23 Things: There is No Such Thing as a Free Market

GODS & RADICALS

"Door Number One" by George Hodan. Public domain image courtesy Publicdomainpictures.net “Door Number One” by George Hodan. Public domain image courtesy Publicdomainpictures.net

23 Things is a series that examines and explores the theories presented in Oxford-trained economist Ha-Joon Chang’s 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism.  I will examine each of his 23 Things by taking some of the material from his book, and breaking it down through the application of my own lens.  For more information, I recommend his excellent book!

What They Tell You:  Markets need to be free.  When the government interferes to dictate what market participants can or cannot do, resources cannot flow to their most efficient use.  If people cannot do the things that they find most profitable, they lose the incentive to invest and innovate.”

As Chang points out, no market is actually a free market.  There are always regulations and rules that change the market considerably, and we just unconditionally accept a lot of the…

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Book Review: 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang

GODS & RADICALS

23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Capitalism! The American Dream! Except that what we believe about capitalism, and how it actually works, are two different things. We’ve been told that the essence of preserving the economy involves making things better for the wealthy, so that they will make bigger companies and hire more people for more jobs, and thus the crumbs of their good fortune will “trickle down” to the rest of us. Except that it’s not true; wealthy people won’t part with their wealth unless regulations force them to.

We are told that the American Dream rewards the hard-working and the worthy, and that anyone can succeed if they try hard enough. Except that it’s not true; people in poorer countries are more entrepreneurial than people in wealthier countries, and good infrastructure is the key to building the…

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