Russ Nelson

Russ Nelson:
There’s no point to objecting to advocacy for free markets by
pointing out there is no pure free market, free of any coercive
influence. We can compare more-free markets to less free markets, and
decide which ones we like. If we like more-free markets, then we
advocate for free markets, all the while realizing that the people who
like less free markets will prevent us from having a completely free


Russ points toward an old post of mine about the claim of free markets. My point is that… we are dealing with fictions and fantasies when we talk about ‘free markets’ and ‘free-er markets’. Most things people(and note, i was not not addressing the specific definitions of economists, which may be more or less problematic depending on whether you think their formal models and definitions approximate anything beyond themselves) call markets are not markets, but regulated exchanges, regulated by too many factors to even approximate an ideal market, or even an ideal transaction situation. I think it would behove most people to go back and actually read Adam Smith’s thoughts on markets and specifically on the theory of moral sentiments in relation to markets, as I think that his work is closest to my position.

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0 comments on “Russ Nelson

  1. jason says:

    Ya, sure. Hunsinger, Hume and Smith. I think you miss the point… yes, they’re fictions and fantasies, but you seem to suggest that there is something that is not F&F. Sounds like you’re closer to neo-platonism. Sure ‘markets’ were defined as X but now they’re defined as Y. And what was free of regulation at one time is no more or less, only differently free or differently regulated.

    I **guess** that perhaps taking a born again economics approach with Smith might be fun, but no more useful than taking the bible literally. Since he couldn’t see for all times, his thoughts are historically situated and have more value in terms of the development of ideas than the direct application in an economic context of which he had no knowledge.

    As for Russ, to say ” the people who like less free markets will prevent us from having a completely free market” is just scary for the assumptions that not only is there a notion of market and a notion of free that can even be used in the same sentence, aside from writing fanfic for Sarenity or something, to posit that someone can block the realization of a fetish fantasy (unlike the regular fictions and fantasies of which we all must contend) of free market economics is like… is like… like too strange for words, man.

  2. jason says:

    feel free to erase that. i know full well that there’s a group of people out there that believe that this is all a rational science, and that we can read and apply these theories efficaciously. and C.S. Lewis was a social architect.

  3. Not all markets are equally regulated. We can look at their level of regulation and decide whether we think they work better or worse. Generally, economists think that the participants do better when there are fewer regulations. You’re welcome to dispute that, but given your displayed level of understanding of economics, you’d better hit the books before you expect to persuade any economists that they’re wrong.

  4. jeremy says:

    you seem to be generalizing a bit there. economists don’t think that the participants do better with fewer regs. certain schools of economics thinks that, if it were the case and anywhere near factual, we wouldn’t have regulated markets… yet we do. why is that? why do some economists, say for instance keynes, support regulation? while others, say friedman, do not? perhaps it is because regulation has little or nothing to do with the better or worse functioning of markets? could be… it depends on your model.