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42 of 6,095 quotations related to Free Markets

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Adams, John
All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America rise ... from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.

1787 - from a letter to Thomas Jefferson
Blount, Wilton
It is our belief that if people are set free to express themselves to the fullest, their accomplishments will be far beyond their dreams, and they will not only contribute to the growth of the company, but will also be more useful citizens and contribute to the society at large.

Buckley, William F.
First principles, to be sure, don't always work. They are largely ignored in wartime, for instance. But since we are not at war, we tend to magnify lesser problems and to appropriate military rhetoric in discussing them, as of course the wars on poverty, drugs, racism, etc. If we were at war, we would reorder our priorities and subordinate our complaints. Gratefully we aren't at war, but this shouldn't mean that we have license to neglect priorities that are built into the market systems.

Jun. 4, 2001 - from "Oh What A Mess!", published by Universal Press Syndicate
Burke, Edmund
No government ought to exist for the purpose of checking the prosperity of its people or to allow such a principle in its policy.

Chrétien, Jean  
Some people think that the American culture is a problem. It's not a problem... don't be afraid to be citizens of the world.

Nov. 31, 2000 - from a post-election speech in Ottawa, repudiating the stance he used through most of his political life to curry favour with nationalists, quoted in "The End of Canada?", by Peter Newman, published in Maclean's magazine, Jan. 8, 2001
Churchill, Sir Winston
Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is - the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.

Clark, Joe  
Does our economic system work? My answer is that the market system, based on free decisions and fair rules, does work better than any other system yet devised. And the job of government must be to provide the rules and the climate that will let the system work.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo
Coolidge, Calvin
The general welfare cannot be provided for in any one act, but it is well to remember that the benefit of one is the benefit of all, and the neglect of one is the neglect of all. The suspension of one man's dividends is the suspension of another man's pay envelope.

Jan. 7, 1914 - from a speech delivered to the Massachusetts Senate when he became its president
Coyne, Andrew  
There's nothing inherently subversive of democracy or national sovereignty in a trade agreement. It is as much an act of sovereignty, after all, to renouce trade barriers as it is to put them up. In many ways, morerover, free trade gives individual citizens more contol over their lives, not less: When corporations are beating a path to your door from half-way around the world, when consumers are liberated from the tyranny of local monopolies, then in the economic sphere, at least, the power of the ordinary citizen is enhanced.

Apr. 18, 2001 - from "Free trade's 'democratic deficit'", published in the National Post
Fraser, Matthew  
Only in Canada do regulators pick winners in the broadcasting marketplace by selecting who will own, operate and profit from television channels. In most other industrial countries, markets make those decisions. But Canada stubbornly persists - in the name of preposterous bureaucratic prerogatives disguised as high-minded cultural policy - in obliging market belligerants to compete for regulatory favour.

Feb. 19, 2001 - from "Salter Street sale reveals cracks in media regulation", published in the Financial Post

Friedman, Milton
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.

George, Henry
What protectionism teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.

Grant, R.W.
Microsoft and Intel, two of the latest targets of [antitrust actions of the U.S. Justice Department], are ... trying to fight the battle exclusively on terms defined by the government. But when the law is whatever the bureaucrat says it is, even innocence will be no defense, for the regulation will simply be shifted and reinterpreted to describe whatever the accused did do. The better defense would be to challenge the validity and constitutionality of rules which are designed not to protect rights, but merely to further the amorphous goals of ideology: 'fairness,' 'the level playing field,' etc. Perhaps the challenge would not succeed but it would beat losing by default.

1999 - from The Incredible Bread Machine, published by Fox and Wilkes
There are better ways to run things. ... The political state is in its twilight. It has served its limited historical purpose. As [author of The Art of Community, Spencer H.] MacCallum put it, government is merely the 'unstable transition' between the society of kinship and the society of contract. The next plateau in social evolution - if we can achieve it - is a society based not on political force but on the voluntary alternatives of the marketplace. And this, finally, is what a free society is all about.

