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Yes, I believe in the free market, but:

Yes, I generally like the idea of a free market — that is, I think it’s good when goods and services are allocated according to the decisions of the free choice of economic actors within a society. Also, I generally dislike the idea of government running my life. Having said that:

  1. Imperfect information is real.
  2. Transaction costs are real.
  3. Externalities are real.
  4. There is much sociological, psychological and neurological evidence that human beings do not always (or even usually) behave as economically rational actors.
  5. The overall costs on society and the economy resulting from these factors are enormous.
  6. The central function (possibly the only function) of government is to accomplish those things which would not ordinarily occur through the workings of an unencumbered free market.

Under facts such as these, regrettably we must allow and even encourage government to influence, regulate, and yes, sometimes even control some aspects of commerce.

I am, in other words, just about as pure an old-fashioned liberal as it’s possible to be.

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