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Talk:Free market

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No such thing as a "Free" Market[edit]

The "free" in Free Market is deceptive. All markets have rules and regulations. The free market is a label used for a set of specific regulations. There is no objective amount of freedom one country's market has over another, despite the attempts of ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation to rank them.

Free market followers try to establish their rules as "natural" "god-given" "objectivist" or what have you, but in the end a regulation is a regulation, and every market has them. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Have you been reading Polanyi again, BON? P-Foster Talk "Armed with the knowledge of our past we can charter a course for our future"--MX 21:17, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Are you saying that (the other) BON doesn't have a good point (to quote from the article: "As the statement so clearly reveals, what is a necessary state intervention consistent with free-market capitalism is really a matter of opinion. There is no scientifically defined boundary for free market."), and if so, why? -- (talk) 18:54, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Explanation of a large edit[edit]

Someone managed to cram a few paragraphs of Pro-Austrian Economics that didn't jive well with the article. An anonymous contributer had shifted the weight of several phrases; 'Downsides' became 'theortical downsides'. Said 'Natural Monopolies don't exist' I've included a definition in the references for one, not an example. He had removed various past edits from past contributers and added in a lot of parenthesis, here's a quick list:

  • (no examples exist to validate this argument, it is based on assumption and emotion)
  • (no evidence)
  • (which is a government forced monopoly)
  • (see modern mixed economies for examples)

Economics isn't my field, I've provided some references. I've also edited the 'Upsides' and 'Theortical Downsides' to be more neutral with 'Pros' and 'Cons' as leaving it theortical sounded too much like 'Its just a theory'.

I think this went on unedited for so long because this line: "While definitely not Communist, this is still a dangerously authoritarian idea and should be disregarded in favor of doing absolutely nothing; because eventually it will all sort itself out!" Sounded like Rationalwiki's sense of humour until you pick up they're being serious. Weird.wulfe (talk) 06:14, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

You're doing Dog's work, kiddo. Dog speed. I also can't stand it when people argue long portions of text within parenthesis in articles . Either [whatever it is they're arguing in parenthesis] belongs in a note/ref, or it belongs in non-parenthesis (or is succinct, like this). So, once more — thank you. Th hug.gif Reverend Black Percy (talk) 10:51, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

So, should we just remove those parentheticals, or should we wait for someone with decent economic chops to do so and add references in hopes of driving off future biased edits? GreatWyrmGold (talk) 15:05, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

Free trade or protectionism?[edit]

TL;DR: Assuming a functional welfare state, exhanging the raising of walls with closely-knitted international collaboration is generally a good thing. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 14:14, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
Industrialized states certainly should engage in free trade. Industrializing states however have historically engaged in some form of protectionism and it has not always harmed them. Evil Zionist (talk) 14:51, 30 August 2017 (UTC)


"Just ignore coincidently these were far from utopia and have histories of colonialism"

Colonialism places them closer to utopias, not further. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 23:44, 29 August 2017‎

Wrong definition[edit]

The page begins by confusing free market, which is a kind of market, with ideologies which supports free markets, like Laissez-faire or other types of liberism. Well, looking at the tone of the page, I am not surprised of that.

Anyway, the free market is just a market where prices are regulated only by the interaction of the consumer and the producer, without any other third parties (like the government).

I have fixed this problem with the introduction, but I guess that this confusion goes thought all the page. McLaghing (talk) 20:08, 5 January 2018 (UTC)

