"This is a free market economy"

 

It's assumed by the media that we live in a "free market" economy, as described by orthodox economists, with only the unemployed to spoil it (with their "dependence" on state benefits). However, there are several reasons to doubt that we occupy a "free market":

1. A free market doesn't include corporate welfare. The existing economy ensures that failing corporations are bailed out with public money. Whatever happened to "standing on one's own feet"? Corporations receive billions of your money each year in various handouts: subsidies, tax breaks, etc.

To quote the political commentator, Noam Chomsky: "Although there's a lot of talk about capitalism, free enterprise and free markets, no one who's actually involved in
the business world believes a word of it. It's fine for after-dinner speeches and editorials, but when push comes to shove, the sectors of the economy that work and the industrial economies that are successful are those that have a substantial state coordinating and subsidizing component. The same businessman who will make a passionate speech about free trade in an after-dinner speech will also go off to Washington and make sure that the subsidies keep flowing."

2. A free market doesn't include mega-corporations. Even relatively small corporations are an anomaly in free market theory (which is about the dynamics of competition between individuals, not powerful collectives). Half of the world's biggest economies are corporations, not countries. Monopoly capitalism is not the same thing as a "free market".

3. A free market would allow alternative currencies. The existing economy makes alternative currencies illegal. The Bank of England (or the Federal Reserve in the USA) has a monopoly on currency. Free competition among currencies would bring down interest rates, with beneficial consequences for most people. But this isn't allowed in our supposedly "free" market. More details >

4. A free market depends on free, rational choices. As the late media commentator, Neil Postman, pointed out, most marketing presents little information on which we can base rational choices. Most marketing seems to consist of emotional psychodrama triggering media-programmed anxieties. More details >

The media fallacy that we live in a "free market", and that it's synonymous with "capitalism" relates to the false dichotomy between "capitalism" and "socialism". In this media narrative, capitalism is the only alternative to the failed system of socialism/communism. The implication of this fallacy is that we should embrace the current capitalist "free market" system, whatever its faults, since there is no other choice. But as we hope to show, there are many other choices >