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Free-marketism is a belief in the general superiority of solutions based on free-as-in-unregulated market principles. It is usually accompanied by a belief in strong property rights, with enforcement of such rights being one of the few (if any) legitimate functions of government.

A society based on free-marketist principles would be a form of minarchy, but there are no known examples of any such society that is both highly technological and either prosperous or peaceful, much less successful at maintaining human rights.

Free-marketists commonly self-identify as voluntarists, minarchists, anarcho-capitalists, and/or libertarians.


Common Claims

Claims frequently made by free marketeers include:

  • Economic inequality is, has always been, and will always be with us; attempts to fight poverty have never worked.
    • This is fair because people are not equal in their efforts and, therefore, people will not be equal in their rewards.
  • The fact that most people now have cell phones proves that the free market works to provide equality.
    • This is often claimed by the same people who will freely admit we don't have a free market right now.


1. Get you to accept their definition of "rights", which is that they are created by nature (not humans) and yet are undetectable to science. (Kind of like "God".) 2. Once you've accepted this, they get you to accept their (reasonable-sounding) list of what those (undetectable) rights are, because <select arbitrary explanation from list and insert here&rt;. 3. On the basis of that list of inalienable natural rights that you can't argue with because NATURE, they can then argue that taxation is theft and the use of force by governments to keep people from doing bad things is the Worst Thing Evar.


Free-marketism is often expressed in moralistic terms that bear a great deal of similarity to religious beliefs:

  • In essence, any action which is rewarded by the market (i.e. profitable) is thereby sanctified; anyone who does as the market wishes is absolved of sin, because the market would only reward someone for taking an action that was for the net good, even if it has some negative consequences.
  • The actions of the powerful may be morally evaluated entirely in terms of virtuous free-market reward and sinful rewards resulting from government interference.
  • The cause of any injustice is always "government"; the cause of any good is always "market forces". "Government" / "the state" is seen as pure evil, like Satan, while the market is pure good, like God.

Because of the one-dimensionality of the moralistic thinking involved, free-marketeers see no hypocrisy in (for example) a profitable company fighting against environmental regulations as unnecessary and intrusive while also polluting and claiming that their activities are beneficial overall. The government (Satan) is to blame for the polluting, and the company's virtuous fight against the government helps to cancel out the evil (sin) of polluting -- rather than demonstrating the moral indefensibility of fighting against environmental regulations. The company's profitability -- i.e. its compliance with market forces (God) -- proves that it is on the side of virtue, regardless of any negative consequences.


Free-marketeers often defend corporate evil in terms that are very similar to mansplainer attacks on feminism, such as "not all corporations are bad" (see not all men [1]).



There is some discussion of these ideas on Google+.


Some questions for free-marketeers:

  1. Do you agree that voluntarism has some issues that need to be resolved?
  2. Do you agree that government sometimes "gets it right", i.e. takes actions whose effects are primarily (and intentionally) beneficial?
  3. Do you agree that some amount of coercion is necessary in any society?
    1. How do you resolve the discrepancy between the idea of a "purely voluntary" society and the idea that it would be okay for private individuals to hire a police force?