There’s No Such Thing As A Free Market

Freedom is an illusion.  Control or, more gently, regulation is the reality.  Here’s an example:

“talk of a `free market’ notwithstanding, there’s no more heavily regulated aspect of our life.  The market is regulated by law not just in its elements–it is law that enforces contracts, establishes property, and regulates currency–but also in its effects.  The law uses taxes increase the market’s constraint on certain behaviors and subsidies to reduce its constraint on others.  We tax cigarettes in part to reduce their consumption, but we subsidize tobacco production to increase its supply.  We tax alcohol to reduce its consumption.  We subsidize child care to reduce the constraint the market puts on raising children.  In many such ways the constraint of the law is used to change the constraints of the market.”  (Lawrence Lessing, Code 2.0, Basic Books, 2006, p. 127.)

In Code 2.0, Lessig discusses how we’re controlled/regulated by code when we’re online.  Code controls/regulates.  Writers of code–coders–are controllers/regulators of cyberspace.  Offline, online, there’s no freedom.  Control is the reality.

About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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One Response to There’s No Such Thing As A Free Market

  1. Pingback: Internet+ Effects: Control/Regulation | George Beam's Blog

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