This isn't a combative thread. I'm actually just looking for some opinions on the issue.
Do you believe the United States is a true free market (however you choose to define the term)? If so, why? If not, why not?
In a free market economy businesses fail and rebuild as needed by supply and demand. Nothing is too big to fail in the free market. Sometimes things just need to end. It is a silly company that continues to make something nobody wants or uses. Like black and white television. It's time ended a long time ago..
When the government subsidizes any kind of business you eliminate the freedom of the economy. You give an unfair advantage to whomever the government is subsidizing. Businesses cannot compete with subsidized businesses no matter how well run and efficient. I love how government deregulates businesses by changing the regulations- Usually they deregulate by giving more regulations, and less ability to function. It is amazing how adding rules is supposed to convince us we have fewer rules.
The idea of a true free market economy in the U.S. has been fantasy for almost a century. Early 20th century introduces the Progressive Era, working against child labor, graft, monopolies etc. Books like "the Jungle" and other startling revelations made it necessary for the J.P. Morgans, Rockefellers and Goulds to be reined in. As Tireless says, subsidies, the involvement of the government to promote goods and services for specific purpose giving advantages in the tax code to some over others is just one example of how this economy is anything but 'free market'. There is no such thing as a simple lemonade stand, anymore.
The idea of a 'free market' laissez faire approach to the economy is less than desirable. A avaricious few will make certain that all the chips are in their corner at the expense of the public at large.
Absolutely not. The free market is a situation where all voluntary economic transactions are allowed to take place unfettered. Where do we begin with the United States economy?
Principally, the Federal Reserve claims a violent monopoly of money, and in turn, counterfeiting; its quantitative easing has debased the dollar to something like 2% of its original value, relieving the citizenry of purchasing power. 'Federal Reserve Notes' were once tradable for hard Gold, but this is no longer possible. It is also illegal to use competing currencies. This cannot be considered 'free'.
Other government monopolies include: the roads, education, health, the police, and the military. Voluntary economic transactions in these sectors are at least limited if not prohibited. This cannot be considered 'free'.
Legislation of transactions are too numerous to count - hundreds of thousands of new laws are added to the books each year. The average citizen will unintentionally break at least 3 laws every single day. This cannot be considered 'free'.
Corporate socialism is rife. Subsidies to favoured corporations in the medical, food and financial sectors create inequalities and monopolies. Bailouts incentivise poor economic decisions by offering resources confiscated from the public to large corporations who fail. This cannot be considered 'free'.
Prohibition criminalises non-violent transactions, whether it be drugs, prostitution or gambling, overcrowding prisons (another monopoly, come to think of it). This cannot be considered 'free'.
So, the United States cannot be said to have a 'free market' in any sense. The US is a 'mixed economy', a mix of violent monopoly and diminishing voluntary transactions, and to put it harshly (perhaps more accurately): fascist.
Do you think there has ever been a true free market on the scale of an entire nation?
No such thing as a true free market. and especially this country where regulations are enacted frequently to stifle true free trade.
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