1999 - from The Incredible Bread Machine, published by Fox and Wilkes
Hayek, Friedrich
It is now often said that democracy will not tolerate "capitalism." If "capitalism" means here a competitive system based on free disposal over private property, it is far more important to realize that only within this system is democracy possible. When it becomes dominated by a collectivist creed, democracy will inevitably destroy itself.

1944 - from The Road to Serfdom
Hazlitt, Henry
The 'private sector' of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and...the 'public sector' is, in fact, the coercive sector.

Every ... leftist calls himself a liberal! ... We are the true adherents of liberty. Both words--liberal and liberty--come from the same root. We are the ones who believe in limited government, in the maximization of liberty for the individual and the minimization of coercion to the lowest point compatible with law and order. It is because we are true liberals that we believe in free trade, free markets, free enterprise, private property in the means of production; in brief, that we are for capitalism and against socialism. Yet this is the philosophy, the true philosophy of progress, that is now called not only conservatism, but reaction, the Radical Right, extremism...

Nov. 29, 1964 - from "Reflections at 70", a speech to friends and admirers at the New York University Club on his 70th birthday
Katzen, Leo
In Africa, at least, all the socialist economies did badly [after independence]. (Many economies which were not avowedly socialist also did badly, but for much the same reasons as the socialist countries.) The few economies that did relatively well [Malawi, Ivory Coast and Kenya] gave much more freedom to market forces. ... There is now... a much greater consensus in both East and West and indeed in North and South that the informational and allocative efficiency of markets and the price system is an essential ingredient of economic and social progress.

1989 - from "Africa's man-made crisis", Encounter No. 72
Kay, Jonathan  
The West's high school educated blue-collar workforce can offer neither knowledge or cheap labour. This is why unions have suddenly become so concerned with human rights and working conditions in Asia and Latin America. They hope to destroy trade agreements by saddling them with labour and environmental standards -- climate-controlled factories, 40-hour work weeks, state-of-the-art pollution controls -- that poor countries will be unable to meet for decades.

Apr. 18, 2001 - from "The prime of Ms. Naomi Klein"
Klaus, Vaclav
It would be a disaster to accept the accusations of enemies of democratic capitalism that economic behavior is egoistic, whereas political behavior is or should be altruistic, that economic transactions and morality are incompatible, that culture is noble and superior, whereas financial markets are nasty and inferior, and so forth. We human beings are consistent and coherent in our behavior...

Dec. 1, 1995 - from "From Communism to Democratic Capitalism: The Role of Visions", an address to the James Madison Institute

Milton Friedman was right - the communist economy produced goods and services not because of the planners, but in spite of them. And his message was clear; the more unconstrained the markets are, the better.

Dec. 1, 1995 - from "From Communism to Democratic Capitalism: The Role of Visions", an address to the James Madison Institute
Le Grand, Julian
... anarchy is a better description of some centrally-planned economies than of market ones. Used appropriately, markets can be more efficient, more democratic, more free, and even more egalitarian than command systems.

Macaulay, Lord Thomas Babbington
Our rulers will best promote the improvement of the nation by strictly confining themselves to their own legitimate duties, by leaving capital to find its most lucrative course, commodities their fair price, industry and intelligence their natural reward, idleness and folly their natural punishment, by maintaining peace, by defending property, by diminishing the price of law, and observing strict economy in every department of the state. Let the Government do this: the People will assuredly do the rest.

Jan. 1830 - from a book review published in the Edinburgh Review
Mulroney, Martin Brian  
I would certainly support getting rid of all this stuff at the borders, which inhibits progress and the free movement of goods, services and people.

2000 - quoted in "The End of Canada?", by Peter C. Newman, published in Maclean's magazine, Jan. 8, 2001
 [Defending free trade?] Throughout our history, trade has been critical to Canada's livelihood. Now, almost one third of what we produce is exported. Few countries in the world are so dependent on trade. This trend ultimately threatens the jobs of many Canadians and the living standards of the nation as a whole. We must confront this threat. We must reverse this trend.

