Monday, October 24, 2011

Markets are a means, not an end.

This thread over at the League is pretty interesting and deeply involved in what I do every day. I'm still trying to come up with something to write about it, but I've found that eight years of writing e-mails all day to people who speak English as a second or third language has really, really eroded my writing skills. Well, it's honed certain writing skills while many others have atrophied.

The one think I know I want to say is: I'm over 'markets' as a virtue. 'Markets' are always thrown about like they're an end unto themselves. I'm certainly someone most people would describe as a 'free-marketer', but I every time I read people justify things with 'markets!' I wince. While I often agree with some/all of what they're saying, it also tries to justify things I don't agree with.
It was the comment thread above that let me put my finger on it.
What I realized is that what I really value is not markets. Markets are an artifice. What I value when I say things that are 'free-market' is not a 'market' - it's the process of voluntary exchange. Markets are vulnerable to all sorts of problems, at best we only have imperfect ones.

Maybe I'll try to develop this more. I'm sure I'm still light years behind the cool internet kids on this, but if this is conventional wisdom, it hasn't gotten around well enough.

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