Free market! Free market! The market will sort it out. Free market! Free market! It’s the free market at work. Like a drunk hollering ‘Free Bird’ at whatever band is on stage, a capitalist flunky will undoubtedly use the words free and/or market in whatever argument is had, – as if its an a priori answer to any problem. How does this free market form? What is it? Is it just trading free from government/state interference? Or is it a supra-rational being built up from the many individual transactions carried out daily; exchanging information between separate entities and amalgamating into a super intelligent ‘invisible hand’ – akin to Captain Planet being summoned (probably by everyone uttering free market in unison) to sort the world out?
A lot of sentiments on capitalism is that is it a mode of production outside of governmental control and will emerge naturally without it; is sustainable and doesn’t need state oversight to be profitable. Some think that the capitalist system is the sole instigator and producer of wealth and that market forces (people buying and selling goods/servcies) will regulate itself without outside force1. It is also assumed that due to it being the wealth creation force, that all governmental activity is sustained by capitalism in the form of taxation, so without capitalism government couldn’t exist.
This is an inversion of the actual relation between government and capital. Indeed forms of government and nation states came well before capitalism. The conditions for capitalism to thrive were helped by policies enacted by the state throughout history. I will explore the formation of capitalism and the role of the state, as well as the history of state intervention in the continued progression of capitalist ideals and the current function of the state in maintaining the capitalist systems. I’ll also look into the notion of a ‘market’ existing and how a supra-rational being could emerge from the participants in the system just buying and selling things. I’ll condense each section into separate parts to ensure your noggin can process the information without resorting to stimulants to keep concentration.