Monday, March 07, 2011

The term "Free Market" is loaded, it should be something like regulated and unregulated capitalism instead

Because "free" gives an immediate link with Freedom. What we're talking about is regulation versus non-regulation of a market system. If the word capitalism is seen as pejorative, then just call it regulated or non-regulated market economy. The system implied by the term free market, i.e. mostly small businesses co-existing, does not exist anymore, and therefore using the term free market to describe an economy where large to medium businesses dominate is deceptive. Taking regulation away won't make the small business economy come back; it will only lead to more power by big and medium sized business.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Depends on the regulation - take away the regulation on big business and it will make things worse, but take away the subsidy to big business (including the warfare state and restrictions on labour) and the prohibitions on individual and community enterprise and you have something closer to a free market which has a lot to do with freedom.

The truly free (or freed) market is all about freedom and has nothing to do with capitalism - which cannot exist in a free market.

True, removing all regulation in one fell swoop will probably have some very bad effects - that's why we must build the new society in the shell of the old (as Wobblies say) and try and stop breaking the legs of the working class before taking away all the crutches.

John Madziarczyk said...

I agree with your sentiment, but I don't see how a free market system could exist that didn't turn into a capitalist system unless there were prohibitions put on growth and concentration of businesses. It seems to me that some large scale businesses and some concentration is useful. In a better type of socialist/anarcho system they wouldn't be run the way they're run now, decision making wouldn't take place in the same way, and centralization wouldn't be emphasized any more than was necessary, but they might still exist. But I don't know if I'm putting words into your mouth here.

I think that capital accumulation has both helped and hurt a lot of people, sometimes hurting people in one way while helping them to a lesser extent in another, but that hopefully it can be popularly directed in ways that are less exploitative.

John Madziarczyk said...

Following on that, it would be good if the basic principles of the market system could be recreated in an artificial setting that didn't lead to either extreme deprivation or extreme excess.