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- Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term "free market" in an equivocal sense: they seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. So we get the standard boilerplate article arguing that the rich can’t get rich at the expense of the poor, because "that’s not how the free market works"—implicitly assuming that this is a free market. When prodded, they’ll grudgingly admit that the present system is not a free market, and that it includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations.
- Kevin Carson, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy (2007), chapter 4.
- So, recently, though it wasn’t reported here, there were negotiations with Australia to establish what’s called a free trade agreement.... The negotiations were held up for some time because the United States was objecting to Australia’s highly efficient health care system. ... Why was the U.S. objecting to the Australian system? Well, because the Australian system is evidence-based... They have to provide evidence that the drug actually does something, that it is better than some cheaper thing that’s already on the market. That evidence-based approach, the U.S. negotiators argued, is interference with free markets, because corporations must have the right to deceive... The claim itself is kind of amusing, I mean, even if you believe the free market rhetoric for a moment. The main purpose of advertising is to undermine markets. If you go to graduate school and you take a course in economics, you learn that markets are systems in which informed consumers make rational choices. That’s what’s so wonderful about it. But that’s the last thing that the state corporate system wants. It is spending huge sums to prevent that.
- As the most powerful state, the U.S. makes its own laws, using force and conducting economic warfare at will. It also threatens sanctions against countries that do not abide by its conveniently flexible notions of "free trade." In one important case, Washington has employed such threats with great effectiveness (and GATT approval) to force open Asian markets for U.S. tobacco exports and advertising, aimed primarily at the growing markets of women and children. The U.S. Agriculture Department has provided grants to tobacco firms to promote smoking overseas. Asian countries have attempted to conduct educational anti-smoking campaigns, but they are overwhelmed by the miracles of the market, reinforced by U.S. state power through the sanctions threat. Philip Morris, with an advertising and promotion budget of close to $9 billion in 1992, became China's largest advertiser. The effect of Reaganite sanction threats was to increase advertising and promotion of cigarette smoking (particularly U.S. brands) quite sharply in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, along with the use of these lethal substances. In South Korea, for example, the rate of growth in smoking more than tripled when markets for U.S. lethal drugs were opened in 1988. The Bush Administration extended the threats to Thailand, at exactly the same time that the "war on drugs" was declared; the media were kind enough to overlook the coincidence, even suppressing the outraged denunciations by the very conservative Surgeon-General. Oxford University epidemiologist Richard Peto estimates that among Chinese children under 20 today, 50 million will die of cigarette-related diseases...
- Noam Chomsky, In Tony Evans (ed.), Human Rights Fifty Years on: A Reappraisal, 1997
- Greg, what are you talking about? Ending corruption? Like there’s a version of this society that isn’t corrupt? Corruption isn’t the exception, it’s the norm. It’s baked in. The whole idea of using markets to figure out who gets what is predicated on corruption—it’s a way to paper over the fact that some people get a lot, most of us get not much, and so we invent a deus ex machina called market forces that hands out money based on merit. How do we know that the market is giving it to deserving people? Well, look at all the money they have! It’s just circular reasoning.
- Cory Doctorow, The Man Who Sold the Moon in Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer (eds.) Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (2014), ISBN 978-0-06-220469-1, p. 150
- The free market system is implied, Hayek felt, by his ontology in order to attain maximum human productivity, the highest standard of living for all—the utilitarian-liberal-socialist-communist-libertarian goal. The division and paucity of individual knowledge renders a market economy necessary for optimal economic productivity. The utilization and communication of information and knowledge are critical.
- Alan Ebenstein, Hayek's Journey: The Mind of Friedrich Hayek (2003), Ch. 10. Epistemology, Psychology, and Methodology
- Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
- Milton Friedman, Capitalism & Freedom (1962).
- Faith in natural order and market efficiency forecloses a full normative assessment of market outcomes. ... It effectively depoliticizes the market itself and its outcomes. It is only when the illusion of natural order is lifted that a real problem arises: that of the justice of the organizational rules and their distributional consequences.
- Bernard Harcourt, The Illusion of Free Markets: Punishment and the Myth of Natural Order (2011), p. 32.
- If by free market one means a market that is autonomous and spontaneous, free from political controls, then there is no such thing as a free market at all. It is simply a myth.
- Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, in Multitude, p. 167.
- People commonly think of neoliberalism as an ideology that promotes totally free markets, where the state retreats from the scene and abandons all interventionist policies. But if we step back a bit, it becomes clear that the extention of neoliberalism has entailed powerful new forms of state intervention. The creation of a global 'free market' required not only violent coups and dictatorships backed by Western governments, but also the invention of a totalizing global bureaucracy – the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO and bilateral free-trade agreements – with reams of new laws, backed up by the military power of the United States. In other words, an unprecedented expansion of state power was necessary to force countries around the world to liberalize their markets against their will. As the global south has known ever since the Opium Wars in 1842, when British gunboats invaded China in order to knock down China's trade barriers, free trade has never actually been about freedom. On the contrary, as we have seen, free trade has a tendency to gradually undermine national sovereignty and electoral democracy.
- Jason Hickel, The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions (2018) p. 218
- [Securing] resources for large-scale economic transformational change [...] can be achieved by a government committed to subordinating markets in money, goods and services to regulatory democracy [...]. 'Free-market' neoliberal economic policies that detach markets from society's oversight achieve the reverse. They are designed to subject markets to private, not public, democratic authority.
- Government doesn’t "intrude" on the "free market." It creates the market. ... Those who argue for "less government" area really arguing for a different government – often one that favors them or their patrons.
- Robert Reich, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, 2015.
- Economic inequality
- Economic liberalism
- Free trade
- Market failure
- Market socialism