Free market America? Yes, but with limits

Picture expired. L-R: Executive director and chairman of WH Group, Wan Long, Executive director and president of Smithfield, Larry Pope and Smithfield chief financial officer, Kenneth Sullivan attend a press conference in Hong Kong on April 14, 2014 AFP

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  • 2

    JeffLee

    There is no "free market." It's a myth generated mainly during the Reagan era. And what did "small govt" Reagan do? Among other things, he gave 3 trillion -- trillion -- dollars of public funds to the defense industry. Govt-issued money purchasing gov't hardware, paying govt salaries, for the biggest govt institution on the planet (the Pentagon).

    Yeah, there's a case of "free market" economics for you, just one case of thousands. But hey, it worked, the US economy grew as a result, as it did during WW2, and Boeing was able to bolster its position against Airbus, etc. But it had nothing to do with the "free market."

  • -3

    Todd Topolski

    America is not one of the free economies anymore. The Democrats ended freedom 100 years ago and today we are living t e results of thier rule. When the combined governments of the US are confiscating over half of everything and regulating the rest, there is no freedom.

    Singapore, Hong Kong, new Zealand,Australia and a dozen other countries are economically free.

    In the US half the population has bought into the socialist/Marxist ideology and believe it's a Utopia to have the government control everything and own everything.

    Sure we have free speech, pointless. So what, we can talk and complain as the government takes everything, the government still takes it.

    If you want freedom, sorry America isn't the place, it's smoke and mirrors.

  • 2

    gaijinfo

    The United States portrays itself as a bastion of the unfettered free market

    Did I click on The Onion by accident?

  • 4

    Meguroman

    No country is or will ever be unfettered as there are always vested interests.

  • 1

    Wakarimasen

    The US was very protectionist when it was building up its industries. Had a brief period of "free market" but now is very protectionist again. Same as "rights and freedoms". These days it is one of the most regulated countries in the world with even basic freedoms trampled upon by the government.

  • 1

    M3M3M3

    I think many people (especially in America) seem to misunderstand the principles that underpin the idea of a free market. (ie. Consumers having perfect information about products to compare quality, no artificial barriers to entry, no monopolies etc.)

    The American idea of a free market seems not to be built on the principles and assumptions of the free market as most classical economists would describe them. It is more likely an extreme form of libertarianism. For example we have all heard, 'if you cheat you customers by lying to them or kill them with your products, the 'free market' will eventually put you out of business once your bad reputation spreads and people stop buying from you'. But this is not how a functioning free market (as economists define it) works.

    I think most economists would say that the fact the customers have been cheated into buying the inferior product in the first place demonstrates a complete failure of the market. The idea being, if they had proper information they would not have made the purchase.

    The EU, for example aggressively protects consumers from being mislead by setting uniform standards so that people can readily compare goods when they buy them (food labeling, airlines, phone roaming charges). Often the EU are called socialist, protectionist, anti-business and anti-free market but I think the exact opposite is true when you actually appreciate the definition of what a free market is. Its a very interesting debate to have though.

  • 1

    FizzBit

    But there are limits to this openness, first because of concerns over competition but mainly when the transaction involves assets linked to "national security" or "crucial infrastructure" under current law.

    Their only concern today is competition (resource control), national security (military instillations), and crucial infrastructure (seaports), when they should have been protecting American jobs from being sent overseas.

    I pray for the day when the US Gov. concerns for these backfire and the whole corrupt system is tarred and feathered by a fed up population.

  • -3

    sangetsu03

    There is no "free market" anywhere on earth, unless you are a street vendor, living and working off the radar of regulators and the tax man.

    In America they are clamping down on food trucks, as restaurants are complaining that these trucks steal their business. Some cities have forbidden things like bake sales, and lemonade stands, and require permits for things like yard sales or garage sales. So much for "unfettered" free markets.

    True freedom is basically economic freedom, but with governments ever hungry for more revenue to squander, we have less and less freedom. In California they are proposing a mileage tax on cars, meaning that you will have to pay the state for any travelling you do in your vehicle, as if the sales, registration taxes, taxes on insurance, and taxes on gasoline weren't enough.

    What a world,

  • 3

    lucabrasi

    @sangetsu03

    "What a world."

    Aye, it's pretty bad, eh?

    Hospitals, roads, the police force, education, welfare for those in need.... What have governments ever done for us?

    The dark ages were so much happier....

  • 2

    M3M3M3

    @sangetsu03

    In California they are proposing a mileage tax on cars, meaning that you will have to pay the state for any travelling you do in your vehicle

    Maybe the state wants to properly match the cost of the externality (poor air quality, road repairs) to the person who has received the benefit of driving around on roads built by the state?

    I'm surprised you are against this based on your comment. Wouldn't the fairest outcome be to make all roads 'toll roads' so that only those who use them pay the cost? Isn't a mileage tax just another way to acheive this result? Or do you prefer the current socialist system where we all equally share the costs of the roads and the health costs associated with poor air quality?

  • 0

    lostrune2

    Business leaders here scoff at protectionism, such as the French government’s opposition to U.S. engineering giant General Electric’s bid for the energy business of French rival Alstom.

    Meanwhile, Alstom workers prefer G.E. since their businesses complement each other rather than overlapping, so less layoffs.

    But allied countries like France, for instance, generally find less resistance on American soil.

    Well duh.

    It's not like countries antagonistic to the U.S. like Russia and China are any kinder to U.S. takeovers neither.

  • -2

    JeffLee

    "True freedom is basically economic freedom, but with governments ever hungry for more revenue to squander, we have less and less freedom."

    We had economic freedom during the industrial revolution, a time of laissez-faire economics. But that created horrible inequalities and misery for the majority of the population. Gov'ts had to step in with reforms, which basically saved the capitalist system.

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