Is such a thing possible in this day and age? Having each individual issue their a personal currency and write and enforce their own personal laws is a daunting, but fascinating, prospect. --MAI742 (talk) 05:47, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
In a sense, checks are a form of individual currency. On the back where you endorse, you can instead pass the check on to someone else. E.g., you receive a $50 check from your grandmother, you endorse the check to the grocer, the grocer endorses the check to the plumber, and the plumber to the dentist. Or, you make the check for bearer, which effectively makes it a currency, just one that needs to eventually be deposited or it gets canceled. It's not as common as it once was, especially with check fraud being so common, but it does happen. CorruptUser (talk) 09:51, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
On the small scale of course it is possible: if you ask me if I want something that you have for $1, I agree and we make the exchange (without any tax or regulation), that is free market. On the other hand, on the large scale, it is really difficult, since - except for some few unregulated areas - a government would surely intervenes in the fixing of the price.
Anyway you reverted the page to a wrong definition: "Free market is a place for buying and selling which is free from something." The free market it is not a "place", it is a type of market, and then you continue with "The self-contradictory but widely accepted definition..." showing immediately that you are more interested in going against free market (which you do not even know what it is) instead of giving the right definition. Check the definition on wikipedia Free marketWikipedia. I am putting back the right definition. Any argument against or pro free market must be put in the "Pro" and "Cons" sections, not in the introduction. McLaghing (talk) 09:57, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
re:CorruptUser - I remain unconvinced that it is easy. For instance, each stage of that hypothetical involves at least four parties: the government which issues the currency and legally defines chequing and enforces laws regarding both (e.g. what can be done with a cheque), one or two banks to process the cheque, and the two parties using the government and bank to exchange value via cheque. To suggest a different hypothetical, if your grandmother hand-wrote a check for a new currency issued only by herself, 50 Your-Grandmother-Ducats, you would have little luck getting anyone to accept those since nobody needs to pay taxes in Your-Grandmother-Ducats. Getting a system of One Man - One Legal And Law Enforcement System - And Currency started seems like it would be very difficult.
re:McLaghing - As I explained, the definition you were given is wrong by definition. In market-societies most large-scale exchanges involve at least four parties - the government, at least one bank, and two parties which use the government and bank to exchange value. While the definition you were given ("a type of market where the prices of goods are determined only by the interaction of consumers and producers, without the intervention of third parties, like the government") is hypothetically possible in an ideal anarchistic society which has no government and no banks, in practice this has never happened on a large scale. Even Milton Friedman believed it impossible:
  • "The existence of a free market does not of course eliminate the need for government. On the contrary, government is essential both as a forum for determining the "rule of the game" and as an umpire to interpret and enforce the rules decided on." - Milton Friedman, The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom (2002) p. 15
The Institutional Economist Ha-Joon Chang has written a great deal about this specific issue as well:
  • “The free market doesn't exist. Every market has some rules and boundaries that restrict the freedom of choice. A market looks free only because we so unconditionally accept its underlying restrictions that we fail to see them. How 'free' a market is cannot be objectively defined. It is a political definition.” (see also
In short, you were given the AnCap value-judgement about what a "free" market is and were told it was the only valid ("the right") definition. We should certainly acknowledge that they believe that, but we should not embrace their view for ourselves. --MAI742 (talk) 21:06, 6 January 2018 (UTC)
You do not understand the difference between the "definition" of something and "the actual existence of" something. The definition of free market is the one I have given. THEN, you can say that, because XYZ, no free market exists, and we can discuss that, but you cannot say that the definition is wrong because no free market exists. I can tell you the definition of perpetual motionWikipedia and you can tell me that no such machine exists because of thermodynamics, but that does not mean that the definition is wrong. Do you understand? --McLaghing (talk) 10:23, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
I thank you for your time. I am glad that you understand that the anarcho-capitalist definition is logically impossible. However, I must stress that their interpretation is logically impossible, and is not the original or the only valid ("the right") one. Hence, I am creating a new introductory paragraph which explains the original and anarcho-capitalist positions and stresses that both are self-contradictory - since the former excludes enterprise and lending rent, and the latter is utterly incoherent. For although both definitions are nonsensical, we must acknowledge that in their own times they were highly influential in spite of that. --MAI742 (talk) 14:08, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
The definition of free market that is currently used is not "anarcho-capitalist(ic)" (Is Wikipedia anarcho-capitalist? Is essentially every dictionary of economics anarcho-capitalist?) If you want to argued that "free market" is a logical contradiction and hence impossible, go on, but that is questionable position which should not be discussed in the introduction. The changes you have made turned the introduction into a very biases rant against free market, also repeating most of what is already written in the section "History". For this reason I have reverted to the previous version. I make it clear: Start a section "Is free market really possible?" and write there. McLaghing (talk) 17:16, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
Did I ever say the "checks as currency" is easy? It's definitely not, and there are reasons it isn't widespread. CorruptUser (talk) 18:10, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
By the way, if one believes that free market is impossible because currency is necessarily controlled by a government (which is not: e.g., gold and silver coins and cryptocurrencies), there you can tell him that buying and selling do not need a currency, see barterWikipedia. McLaghing (talk) 18:43, 7 January 2018 (UTC)
re:CorruptUser My apologies, I misread what you said.
re:McLaghing If you recall, metallic currency was first issued to replace non-metallic currency. It was always controlled by governments, though at times they made agreements - which they often dishonored - about the relative value of currencies. It is true that debt and barter came before currency, but the vast bulk of the exchanges in a modern market-society still take place in currency and hence with a government as an intermediary. Moreover, no modern market-society lacks a government which writes and enforces laws. Hence, government is present twice in every exchange - once as an issuer and collector of currency, and once again as a creator and enforcer of law. Moreover, nowhere does physical currency account for more than a few percent of the total supply. Hence, most electronic transfers involve at least one bank. The number of parties present in an exchange of value spirals rapidly if you factor in e.g. that you and the second party have two different banks, two different governments and/or currencies, telecommunications and electricity enterprises to transmit the signal, and so on. The definition of a "free market" you are using is impossible outside a hypothetical anarchist society, and we would do our readers a great disservice to pretend otherwise. Could you kindly stop reverting my attempts to provide and explain the problems with your chosen definition? --MAI742 (talk) 03:12, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
@MAI742 You haven't really addressed McLaghing's suggestion: Start a section "Is free market really possible?" and write there. CowHouse (talk) 04:03, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
@MAI742 "Could you kindly stop reverting my attempts to provide and explain the problems with your chosen definition?" I have reverted you attempt to make the introduction very biased and confusing, and I will keep doing that. The definition given right now is not my "chosen" definition, but it is the definition currently used by all economists. If you think that this definition is a logically contradiction, I disagree with you, but I have no problem if you want to write your arguments in an specific section, just do not do that in the introduction, which purpose should be given the definition of the term.
Summarizing: I have written a basic introduction with the definition of "free market" currently used. I do not think that free market is impossible but I have no problem if somebody want to argued that in a specific section. On the other hand, you have wrote an introduction which do not give a correct definition of free market, and immediately begins arguing that there is no free market because free market is a logical contradiction. Also, you ignored my suggestions and continued trying to start a discussion about this supposed impossibility of free market. McLaghing (talk) 08:24, 8 January 2018 (UTC)