"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
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
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 >