Comment: Because there's quite a few

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Because there's quite a few

Because there's quite a few confusing definitions and jumps in logic -- from my perspective -- I'm going to try to address what seems like one of your major points with a current example from my life.

Your statement: A completely free market cannot exist in a society based on the rule of law. Even in a market environment free from an agreed upon set of rules, a.k.a anarchy, the strong will dominate the weak, and this is a form of regulation. And the existence of regulation precludes the existence of a free market. So the question is, which political and economic models provide the most freedom for the most people?

My example: Amazon's book rating system can be considered a truly free market in reviews of a trading product. There aren't many (any?) rules imposed even by Amazon. A book reviewer can post whatever he wants about a book, minus (I'm assuming) filtered dirty words.

There's an inherent conflict in this market, like in most/all markets. The producers -- authors -- want lots of 5-star reviews; potential readers want accurate, authentic reviews by other readers of this particular genre.

The producers try to game the market. Authors ask all their friends to go on Amazon and write glowing reviews. The market -- the network of people involved -- gets tilted. Such reviews are usually lazy and readers learn to spot them. Consumers fight back and Amazon initiates an ability for users to rank reviews. The author's friend reviews don't get high ratings. The market tilts back to the consumer. Authors form little associations, which agree to cross-pollinate each other's reviews. Except now they tell each other, "Just give a 4-star review. Because 5-star raises eyebrows."

Maybe such a group of authors invites me to join their group. One of the expectations is that you give all the other members' books good reviews on Amazon. Maybe I tell them, "That's creepy; that devalues a nifty market feedback mechanism." Maybe I tell them, "It's tribal. Maybe rubbing up against immoral." Maybe they say, "But that's how the game is played. Everyone is doing it." Maybe I say, "Reputation is what counts long term and you're hurting readers, hurting the very market you wish to embrace you by lying to it." Maybe a couple of them say, "Umm...that could be right. I won't give a good review to a book I don't like or haven't read." Maybe the whole group feels kind of loser-ish for going down that road. Maybe several of them say, "Yeah, it would be better if we focused on writing our books rather than writing bogus reviews."

Okay, long example. but the idea here is that the rub of seller and buyer goals is in constant opposition. Each trying to dodge the latest work-around. All this is a free market. Free market doesn't imply everyone acting truthfully and honorably for the greater good. It's just a mechanism that allows parties to keep evolving and colluding and figuring ways to get their needs met.

Now if I'd had the ability to ban this author's clique from posting reviews on Amazon, that would be interference from outside the market. If I gathered their Amazon screen names and made a point of following each of their reviews with a review that alerted readers to their collusion, that would be a free market mechanism.

While such collusion is creepy in my mind, I get that they think it's moral -- the folks in this group value "supporting a friend," i.e. tribalism, above genuine communication. It's a legitimate morality, I suppose, not one that seems to recommend a good author, but it's one many folks believe in. For me it's immoral and I'll do a bit to curtail it. Our moralities will clash in the market place.

So I would postulate that the marketplace, far from being governed by a lack of morality, is a network of people with competing needs and competing moralities duke it out. The clash helps a culture define its moral obligations to each other.

A cart-before-the-horse issue, I guess. I'm thinking free markets help a people define and refine its morality. Interference from outside, perverts the process.