The Free Market: Means or End?

Picture: Elembis (PD)

Jason Bernard Claxton writes at Counterpunch:

Free market advocates sometimes champion the free market as a means to an end, sometimes as an end in itself.  Sometimes the free market is better at achieving certain goals than any alternative, sometimes there is no alternative.  Sometimes the free market is the best way of achieving prosperity, security, and a good life for a people, sometimes the free market is “the only moral system.”  If it were clear at any given moment which justification were being offered, a lot of confusion might be avoided.  But free market advocates often take both positions within the same argument – a strategy that is rhetorically effective, but logically dubious.

When an owner’s right to dispose of property exactly as that owner desires is considered morally ultimate, then the free market becomes an end in itself.  And if individual property rights are so sacred that no state of affairs that market intervention could possibly bring about would justify the rights violations that market intervention implies, then it simply wouldn’t matter whether more market regulated economies are more productive than free market economies.  It wouldn’t matter whether more “socialistic” economies have, say, lower infant mortality and poverty rates, or higher literacy, job satisfaction, and social mobility rates than more free market oriented economies.  All that matters is that individual property rights, which are supreme, are not violated.  As long as this condition is met, the consequences of the free market system don’t matter at all.

Read more here.

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  • alizardx

    Unicorns: means or end?

  • alizardx

    Unicorns: means or end?

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    WTF is a free market?
    What market is free?

    The Free Market is an intellectual abstraction, a concept
    all markets are gamed by the market makers
    only when individuals exchange value to their mutual benefit, is a market free
    anything beyond that is a game, with rules and interventions by market makers

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    WTF is a free market?
    What market is free?

    The Free Market is an intellectual abstraction, a concept
    all markets are gamed by the market makers
    only when individuals exchange value to their mutual benefit, is a market free
    anything beyond that is a game, with rules and interventions by market makers

    • kowalityjesus

      you guys make a habit of iconoclasm and you can revel in it because you hold no accountability, but if you were to come up with WORKING alternatives to a free market (summarily, regulated for transparency and safety, and a fool and his money), you would fail miserably just like everyone else that has tried.  

      give me one problem that is in the free market, any problem.  I will solve it by increasing transparency and letting fools part with their money.

    • kowalityjesus

      you guys make a habit of iconoclasm and you can revel in it because you hold no accountability, but if you were to come up with WORKING alternatives to a free market (summarily, regulated for transparency and safety, and a fool and his money), you would fail miserably just like everyone else that has tried.  

      give me one problem that is in the free market, any problem.  I will solve it by increasing transparency and letting fools part with their money.

      • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

        > I will solve it by increasing transparency and letting fools part with their money.

        Please do and
        inform us when you’ve complete your Jesus cleansing the Temple task.

        Wee the sheeple have no control of what’s called The Free Market.
        The Market Makers control access and the rules.
        I implied a possible solution,
        by suggesting an exchange of values between individuals,
        but in massive consumer economy like Amerika’s
        that’s not yet a wide-scale possibility.

      • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

        > I will solve it by increasing transparency and letting fools part with their money.

        Please do and
        inform us when you’ve complete your Jesus cleansing the Temple task.

        Wee the sheeple have no control of what’s called The Free Market.
        The Market Makers control access and the rules.
        I implied a possible solution,
        by suggesting an exchange of values between individuals,
        but in massive consumer economy like Amerika’s
        that’s not yet a wide-scale possibility.

        • kowalityjesus

          Interesting statement, but I think you fall short of the respect due to an institution that is more fundamental to civilization than even religion.  In America, for better or worse, you are a sovereign citizen with whatever assets you own.  If you want to pay somebody to break rocks for you, or if you find someone that will pay you to break rocks that is your prerogative.  It is one of the most stalwart pillars of the American Republic and it is arguably among the most liberating and efficacious phenomena in human history.  

          If you want an example of people who market goods on a small demand-based scale, look up the Youtube channel Food.farmer.earth.  Its a catalog of true Americans and environmental stewards, the farmers as well as their patrons.

