In the eighties, the idea of the market triumphed. From Reagan’s America and Thatcher’s Britain to the crumbling economies of the Soviet bloc, the “market” became a mantra for all occasions. Chanted long enough it would bring freedom, choice, prosperity, and a ready solution to all pressing issues.
“Real existing markets” resemble the markets of theory about as much as what some called “real existing socialism” in Eastern Europe resembled the ideals of Marx’s 1844 manuscripts. The ideologues’ solution for faltering real markets was always purer, less contaminated markets. Under the cloak of defending markets, a broader agenda came along: government is bad (or at best incapable of doing much good); unions are bad; regulation is bad; private property rights are paramount; and greed is good....
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