production which, judged from the consumers’ perspective, must be described as the most efficient;
    • ... "
    The Pope Dabbles in Economics, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Dec 2013
    Examines the economic premises of Pope Francis' 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, explaining where the Pope has a point and where he is wrong
    "In an important sense, we do have 'an economy of exclusion and inequality.' But it is not the free market; rather, it’s interventionism, corporatism, crony capitalism, or just plain capitalism — that is, the abrogation of the free market on behalf of special, mostly business, interests. ... The pope's concern with the poor and excluded is well-placed. We should not tolerate their condition or its causes. But what the poor and excluded need are freedom and freed markets — really free markets, not 'the prevailing economic system' — so they may be liberated from the oppression that holds them back."
    Related Topic: Government
    The Pretense of Regulatory Knowledge, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 3 Oct 2008
    Written shortly after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, amidst calls for "re-regulation" of financial markets, contrasts regulation and central planning vs. the market discipline
    "Advocates of the free market are sometimes parodied for their seemingly all-purpose answer to any problem: Let the market handle it. What may sound like a simplistic answer, however, is actually the most complex prescription imaginable. In the modern world, the workings of any particular market are so complicated, they are beyond the grasp of mere mortals ... there is nothing simplistic about proposing the market as a solution ... It's short way of saying: let the multitude of knowledgeable people seeking profit, risking their own money, and responding to incentives find a solution based on persuasion not force."
    The Ron Paul Revolution: A Lesson in Free Market Economics, by Jason Rink, 19 Sep 2007
    Discusses how the grassroots Ron Paul supporters demonstrate how an unfettered market works
    "The Ron Paul Revolution may end up being one of the great contemporary examples of the free market in action. It promotes personal sovereignty, and keeps power concentrated at the local level. It rewards creativity and excellence, and creates stability and diversity in the marketplace."
    The Writings of F. A. Harper—A Review, by Paul L. Poirot, The Freeman, Aug 1979
    Slightly amended from the "Introduction" to The Writings of F. A. Harper, published in 1978 by the Institute for Humane Studies, and serving as a review of the "two-volume memorial edition"
    "Unfortunately, ours is not an ideal free market economy. Not all men are always peaceful, tolerant and wise, however good their inten­tions. Some will resort to coercion to gain advantage and to rule over others. They will turn to govern­ment to tax some and subsidize others, to regulate and control peo­ple 'for their own good,' to dispense 'charity,' to prevent failure, to penalize success, to invent a magic money machine, to apply rent and wage and price supports or ceilings and thus refute the vital signals of market pricing, to manage the rear­ing and the education of the young, to interfere with the free trade of free men in countless other ways."
    UpdToying with the Free Market, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Dec 1998
    Discusses the 1998 Toys "R" Us restructuring announcement and the 1996 Federal Trade Commission complaint that the firm had engaged in monopolistic practices
    "If we have free consumers, why on earth do we need the Federal Trade Commission? An advocate of the FTC would reply that companies must not be allowed to engage in abusive practices. But if "abusive practices" means practices that harm consumers, we can see that consumers are perfectly able to take care of themselves. When they (or their kids) decided that Toys "R" Us ... stores were unpleasant, they went to Wal-Mart or Target instead. They didn't need anyone's prompting or permission. They didn't need to petition a government agency. They just found a store they liked better. That sounds like real power to me."
    Two Kinds of Income Inequality, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Jan 2015
    Differentiates between market (or inherent) and political-economic inequalities and recommends elimination of legislation enforcing the latter, such as intellectual property laws, regulations and licensing
    "We can identify two kinds of economic inequality ... The first kind we might call market inequality. Individuals differ in many ways, including energy, ambition, and ingenuity. As a result, in a market-oriented economy some people will be better than others at satisfying consumers and will hence tend to make more money. The only way to prevent that is to interfere forcibly with the results of peaceful, positive-sum transactions in the marketplace. Since interference discourages the production of wealth, the equality fostered through violence will be an equality of impoverishment."
    Related Topics: Economic Barriers, Government
    What Is the Enemy?, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Apr 2006
    Discusses why corporatism, mercantilism and Big Business are the "the great institutional threat to liberty"
    "To be blunt, from time immemorial business has probably been the biggest opponent of the free market. ... In terms of educating people about the virtues of the free market, nothing has been more damaging than the identification of free markets with particular business interests, particularly Big Business. ... In a truly free market new products and services are always appearing, making dominant products passé. This is also true for the production of capital goods and for services. Thus under laissez faire, without government-bestowed privilege, market share is never guaranteed."
    What's Wrong with Public Schools?, by Sheldon Richman, Separating School & State, 25 Mar 2005
    Excerpt from chapter 2 of Separating School & State: How to Liberate Americas Families (1994)
    "The proprietor of a shoe store ... cannot raise prices and compel payment from you whether you are happy about the price increase or not. All he can do is try to attract you to the store and hope that you like the shoes and will freely agree to exchange money for them. ... The people who come into the shoe store are potential customers, free to walk out without buying. ... When shopping for shoes, the customer makes a straightforward decision for himself. He picks the store and buys. ... A person can choose to buy only what he likes from a given store and to go elsewhere for other items."
    Who Owns the Internet?, by Tim Swanson, Mises Daily, 4 May 2006
    Explains how and why "net neutrality" proposals came about, monopolistic tendencies, comparisons to natural resources and others held in common, and how variable pricing has been used elsewhere to solve similar problems
    "Many users mistakenly believe that the current radio spectrum and telecom regime is the product of the free-market. It is not. The FCC did not create the radio spectrum nor does it have some homesteading claim to the near-infinitesimal ranges found within it. It is, simply, a bureaucratic sophistry, which oddly enough believes it can distribute something it does not own."
    Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?, by Robert Nozick, Cato Policy Report, Jan 1998
    Posits that "wordsmith" (as opposed to "numbersmith") intellectuals often resent capitalism because the market society does not reward them as their schooling did
    "Apart from the gifts, inheritances, and gambling winnings that occur in a free society, the market distributes to those who satisfy the perceived market-expressed demands of others, and how much it so distributes depends on how much is demanded and how great the alternative supply is. ... [In the] wider market society, ... the greatest rewards did not go to the verbally brightest. There the intellectual skills were not most highly valued."
    Related Topics: Capitalism, Society
    Why Markets Are Dreaded, by Tibor Machan, 27 Apr 2007
    Insights on why higher education professionals prefer not to have to compete in "markets" and instead want governments to run colleges and universities
    "What is meant by 'markets' and why the scare quotes around the term? Markets are arenas wherein people exchange goods and services with one another, once they have freely reached agreement on terms. The market is, in other words, a place of voluntary commercial and professional interaction. It is not a place regimented by criminals or by governments. The latter at most stand by to help adjudicate certain disputes, although even there arbitration agencies can often be hired to work out terms of resolution. Markets are free forums of trade and those in markets are free agents dealing on terms they can agree to."
    Related Topics: Business, Government
    Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity, by John Mackey, Liberty, Jun 2006
    Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004; after a brief background on himself, Mackey criticises the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasising some issues and prioritising others
    "I believe that business has a much greater purpose. Business, working through free markets, is possibly the greatest force for good on the planet today. ... The freedom movement has also poorly defended the social legitimacy of both business and free markets. A new paradigm for business and the free market is necessary — one that accepts the importance of profits, of course, but also one that recognizes that business has legitimate social responsibilities that go far beyond merely maximizing profits."