        • kowalityjesus

          Interesting statement, but I think you fall short of the respect due to an institution that is more fundamental to civilization than even religion.  In America, for better or worse, you are a sovereign citizen with whatever assets you own.  If you want to pay somebody to break rocks for you, or if you find someone that will pay you to break rocks that is your prerogative.  It is one of the most stalwart pillars of the American Republic and it is arguably among the most liberating and efficacious phenomena in human history.  

          If you want an example of people who market goods on a small demand-based scale, look up the Youtube channel Food.farmer.earth.  Its a catalog of true Americans and environmental stewards, the farmers as well as their patrons.

          • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

            > In America, for better or worse, you are a sovereign citizen with whatever assets you own.

            I think I’ll move to your America. The one I used to live in had lots of rules about how you acquire, use and dispose of personal property. And if you didn’t follow the labor laws precisely, you had a liability that may some day have to be paid.

            I like the America you live in better than the one I used to live in.

          • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

            > In America, for better or worse, you are a sovereign citizen with whatever assets you own.

            I think I’ll move to your America. The one I used to live in had lots of rules about how you acquire, use and dispose of personal property. And if you didn’t follow the labor laws precisely, you had a liability that may some day have to be paid.

            I like the America you live in better than the one I used to live in.

          • kowalityjesus

            To live an honest life is difficult and grinding, but glorious.

          • kowalityjesus

            To live an honest life is difficult and grinding, but glorious.

          • Jin The Ninja

             point meet missed.

      • Jin The Ninja

        the best market is no market. a world free of market.

        you cannot reform a system that not only requires exploitation, greed and oppression but promotes those things.

        the market cannot and has never accounted for social inequality, nor can it equalise social relationships. i think the biggest ‘problem’ with the market, is that the market is not a human being and therefore displaces social relationships. people desperately need and require community. the market is a void. no life can survive in a void.

      • Jin The Ninja

        the best market is no market. a world free of market.

        you cannot reform a system that not only requires exploitation, greed and oppression but promotes those things.

        the market cannot and has never accounted for social inequality, nor can it equalise social relationships. i think the biggest ‘problem’ with the market, is that the market is not a human being and therefore displaces social relationships. people desperately need and require community. the market is a void. no life can survive in a void.

        • kowalityjesus

          I can’t agree with you, and I would be interested to know where you learned such twisted notions.  I think you misunderstand how the free market as dictated by supply and demand is not something you can really ‘disagree’ with, it is practically a mathematical principle. 

          Social inequality is something that should be reduced* but cannot realistically be eliminated.  Please don’t take the greedy, damned, bankers and corporatists to be representatives of the free market.  They’re mostly usurers.

          *good income inequality reducers:
          higher income taxes for the rich (they already are mind you:)
          abundance of charitable organizations
          criminal accountability of fraudsters
          regulation against unsafe products
          preventing corporate bribery e.g. lobbying
          strong redeemable currency not being inflated by the Fed
          (I don’t actually know what to do about outsourcing tho lol)

          • Jin The Ninja

            i don’t know what books or theorists you read, but there is deep naivete and lack of insight in every post you’ve written in reply to me. ignorance regarding alternative economic models does not fortify your argument. i recommend a little homework : the chomsky reader. basic, very informative, and accessible.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i don’t know what books or theorists you read, but there is deep naivete and lack of insight in every post you’ve written in reply to me. ignorance regarding alternative economic models does not fortify your argument. i recommend a little homework : the chomsky reader. basic, very informative, and accessible.

          • kowalityjesus

            I have a similar sentiment reciprocally.  Thanks for the suggested reading.

