free the free market please

it makes me laugh. we’re so stupid and we love accepting what we’re told without questioning the basics. ( what! you mean this doesn’t apply to just religious people?)

what’s so ‘free’ about the free market? please someone can you explain that to me and give me some simple answers?

there is no such thing - i for one, have always had a libertarian vision of society - the way it should be - not the state of affairs we’re lumbered with.

and a free market? well im in favour of a free society - and since a market is a part of society - im in favour of free markets. duh - you’d think that was obvious to a two-year old. How can anyone have a free market without a free society? ( well if you don’t see markets as part of society ..) Venn diagrams people - think carefully. next edition of this rant will be fully equipped for those of you who can’t see what i mean..
im most bemused by how people say we’ve got free global markets when a) we’ve not got a ‘free’ society and b) in order to have a fully global free market surely you’d think one would have to have full free global movement for the social actors partaking in these so-called free global market. ( which we don’t - for those of you not sure what i mean - please refer to earlier rants on the fact that your global movement depends on your ‘group’ aka that wonderfully ‘liberating’ social unit - the Nation State.)
oh no. and then of course - perhaps people don’t understand ‘markets’ and ’social institutions’ or governance or government. we are told a free market is a sign of a ‘laissez-faire’ approach - hands off government regulation! it’s “free”. oh yes - it’s “free” - is it now? Even if there’s no government regulation - does it mean it’s free of all forms of regulation? for what is regulation if not ‘control’? and if anyone’s saying oh yes free markets are free of ‘control’ ill laugh like a wild hyena. oh yes free of control - from social institutions who’re not ‘government’ but how ‘free’ is that - is the big question. is someone saying there are no ‘forces’ out there controlling the situation? yes they squeak - it’s all market forces - that’s the point. right in that case, we haven’t got free markets, last time i looked folks like the world bank and imf and the WTO and the powerful nation-states ( looking after their own interests :-) nothing wrong with that) didn’t look too much like a market but more like big powerful institutions to me. why pretend ?
so yeah - its pretty clever -focus on govt. ‘regulation’ - and stick the power in the hands of shadowy complex non-accountable organizations - non-national (so it gets past the oh we cant have regulation by national governmental institutions) probably global - ( think IMF! World Bank - again) and hey presto! we all think we’re not ‘regulated’ but free! free as a bird. :-) oh yes…

like i said, it makes me laugh. clearly most people don’t think about social organization. we’re trained to think about ‘government’ — well governments at the end of the day are a form of governance. why we imagine that non-government institutions don’t have power over our lives ( the other thing of course is the term regulation, its very ‘official’ and people don’t really think about how our lives are socially regulated by norms and groups ( aka institutions) even in the absence of ‘formal’ regulation. ) me i’m a fan of as much individual liberty as possible - hence my anarchistic focus on social regulation - ( no point in just looking at formal ‘regulation’ per se) - and that’s precisely why i’d like the spotlight to be on our oh-so-tightly controlled and regulated societies - when institutions have ‘power’ over our lives - whether they’re our group of mates or the world bank - then i think we need to look at these social dynamics.
so the point is this. in societies with no ‘official’ government and ‘formal’ regulation - do we seriously imagine the dynamics are a) free b) not controlled by any ’social forces’ ? hah.

don’t imagine that cabals, cliques, coteries with power aren’t ‘regulating’ the ‘market’ - because they’re ‘regulating’ the society - so naturally that affects the ‘marketplace’. who can do what, who can sell what to whom, who gets a preferred price, who gets no access to the market cos they’re a social outcast - you get the picture? the emphasis should be on the social context that the ‘market’ is situated within.

Social forces - why aren’t we looking at that? chances are if you’re an economist, you won’t get any of this - you’ll bleat - but the market the market! what’s this about the social ? ( no offense to the ‘enlightened economists’ - of course you know that you’re a rare breed :-)
or a conformist - what? you mean all this talk about free markets and we haven’t got any? But..!! ooh dear - shock horror. yep, we need free collaborative markets -where you, me and any tom dick and harry- i.e. individuals can trade with each other without having to worry about what a bunch of uninvited big institutions think about what we ought to be doing. if a group of people organize themselves and want to trade with each other - good for them. why should i let some global institution which is not accountable to me democratically tell me what i can or cannot do based on my membership of that awful construct - the nation-state? Phooey to that - and we’re told that’s ‘liberalism’ of some kind ( ha!!?? ) and ‘free’.