... at a time when the world economy was becoming more interdependent and open, Canada turned inward and interventionist. In 1974 we started down this costly path with the Foreign Investment Review Agency, and in 1981, we continued this approach with the National Energy Program. Such a direction ignored the basic lesson of our history, namely that free and unfettered access to world markets has been a boon to strong and dynamic economic growth in our country. It was indicative of the misguided belief that regulation by politicians and bureaucrats was superior to the decisions of individuals and firms competing in the global marketplace.

Dec. 10, 1984 - from a speech to the Economic Club of New York
[On the National Energy Program] The market approach works... Canada was not built by expropriating retroactively other people's property. This practice is odious and shall not be followed by the new government of Canada.

Dec. 10, 1984 - from a speech to the Economic Club of New York
National Post, The  
You do not have to be a poisoner of the environment and oppressor of the poor to recognize the [anti-free-trade] protesters' arguments about coupling free trade to environmental protection and labour standards as comically flimsy. Democracy requires that Argentina's environmental standards be decided in Argentina, not [at free trade summit meetings], just as Guatemalans themselves should be free to decide what level of pay they will accept for working in a foreign-owned factory. Capitalist acts between consenting adults should not be subject to interference from busybodies in countries thousands of miles away.

Apr. 18, 2001 - from its editorial "Quebec gathering..."
O'Rourke, P.J.
When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.

Rand, Ayn
Every coercive monopoly was created by government intervention into the economy: by special privileges, such as franchises or subsidies, which closed the entry of competitors into a given field, by legislative action.

Reagan, Ronald Wilson
All systems are capitalist. It's just a matter of who owns and controls the capital - ancient king, dictator, or private individual. We should properly be looking at the contrast between a free market system where individuals have the right to live like kings if they have the ability to earn that right and government control of the market system such as we find today in socialist nations.

Sep. 21, 1976 - from his radio address
Reynolds, Alan
The terror of the Great Crash has been the failure to explain it. People were left with the feeling that massive economic contractions could occur at any moment, without warning, without cause. That fear has been exploited ever since as the major justification for virtually unlimited federal intervention in economic affairs.

Nov. 9, 1979 - from "What Do We Know About the Great Crash", in National Review
Scruton, Roger
To make the market economy into the cornerstone of politics is indeed to simplify human existence beyond recognition. But to ignore its true merit as the most widespread and immediate experience of human peace ... is to take a step in a dangerous direction.

1983 - from a column in The Times, London
The market economy means simply the democratization of economic life - the return of economic decisions to the people. A true democrat, therefore, must always in the end lean towards the market economy.

Aug. 1998 - from "Christian Democracy and the Czech Republic", published in The New Presence
Solomon, Lawrence  
One factor, and one factor alone -- changes in housing policy -- accounts for the immense rise in homelessness: governments outlawed much of what was then the bottom of the housing markets while legalizing vagrancy.

Dec. 01, 1998 - The Next City magazine
Sowell, Thomas
Price fixing does not represent simply windfall gains and losses to particular groups according to whether the price happens to be set higher or lower than it would be otherwise. It represents a net lose to the economy as a whole to the extent that many transactions do not take place at all, because the mutually acceptable possibilities have been reduced.

Stossel, John
I started out by viewing the marketplace as a cruel place, where you need intervention by government and lawyers to protect people. But after watching the regulators work, I have come to believe that markets are magical and the best protectors of the consumer.

from an interview in The Oregonian newspaper
Thatcher, Margaret
With free trade you can have both large-scale economic efficiency and small-scale political decentralization.

1991 - from a speech to the Heritage Foundation
Let us look... at what the collectivists call "public enterprise." ... Invariably the enterprise took place years ago. The state merely takes over a going concern, usually when all the enterprise has been knocked out of it.

Jul. 1, 1975 - from "Competitive Enterprise or State Bureaucracy", published in the London Guardian, re-published at margaretthatcher.com
von Mises, Ludwig
Those fighting for free enterprise and free competition do not defend the interests of those rich today. They want a free hand left to unknown men who will be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Progress is precisely that which the rules and regulations did not foresee.

...economic history is a long record of government policies that failed because they were designed with a bold disregard for the laws of economics.