Good addition in the intro, however let's look at this:
- They act ostensibly to protect the national interest, but often baser motives are at play, particularly the desire to curry favour with their electorates.
The Duelfer Report, for example says,
- Iraq’s economic decline forced the Regime to accept the UN [Oil For Food] (OFF) program; this resulted in economic recovery and underpinned a more confident Regime posture. 
- [Oil For Food] rescued Baghdad’s economy from a terminal decline created by sanctions. The Regime quickly came to see that OFF could be corrupted to acquire foreign exchange both to further undermine sanctions and to provide the means to enhance dual-use infrastructure and potential WMD-related development.
So....in a dictatorship, while it's arguable the lone dictator making decisions to pursue WMD may or may not serve the national interest, and it certainly is a baser motive at play, it is questionable to say this it is intended to curry favor with the electorate. While that may be true in democracies, we can't make a wholesale statment like this, or need to clarify what is being said. RobS 17:32, 9 July 2007 (EDT)
Marshall, if you think the free market is only an idealized construct, please provide evidence of this.
On the other hand, if you don't know this to be true, but are only repeating the opinion of an economist (or maybe some political critic of Capitalism), be sure to credit the person whose views you are summarizing. A direct quote is even better. --Ed Poor Talk 09:29, 10 July 2007 (EDT)
Not wishing to impede upon this, however, strictly speaking, the free market is merely an idealized construct. If we are to take the definition of a free maket as being an economy in which there is "no interference on the part of government", and in which the interaction of supply and demand leads to the market clearing (i.e. is at equilibrium and is allocatively efficient) - this is, in practice, virtually impossible. If we are to assume that all firms are profit maximizers, then the only market structure in which it is possible to maximize profits (producing where Marginal Revenue = Marginal Cost), while at the same time achieving an allocatively efficient outcome (where S=D), is within a perfectly competitive market. However, in reality, a number of the conditions required for perfect competition are impossible to achieve - for instance, perfect and complete information. Similarly, rarely, if ever, do firms sell homogenous products (another criterion required for perfect competition). Indeed, in reality, the only markets that can be said to bear any resemblance to perfect competition, and even in these conditions, perfect information is not achieved. Even if you are to take a lesser definition, and merely require there to be a state of competition between firms, and no government interference, then this too is fraught with problems, most notably that outside of perfect competition there exists a tendency for markets to drift toward monopoly, if government fails to intervene.
If, however, you are simply going to define a free market economy as being a one in which there exists no form of government interference, then, this is theoretically possible, however, whenever countries have attempted to bring about these conditions, the outcome has often been to the detriment of the country involved, many would cite Somalia as an example.
If you'd like some criticisms of the free market system, from a socialist perspective, Noam Chomsky's writings on the issue are quite interesting, drawing largely on the work of Adam Smith. However, if you'd prefer the capitalist critique, then I'd recommend you check out Joseph Stiglitz and Martin J. Whitman.
--Adorno 10:22, 10 July 2007 (EDT)
- You seem to be talking past me. Are you confusing "no interference" with "little interference"?
- Or are you making the point that free markets don't exist in practice, any more than "communism" (in the sense of the ideal stateless society Marx envisioned) exists? If so, please be clear.
- If you are just making points and don't care to add to the article, please continue this thread at Debate:Is free market economics possible in actual practice?. --Ed Poor Talk 10:47, 10 July 2007 (EDT)
- Government exists to protect the market; in a state of chaos or anarchy, the biggest thief with the biggest guns who leads the lawless mob will trample honest businessmen and traders. Yes, so to a certain extent, the market is an idealized construct, but it is in conjunction with human beings voluntarily living under a civil government. When the government gets in the business of robbing honest businessmen and traders to, as the author states, "curry favour with their electorates" or feed the rapacious demands of selfish dictators, this is where problems develop. RobS 11:55, 10 July 2007 (EDT)
Removing the sentence about Canada: because the British system has already been described, because patients fleeing Canadian healthcare system isn't the focus of the article and because it wasn't cited (see Conservapedia:Commandments) If anyone would provide a reliable source for the claim, and explain what it has to do with the article, I promise I won't argue about it :) (+ added that Milton Freeman was an economist to give readers unfamiliar with him (like myself) an idea of why he's quoted) SaWi 10:45, 28 March 2011 (EDT)
Can a market be fully free, if as economist Milton Friedman said: "The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit"? There has to be government agencies to protect employees and customers from those who worship money above all else: think smoking, alcohol, child labour, drug testing, food quality, education, the professions, building standards, pollution, safety in the work-place, and so on. Think Covid-19 and no quarantine regulations, too. --Timber2 (talk) 20:11, 18 May 2020 (EDT)