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Commentary and debate on politics, economics and culture from a libertarian perspective. To Libertarian Alliance Website >

market

EconomicsPosted by Jan Lester Mon, April 07, 2014 14:54:09

market In a narrow sense a market refers to goods and services that are freely traded in terms of *money. In a broader sense there need be no money on either side and so barter is a market activity. In the broadest sense of *economics imperialism such *social activities as the *marriage market are also included (referring to the ‘prices’ in terms of looks, income, prospects, etc., that people require before agreeing to get married). The market is not a sinister force that controls us, as Karl Marx (1818-1883) thought, but merely another way of describing voluntary exchange. Markets cannot interfere with the *liberty of the participants without ceasing to be genuine markets. For instance, if the *state fixes a price then that will not be the market price; unless by temporary coincidence. Or there may even be a market between the buyers and sellers of *slaves, but that would not make slavery itself a market phenomenon unless the slaves had sold themselves in the first place (see *specific performance). As voluntary affairs, markets will typically benefit both sides immediately. But they will also benefit society generally as they guide *resources to where they are most *economically productive (see *invisible hand) and make advanced *civilization possible (see *economic calculation).

*Charity is the only *libertarian alternative to markets. The illiberal alternatives include, in the property sphere: *fraud, theft, robbery, *extortion, and vandalism; in the personal sphere: deceit, assault, *rape, *slavery, and murder. Typically, one side loses more than the other gains. To the extent that one objects to the market, one must in effect be advocating one of these or something similar although probably under some *statist euphemism such as, *conscription, *equality, *paternalism, *taxation, *war. See *free market.

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