23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

Abstracted from the book “23 Things they don’t tell you about Capitalism

Blurb: This lighthearted book has a serious purpose: to lay bare the assumptions behind today’s dominant economic dogma. As the acclaimed economist Ha-Joon Chang shows with crisp, ironic wit, all economic choices are also political ones, and its time for us to be honest about them. 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism reveals how global capitalism works – and doesn’t.

We will reveal a taste of each thing every week.

Thing # 1 -    There is No such thing as a free market

It has been said that markets need to be free, yet fact remains that the free market doesn’t exist. All markets have rules and boundaries that restrict freedom of choice. It is only ‘hypothetically speaking’ that everybody can have his or her way, which is what the term ‘free’ implies.

If some markets look free, it is only because we so totally accept the regulations that string them up. This acceptance fogs the glass of these rules so much that they become invisible to the marketer.

The objective definition of a free-market portrays a stray from politically motivated interference by the government, which is false. No matter what, the government is always involved and free-marketers are as politically motivated as anyone. To begin with, there is a huge range of restrictions on what can be traded; electoral votes, government jobs and legal decisions are not for sale. Spots in University, medicines have to be explicitly licensed by the government, slave trade, and child labor regulations and more, companies have to go through lengthened requirements, meeting stringent auditing standards before establishment and most importantly to keep business. Regulations are everywhere and on everything. There are price regulations, social regulations, environmental regulations, and politically economic regulations that greatly define import and export of market products.

All these restrictions, regulations and rules imply that there is in fact very little Freedom of choice in a competitive and government enthused market economy, which is not as free as visionary Milton Friedman portrays.