Free Markets and the Locavore Movement

January 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

Jim Grant made a great analogy during an interview with Reason’s Matt Welch. See the 1:30 mark of this video.

What we need, Matt, are natural, organic, free range, interest rates. Sustainable, local, interest rates. That grow spontaneously in the market, not the supermarket, hothouse kind the federal government imposes.

Perhaps what was most impressive was that this was a comment made in passing while trying to make a larger point. It’s a measure of Grant’s understanding of finance as well as his abilities to put complex ideas into simple and relatable terms.

Of course it’s an oversimplification, but it’s not one that should be overlooked. It is sort of odd that support for free markets is somehow missing from the typical left leaning American’s worldview. Consider how support for local markets (used here in the common, non-textbook sense eg flea markets, meat markets, etc) is a very essential expectation for any self respecting educated and urban dwelling liberal. The locavore movement has been essential to the liberal mindset for quite some time. Due in large part to misunderstanding and a healthy dose of misinformation, liberals associate free markets with the current state of international economies. At bet, supporting “free markets” is more or less equated with supporting the current status quo of corporate power run amok and central bank manipulation. More likely, it’s seen as a not so subtle way of giving even more power to these same groups.

In left leaning circles of common Americans (and among many Americans in general) there is an unwritten paradigm when it come to economic issues. “Free markets” means allowing corporations to do whatever they’d like. “Regulations” are the tools used by the state to keep that from happening.

It’s sort of funny how Americans fail to see what it is that makes them love their local flea market down the street and what makes them hate the large, heavily regulated international markets. Who do you think sees more state intervention? The two old hippies who own the bookstore on the corner or the international commodities market?

 

 

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