Over and over I keep reading about how the free market has died...how our current crisis is the result of free market forces. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The crisis that we are experiencing is one of interventionism. It always strikes me as comical when I read that our financial markets have been operating on a basis of 'raw capitalism.'
But how can this be? Raw capitalism would not have a central bank. It would not have legal tender laws. It would not have regulations forcing banks to make loans to uncreditworty individuals. Unfortunately, these facts do not stop those who are just salivating at the possibility of another New Deal.
Could the free market ever be dead?
My response is: "It's not likely." We've seen many times that when governments regiment economic activities to a high degree, black markets begin to form. And black markets are actually free markets. Haven't you ever noticed that when hyperinflation occurs somewhere in the world, you always read the "official" inflation rates followed by the black market rates? The black market rates are always higher because the free market can't lie.
I even remember reading that were it not for the black market in the old Soviet Union, the poor Soviet people would have been much worse off. So if the free market wasn't even stamped out in the Soviet Union, I think it's kinda silly to already pronounce its death here.
All of the people making such proclamations may be jumping the gun a bit. It is during times of crisis that people become open to new ideas. When the Dow was trading at 14,000 and housing prices were doubling and tripling, trying to persuade people to free market ideas was tough...After all, they were comfortable.
But with the Dow plummeting, housing prices plummeting, and grocery bills climbing, openness to free market ideas are now on the table. Ears that were once closed are at least open. I'm not talking about the media or the news (even though Ron Paul has been on a lot lately) I'm referring to everyday people.
Those who yearn for another New Deal may be thinking they have another slam dunk ahead of them....and they might. But America in 2008 is not the same economically as it was in 1933...and the people may just be open for something that's really new:
A real free market.
Oct 07 2008, 03:19 PM