21
Sep
2010

Free markets? A very good idea.

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The post’s headline is a riff on the oft-cited response of Mohandas Gandi when asked his thoughts on Western Civilization. The implication being, of course, that the scenario asked about had yet to be attempted. As I watch the conclusion of part 3 of the BBC Documentary “The Love of Money” the narrator enumerates the fundamental axioms of thought which were slain in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis:

  • That modern finance eliminated risk
  • That asset prices only rise
  • That markets operate best when left alone

It is this third casualty of the crisis which will set society back generations. The free market is now vilified. And the world never even got a shot at trying its hand at one.

In a “free market”, individual people decide for themselves if  “home ownership” is really in their best interests. It doesn’t get decided by a government, turned into policy and then used as a rationale for underwriting trillions of dollars of crap mortgages over  a period of decades.

In a “free market”, savers do not get screwed for forgoing consumption now in order to have capital to invest later. Interest rates in a free market are not held artificially low by government policies or quasi-government agencies in order to force capital out of slow-death savings into one bubble or another (see above).

In a “free market”, income is not double and triple taxed so that wealth can be redistributed among allies of cronies, used to buy votes, or underwrite ponzi schemes.

The fact is, we’ve never had a free market in our lifetimes. The fact that it gets blamed for the onset of the Global Financial Crisis is Orwellian to say the least.

If the Global Financial Crisis was a lesson in anything, it is a failure of Socialism. A failure of governments deciding was is “best” for all and of command economies in general. When the hammer finally fell, the last thing “the market” was permitted to do, was extract it’s toll for these years of mismanagement. But it got blamed for everything all the same.

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