What Is THE MARKET?
“The market” is just shorthand for the totality of economic interactions of freely acting individuals. - Robert Murphy, Chaos Theory; Two Essays on Market Anarchy (pdf), p. 25
If we are to understand how the market works, why economic policies fail, and why the market acts in an apparently irrational fashion, we must grasp the definition of market activity. Market activity, as described above, does not come about by government decree. It comes from within a society, where the collective participatants work to achieve individual goals. The Society, therefore, is a Means, not an End. (Mises, Socialism, p. 256). In a cooperative society, individuals that wish to succeed must depend on the success of others, thus in order to achieve an individual's highest material ends, he must not in any way prevent others from achieving theirs. This mutual cooperation is the interaction of free individuals. Because Society is the Means, no one - politician nor activist - can claim that "The Market" fails to achieve certain desired ends for Society, such as equality. Society has no Ends. The social cooperation of human beings is only a Means.
Therefore, once we start down the road of centralized economic planning, whether it is fiscal planning by the Federal Reserve, bailouts for failing businesses and banks, and a host of other well-intentioned but ill-conceived policies that spring forth from the minds of politicians, bureaucrats, and reformers, "The Market" is either distorted or ceases to exist entirely. It is no longer a collection of freely acting individuals, but a collection of coerced individuals.
Within such a setting it is a predictable consequence that a set of individuals will arise that will look to the center of power to help them achieve their ends, rather than cooperating with other individuals in "The Market." A name once coined for such people is Political Entrepreneurs. It is a predictable consequence because the center of power, The State, has already shown that such an avenue leads to profit and power. The State, in other words, has licensed theft and coercion among the population. Indeed, if we look to history we find that everywhere and anywhere a Monopoly or Cartel has existed it has done so with the assistance and support, either directly or indirectly, of The State.
This is the policy of Destruction. The Market is the mechanism of Creation. The choice between competing policies of destruction, on the Left and the Right, is still choosing to destroy.
May we all choose Creation.
David in Qatar