    Curing the Therapeutic State: Thomas Szasz interviewed by Jacob Sullum, by Thomas Szasz, Jacob Sullum, Reason, Jul 2000
    Subjects discussed include involuntary commitment, the insanity defense, ADHD, government drug policies and physician-assisted suicide
    "Reason: Suppose someone feels depressed, and he finds that when he takes Prozac he feels better. Or suppose he's anxious, and he finds that he calms down when he takes a Xanax. He can get these pills from his doctor. Is he doing anything wrong by taking these drugs?
    Szasz: I don't think he's doing anything wrong, except I think he should be able to buy these drugs in the free market so he can compare them to opium, marijuana, or other drugs. There is no competition now between the prescription drugs and the traditional drugs which people took when they felt bad. After all, people have medicated themselves since time immemorial."
    Risky Journalism: ABC's John Stossel bucks a fearful establishment, by John Stossel, Jacob Sullum, Reason, Apr 1997
    Lengthy introduction and interview, discussing Stossel's early work, his ABC News specials, his response to criticism, ABC's policies, objective reporting, and topics he would like to cover
    "Reason: What about Nader's argument that it's hard attacking corporations, and now you're taking the easy way out by parroting the free market line?
    Stossel: In the culture where I work–in network TV, living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan–it was much easier to go after the corporate bad guys. Then all my colleagues were on my side. To talk about abstractions such as how freedom and voluntary transactions can benefit people in ways that central planning can't even approach–that is much more difficult to do on TV. So I think he is totally wrong about that."


    Free Markets Under Siege: Cartels, Politics and Social Welfare
        by Richard Epstein, 2003
    Contents: Modern Justifications for Classical Liberalism - Between Socialism and Libertarianism - Competition and Cartels - Agricultural Markets, Protectionism, and Cartels - Cartels in Labor Markets - The Importance of Getting the Easy Cases Right
    Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty
        by Gary Chartier (editor), Charles W. Johnson (editor), 5 Nov 2011
    Partial contents: The Problem of Deformed Markets - Ownership - Corporate Power and Labor Solidarity - Inequality and Social Safety Nets - Barriers to Entry and Fixed Costs of Living - Freed-Market Regulation: Social Activism and Spontaneous Order
    The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey
        by Ken Schoolland, 1988
    Partial contents: A Great Storm - Troublemakers - A Commons Tragedy - The Food Police - Candles and Coats - The Tall Tax - Best Laid Plans - Two Zoos - Making Money - The Dream Machine - Power Sale - Opportunity Lost - Helter Shelter - Escalating Crimes
    The Free Market and Its Enemies: Pseudo-Science, Socialism, and Inflation
        by Richard Ebeling (Introduction), Ludwig von Mises, Foundation for Economic Education, 2004
    Based on lectures delivered in 1951; partial contents: Economics and Its Opponents - Pseudo-science and Historical Understanding - Acting Man and Economics - Marxism, Socialism, and Pseudo-science - Capitalism and Human Progress - Money and Inflation


    The Power of the Market, by Milton Friedman, 1980
    Volume 1 of the PBS "Free to Choose" series. "Friedman explains how markets and voluntary exchange organize activity and enable people to improve their lives. He also explains the price system. Friedman visits Hong Kong, U.S. and Scotland."

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Free market" as of 11 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.