Just like Communism, the Free Market is a great idea "in principle"

There are many people who feel that the free market is the cure all for all ills. For health care, education, defence, indeed for any sphere of public and private life there are many that believe simply and without question that the free market can do it all, and for less money.

The problem is though, just like Communism, which in principle itself is great, the free market can only deliver the things its supporters say if it is truly free. The problem is though that it isn't.

The free market works on the basis of anyone with a product being able to access a market, if their product is good enough, and that the price of their product is dictated by what people are prepared to pay. The problem is though that all those people who act within the framework of the free market are themselves not interested in "the free market" as a concept, all they want a free market for is to gain access. And the problem thereafter lies in the fact that companies and individuals who trade within the free market work to a different set of rules, and that is to extract as much money from their customers as possible, and if that means breaking the rules of the free market, so be it, so long as the companies get richer.

It's like the old adage about Communism making everyone equal, but some are more equal than others. the same goes for people in the free market. The only difference is that the richer the company, the more influence it has, the less interested it is in the free market.

So where is my evidence for all this ?

Well in the last few months we have seen that companies have sought to fix the price of milk, houses and now cigarettes, and reports today suggest that the office of Fair Trading has a number of other areas that it has been investigating for some years that will also be revealed shortly.

As far as I am concerned this shows why we have governments. Leave everything to industry and nobody can stand in the way of money. We need a free market, but anyone who believes that it solves all our ills is as crazy as committed Communists.


Johnny Norfolk said...

We have nothing like a free market in this country, so you cannot judge. With Labour having more and more state control and interfearance is the reason we are on the way down again.

Only Mrs Thatcher had the right idea of how to run a country. It was called not spending more than you can afford.

Anonymous said...

Well, there might be some people who think that the free market is perfect. But I think that most supporters of the free market, or at least the most serious supporters of the free market, aren't saying that it is perfect, they are just saying that it is less imperfect than the government, with which you would like to solve the problems of the free market.

Alasdair W said...

What we need is a Liberal Market. We need compition, not monopolies. In Worcester another Tesco Express may be built, crushing local community businesses! We need an economy where independent locals can compete against corporations. Where people can have that choice.
Some people think Economic Liberalism is a center-right or right-winged thing. That's not true. That's because Thatcher took on her idea of Economic Liberalism, but aloud Monopolies to expand, and gave no Social Liberalism to help out people who fell. Labour have taken on a center-right form of Economic Liberalism in allowing Monopolies to grow.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Labour would do nothing to stop Tesco as it is a doner.

Johnny Norfolk said...

You will never see labour interfear with Tescos expansion. I wonder why.?

Norfolk Blogger said...

I know, it is boring isn't it.

asquith said...

What you have to appreciate is that we don't have a free market now, and we didn't under Thatcher, it was always a rigged market. I don't consider Thatcher to have been truly economically liberal, she was more a class warror on behalf of her own people. Yes, she achieved some good things (such as widening property ownership) but it was all about class in the end.

When the free market was first proposed (by liberals) it was seen as a radical, threatening idea because it undermined the priviliged classes. It still does. We have a system which props up the already rich and powerful, and it isn't a free market. Clegg is onto the right idea.

I suggest you ignore New Labour apologists and vulgar libertarians and look at what economic liberalism really is.

asquith said...

Oh, and obviously the market should be regulated to ensure fair trading, enforcement of standards, the prevention of monopolies, and wider goods such as protection of the environment. But our instincts should be towards genuine liberalisation. The "left" liberals (of whom I believe you are one) should be reassured that this is nothing to be afraid of.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I think Asquith is spot on