Seth’s Blog: The free market

Companies that operate in a free market generally work as hard as they can to make that market not free.

By creating lock in, monopolies, patent protection, long term contracts, chasms in pricing and other barriers to entry, companies profit out of proportion to their risk or investment. That's their job.

Acting on their own behalf, self-interested companies will almost always work to make the playing field unlevel, to create loopholes and to generate barriers that keep the market unfree. It's what their owners profit from.

Their adversaries? Technological change, enforced transparency and regulation in favor of consumer protection and against monopolies. There's no question that an unfettered authoritarian corporate regime is more efficient and effective–in the short run. In the long run, though, the free market triumphs, as long as it isn't destroyed by those that get to play first.

The free market is a great idea, which is why we need to be careful when market incumbents lobby to make it un-free.

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