          • kowalityjesus

            I have a similar sentiment reciprocally.  Thanks for the suggested reading.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i’m not sure how that is possible, since i obviously am leagues ahead of you in political thought. not only do i have an understanding of our current economic model, i’m fully versed in alternative non-capitalist models. and not only that, but i frame my posts using a specific paradigm. all i’ve gleaned from yours is some ambiguous desire for a “free market” and “compulsory voting.” and if you had to genuinely ask about ron paul, over a year later, we’re not on the same wavelength. good reading.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i’m not sure how that is possible, since i obviously am leagues ahead of you in political thought. not only do i have an understanding of our current economic model, i’m fully versed in alternative non-capitalist models. and not only that, but i frame my posts using a specific paradigm. all i’ve gleaned from yours is some ambiguous desire for a “free market” and “compulsory voting.” and if you had to genuinely ask about ron paul, over a year later, we’re not on the same wavelength. good reading.

          • kowalityjesus

            I know you will want the last word, and I don’t want to start an argument, but if you have all the knowledge you say you have, you hide it well.

          • kowalityjesus

            I know you will want the last word, and I don’t want to start an argument, but if you have all the knowledge you say you have, you hide it well.

          • Calypso_1

            Check please.
            Jin’s voluminous posting history is available for review through Disqus and his article contributions via Disinfo’s search.  And I would agree with you that indeed there is extensive knowledge, in his possession, that Jin chooses to hide well.  That which is displayed is more than ample enough to cover multiple viewpoints regarding the present topic, among others.

          • Calypso_1

            Check please.
            Jin’s voluminous posting history is available for review through Disqus and his article contributions via Disinfo’s search.  And I would agree with you that indeed there is extensive knowledge, in his possession, that Jin chooses to hide well.  That which is displayed is more than ample enough to cover multiple viewpoints regarding the present topic, among others.

          • Jin The Ninja

             i really appreciate this^.

          • Jin The Ninja

             i really appreciate this^.

          • kowalityjesus

            sorry ive never clicked on your icon, tres impressive. please don’t take my attacks personally 
            :(

          • kowalityjesus

            sorry ive never clicked on your icon, tres impressive. please don’t take my attacks personally 
            :(

          • Jin The Ninja

            i don’t take it personally,
            just friendly bantering right?
            i may have been overly dismissive.
            i do enjoy a hearty discourse;)

          • Jin The Ninja

            i don’t take it personally,
            just friendly bantering right?
            i may have been overly dismissive.
            i do enjoy a hearty discourse;)

          • Jin The Ninja

            if you want to engage in a substantial discussion with me,
            perhaps instead of dismissing knowledge that is foreign to you, create a substantial countrepoint of your own, and i will respond in kind.

          • Jin The Ninja

            if you want to engage in a substantial discussion with me,
            perhaps instead of dismissing knowledge that is foreign to you, create a substantial countrepoint of your own, and i will respond in kind.

    • kowalityjesus

      you guys make a habit of iconoclasm and you can revel in it because you hold no accountability, but if you were to come up with WORKING alternatives to a free market (summarily, regulated for transparency and safety, and a fool and his money), you would fail miserably just like everyone else that has tried.  

      give me one problem that is in the free market, any problem.  I will solve it by increasing transparency and letting fools part with their money.

  • rtb61

    The free market always fails because there is always another liar to replace the one that sucked in a bunch of people with cheaper prices when the products failed. Repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat, seriously do I need to keep repeating it.
    Regulation came about to prevent the cycle, to short circuit the fraud and give people some reliability in the market.
    Now take a long hard think about the kind of people who promote free market above all else and why they do it.

  • rtb61

    The free market always fails because there is always another liar to replace the one that sucked in a bunch of people with cheaper prices when the products failed. Repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat, seriously do I need to keep repeating it.
    Regulation came about to prevent the cycle, to short circuit the fraud and give people some reliability in the market.
    Now take a long hard think about the kind of people who promote free market above all else and why they do it.

  • rtb61

    The free market always fails because there is always another liar to replace the one that sucked in a bunch of people with cheaper prices when the products failed. Repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat, seriously do I need to keep repeating it.
    Regulation came about to prevent the cycle, to short circuit the fraud and give people some reliability in the market.
    Now take a long hard think about the kind of people who promote free market above all else and why they do it.

