“There’s No Such Thing as an Unregulated Market”

That’s the title of my piece just published in The Freeman online. The subtitle: “It’s a choice between regulation by legislators or by consumers.” Here’s a slice:

We want the aims of regulation — regularity and predictability in markets, decent quality and reasonable prices for the goods and services we buy — and thinking that government regulation is the only way to get those, we accept a vast array of unnecessary, wrongheaded, and usually counterproductive mandates and restrictions.

But government regulation is not the only kind of regulation.

To regulate is to make regular and orderly, to hold to a standard, to control according to rule, as a thermostat regulates the temperature in a building. Market forces do this continually as competing businesses offer what they hope will be a good value, then customers choose among the various offerings, then the competing businesses react to customers’ choices. That process is the market’s regulator.

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