oh yes - ‘free’ - for those of us in the ‘right’ groups - the ones with the power that is.

not free as in the way i define free. not free for any random individual. oh no!

then again - its like any of these things. some folks thing something is ‘liberal’ and some folks think ..what! ( like religion :-) )

Bottom line - some people have laid the groundwork so that any discussion on freedom and markets are carried out without any consideration of the social context and the social organizations and institutions we’re saddled with. which shape the social forces we operate within. taking nation-states for ‘granted’ as some ‘god-given’ social unit with perfect legitimacy and as some wonderfully ‘free’ and equal unit - not as a highly flawed social construct that spawns major global inequalities. oh no.

so of course in the context of that discourse, ‘free markets’ - are all about markets based on national denominations. then the focus is always on this country can’t regulate itself - it must give it self up to ‘invisible’ global regulation. i.e. let’s pretend if there is no ‘national’ regulation, there is no regulation full stop. ( why who’d spot differently!!) of course the emphasis is never on the fact that certain other institutions somewhere else have worked very hard to ensure the current state of play - now that doesn’t sound very ‘laissez-faire’ to me or ‘free from control and manipulation’. the point - as David Harvey makes - the neoliberals have some very ’strong’ institutions pushing through their agenda.
Anyhow - i am going to push my agenda - which is that markets aren’t free, and we need free markets - not ones that pit individuals against each other in nasty big cliques and focus on the health of the ‘nation-state’ or big fat institutions-aka big business.fuck that - but free collaborative markets - where individuals are free to barter, exchange, and collaborate with each other. whether that is me as in moi, or me in my voluntary social collective of some sort - you know - the type you actually choose to join and have some democratic involvement in and has accountability to its members - and not some coercive focred social contract.

Liberty and free societies - and thereby - free markets - one day hopefully.

governance & corporations


  1. AWK wrote:

    Disclaimer: I’m highly critical of the nation-state as the dominant ‘actor/communal organisation’ in global politics.

    Whoa! So, wait, you’re arguing that this ‘highly flawed’ social unit - the nation state - is perhaps what is preventing us from achieving greater equality? I mean, if one is to take the nation-state “as a highly flawed social construct that spawns major global inequalities,” then one would have to pit its chances against the alternative that you propose: the collaborative market.

    Well, if there is to be a global barter system, couldn’t individuals (if we take the example of the billionnaires: numbers below the (dubious) poverty line) increase the ‘inequalities’ just as much. I’m just being a pain in the arse here, but the ‘freedom’ with which you are endowing your ‘Sonia’s World-Citizens’ with, can also be constrained to the same extent that all social contracts are adhered to under some sorta Gramscian coercion. As the barter, free or otherwise, would also have to adhere to norms of exchange in order to operate. How would you stop the individually powerful from increasing the inequality/disparity-of-income? Or were you drunk while typin this up?

    Rite, well, that’s me rant from across two continents and over a hemisphere.

  2. sonia wrote:

    heh heh where did sonia-world citizens come from? its hardly for me to endow - just something people might want to think about here for themselves. the freedom would hardly come from ‘me’ - i’m an anarchist :-) in case you didn’t get the point of the post at all, it’s about individuals thinking about the social contract we’ve effectively signed and how our social circles/groups place restriction on us. some people are perfectly happy with it - but some aren’t and would like to be able to be ‘free’ to do something as we wish. Can’t see how this has got anything to with ’sonia’s world-citizens’ or ‘me’ pushing ‘freedom’ at people. perhaps what we need is a discussion of underlying ideas/preconceptions of freedom - certainly that plays a key part in people’s reactions to this. Also another important issue is of course what do we mean when we use the term citizenship? for example the significance vs. ‘membership’ of a group or a network. That’s what we have to consider - what underlying ideas we have implicit in the social contract we effectively find ourselves in.

    I’m disappointed that people would take my raising awareness of this issue - at least let’s be goddamned honest about our society and our groups - to mean I’m imposing some kind of model in which people then have to fit ’sonia -world citizens’. Is pointing to the bottom line that we’re all individuals - and erm..we inhabit one world. Physically that is - obviously. It’s about a discussion of ‘formalisms’ of groups - and then de-formalizing them if that’s what’s wanted - rather than formalizing up. 

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