  • herzmeister

    A free market largely means that every individual is responsible for their own resources. This is somewhat natural because it is rooted in the instinct of self preservation. Of course, cooperation is explicitly not excluded here (see the libertarian socialism and anarchism in Spain in the 1930s). But if we give this responsibility away to a structure that is not voluntary, i.e. a state, and rely on them to redistribute some or all resources for us, then this is problematic. We should have learnt by history that no man-made structure lasts forever anyway.

    However, what market anarchists mostly don’t see is that property rights cannot be granted without a state. There may be some mutual consensus for some, but communist-oriented folks obviously don’t respect this idea.

    So what property rights essentially mean is they provide a free service of protection of resources. If a market anarchist is consequent, they’d have to realize that they would have to spend the more effort the larger the property is. In an archaic society, this effort would be manifested in guards which are to be compensated. In a modern society, this could be manifested in insurances etc. Hence, the result would be more over-all fairness and equality. That’s why taxing the rich makes *does* sense, personally I’d like to see a non-government solution to this.

  • herzmeister

    A free market largely means that every individual is responsible for their own resources. This is somewhat natural because it is rooted in the instinct of self preservation. Of course, cooperation is explicitly not excluded here (see the libertarian socialism and anarchism in Spain in the 1930s). But if we give this responsibility away to a structure that is not voluntary, i.e. a state, and rely on them to redistribute some or all resources for us, then this is problematic. We should have learnt by history that no man-made structure lasts forever anyway.

    However, what market anarchists mostly don’t see is that property rights cannot be granted without a state. There may be some mutual consensus for some, but communist-oriented folks obviously don’t respect this idea.

    So what property rights essentially mean is they provide a free service of protection of resources. If a market anarchist is consequent, they’d have to realize that they would have to spend the more effort the larger the property is. In an archaic society, this effort would be manifested in guards which are to be compensated. In a modern society, this could be manifested in insurances etc. Hence, the result would be more over-all fairness and equality. That’s why taxing the rich makes *does* sense, personally I’d like to see a non-government solution to this.

  • lefty

    The free market needs the hand of God, as a atheist I find this funny.

  • lefty

    The free market needs the hand of God, as a atheist I find this funny.

  • DRONGO

    Neoclassical economics is at the forefront of promoting idea of free market under the name of “science”. However if you look carefully at neoclassical models, you would find that they are perfectly fit to “planned economy” rather then to market economy. There is nothing about free market in neoclassical economics. Neoclassicals simply don’t know what the market is. 
    Their favorite instrument, “modeling”, is no different from “planning”. And “Modelers” are no different from “Planners”. Meaning not only prescriptively-imposing nature of conclusions of their models but also their authoritarian dogmatic style on imposing their models into economics. Let alone, that “free market” idea is even more Utopian, than “socialism”.

  • DRONGO

    Neoclassical economics is at the forefront of promoting idea of free market under the name of “science”. However if you look carefully at neoclassical models, you would find that they are perfectly fit to “planned economy” rather then to market economy. There is nothing about free market in neoclassical economics. Neoclassicals simply don’t know what the market is. 
    Their favorite instrument, “modeling”, is no different from “planning”. And “Modelers” are no different from “Planners”. Meaning not only prescriptively-imposing nature of conclusions of their models but also their authoritarian dogmatic style on imposing their models into economics. Let alone, that “free market” idea is even more Utopian, than “socialism”.

  • emperorreagan

    The invisible hand has a much more important calling than managing the free market: invisible hand jobs.  Whenever you have a wet dream, that’s the invisible hand out working it’s magic in the world.

  • emperorreagan

    The invisible hand has a much more important calling than managing the free market: invisible hand jobs.  Whenever you have a wet dream, that’s the invisible hand out working it’s magic in the world.

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