> In a message dated 12/4/99 8:03:11 PM Central Standard Time,
> firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> > if the
> > "free market" really worked it would be innovative;
> It's kinda hard to tell if it will work or not....I know of no example where
> it's been tried. What has been called free was in reality just less
There is an interesting paper on this, CAPITALISM: A TREATISE ON ECONOMICS by George Reisman. Permit me to quote a bit from it:
"The growing concentration of farmers on producing for the market and the movement of more and more of their sons and daughters to the towns and cities to find employment constituted the actual building of a division-of-labor society. This was a process that was dictated by considerations of self-interest on the part of millions of individual people. Each individual farmer who devoted his labor to producing crops for the market did so because he judged that he would be better off with the products he could buy with the money he earned than he would be with the products he could produce for himself with the same labor...
The security of property made the American people both industrious and provident, because they knew that they could keep all that they earned and be able to benefit from all that they saved. (There was no income tax prior to 1913.) Not surprisingly, they were considered to be the hardest-working people in the world. And their consequent high rate of saving ensured that each year a substantial proportion of their production took the form of new and additional capital goods, which had the effect of increasing their ability to produce and consume in succeeding years.
The freedom of production in the United States led to an unprecedented outpouring of innovations—to the steady introduction of new and previously unheard of products and to the constant improvement of methods of production. This, along with the constant availability of an adequate supply of savings to implement the advances, produced the most rapid and sustained rate of economic progress in the history of the world. "
But things HAVE changed, and not simply in the proliferation of market regulations. For example, not only do most consumers fail to save part of their income, but in fact decrease their income through the interest charged on their excessive purchasing. A decreasing number of Americans are genuine investors, and the failure rate of small businesses due to the devastating purchasing power of corporations is a grievous limitation of "free enterprise".
You may read this paper at: http://www.capitalism.net/CATOE_01.HTM
Please understand that I am a critic of Capitalism because of its inherent contradictions and its distributive tendencies with respect to wealth. But I can appreciate Adam Smith as well as Karl Marx, and I suppose we must transcend both to reconcile innovation, productivity and prices with wages and social justice.