What is the market?

The “market” isn’t a “thing” or a “place”, it’s a process.  More specifically, it’s a process of voluntary cooperation among hundreds, thousands, millions of individuals operating within an environment where the only prohibition on the statute books is the use of force.  All actions must be volutarily entered into.  Pretty simple, right?  It is, but seems to be one of the most difficult concepts to explain to someone not already amenable to the notions.  “What should government do?”  “We have to do something!”  “There ought to be a law!”  It is nigh impossible to explain persuasively to most people that the process of voluntary interaction that libertarians short-hand into “the market” is the source of all prosperity, that too much “law” (artificial law, or “legislation” as Hayek would call it) and too active a government is the source of poverty, strife, unemployment, crime, and conflict.  More on this in the excellent article, The Market Doesn’t Solve Problems; People do.

The foundation of the philosophy of liberty is voluntary cooperation.  To expand voluntary cooperation as far as possible is to expand liberty.  At the heart of the desire to expand voluntary cooperation is the understanding that the liberty for every individual to make their own choices, unencumbered by government restriction and regulation, is the source of all prosperity.