An economic thought – “free” markets

There are no “free” markets in the sense that “anything goes.” All markets operate within a set of rules. Sometimes those rules are implicit, like be honest or your reputation will suffer and you’ll find yourself unable to conduct business. Other times, the rules are explicit, like the requirements that financial institutions should have enough money or assets on hand to cover their bets.

So, all of that said, should we have “free” markets? No, not if it means economic anarchy, free of all rules. Should we have “free-as-possible” markets? Yes. Capitalism – well and prudently regulated – still has a lot to offer.

I see an analogy in the freedom of speech – something that’s near and dear to my heart as a journalist. We do not have “free” speech in this country in the sense that “anything goes.” The courts have held that you do not have the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater and possibly cause someone to be injured or killed in a rush to the exits.

Our individual liberties – speech, economic, etc. – have and always will be balanced against the needs of living together with other people within a set of rules.

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