Libertarians throw the phrase “free market” around a lot, but the important word among those two is free. Markets, per se, are really an after-thought. It’s not as if we don’t want freedom in our non-market activities. We want to have freedom, in all ways, including in our “market transactions”. The word market confuses a lot of people because they imagine “markets” to be an institution, a thing that one can point to and say “this is a Market”. But we don’t mean it that way, really. There’s no such thing as a market. It’s just a catch-all term to cover the sum total of all exchanges.
The only alternative to a market is to have rationing by command. One monopoly with control of all goods who hands them out to people according to a scheme that monopoly has planned out in advance. A situation where there is any sort of trade at all, is technically a market.
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