How I Lost Faith In The Free Market (short version)

(This is the short version. Click here to read the long version, complete with illustrations, dozens of links, and a lot more words.)

Though I grew up believing in free market capitalism, I’m not such a big fan now. Though the “supply and demand” principle is difficult to refute, the market itself doesn’t always have our best interests in mind.

History will show that the market “self-corrects” over time, but often takes too long to do so. While it takes its sweet time, thousands — and sometimes millions — of ordinary people are crushed beneath its weight. The market is only “fair” in a few specific senses; it’s certainly not fair in many moral or ethical senses. It’s necessary that a strong government protect the populace from those who would act unethically or in a harmful way.

I came to these conclusions over a long period of time, encompassing high school, college, and more than a decade of being below or near the poverty level, meeting people that the free market has left behind. It didn’t help when multiple giant financial scandals occurred during the same periods of time — and continue to do so.

Having doubt about the free market and capitalism doesn’t make me a socialist, but it makes me glad we live in what’s called a “mixed economy”.

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