Has the Free Market Failed?

I hear people say “the free market failed and hasn’t worked”. Besides the fact that we sadly don’t even have a free market in the first place, and that most problems are actually caused by the government not protecting natural rights, the concept of “free market not working” displays a misunderstanding about what the free market is. Remember that it is only possible to say that something is “broken” and not working relative to a certain intended function that you prefer. If I take a brand new hammer and say, “this is broken because it is not making phone calls”, that wouldn’t make sense because its purpose was never intended to make phone calls. Similarly, the free market does not have the job, responsibility, or purpose of making sure that everyone is comfortable, happy, and wealthy. Even though it generally does accomplish these better than any other system, one cannot say it’s broken when it does not do these things perfectly all of the time, because these things are not its purpose. The only purpose of a free market is to ensure that you have the freedom of choice in how you conduct your trade (assuming other natural rights are also protected) without coercion from others. What you do with that freedom is entirely up to you.

And, if you have a particular financial crisis in mind, those weren’t caused by free markets, they were caused by government interference.

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