Nobody Believes in Free Markets

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Repubicans talk a big game about the virtues of untrammeled capitalism and the evils of distorting the energy market when it comes to stuff like subsidies for renewable energy.

But take a look at all these millions in subsidies they’ve proposed to convert various modes of transportation to run on natural gas, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that they don’t actually believe in a free market for energy at all.

Which is fine. Markets are one tool among many for achieving policy objectives. Sometimes – as in the case of allocating scarce parking spaces or urban land – markets are the best tool. Sometimes an old-fashioned tax and transfer program is the best option, as in the case of health insurance. And sometimes direct public provision of services works best, as with police and fire protection.

Some people prefer to use the market tool more than others, and that’s not crazy or anything – everybody’s got their own take on what’s politically appropriate, or what’s most likely to work. But only a nutcase thinks free markets are an outcome to be desired in and of themselves, rather than a means to achieve some policy outcome.

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

2 Responses to Nobody Believes in Free Markets

  1. John says:

    Can there ever actually be such thing as a “free” market? Assuming all societies have governments, all markets are shaped by government. Corporations are a product of government intervention and don’t exist in a free market. The corporate form was created by government to protect and grow capital because the free market wasn’t trusted.

  2. Matt Thomas says:

    Add to all the freebies unearthed by reporter Marie Cusick those billions in training monies streamed from the feds and distributed by each state out to business and industries who should be funding their own employee training. In Pennsylvania alone, many millions are handed out to privately-owned companies and corporations, including wealthy defense contractors, while these same phoney “free market” promoters express their outrage over a single mom on foodstamps.
    Kindly pass on a barf bag.