Okie Gardner recently pointed out that The Market Is Not God. I'm pleased to see the note of caution on pure reliance on "the market." Smith calls pricing (supply/demand) the "Invisible Hand," and claims that when individuals act in self-interest they end up working in society's interest. He never said anything about the "Infallible Hand."

Another issue we've got to look at is that Smith's conception of "society" is no longer synonymous with "nation." It was understood early on that while self-interested capitalist action would be beneficial to society overall, it would certainly be more beneficial to some than to others. When a market is wholly contained within a state, the government can regulate these "market failures." The problem now is the markets, particularly the oil market as pointed out by okie gardner, are world-wide rather than national. Therefore, the disproportional accrual of benefits is not just going to the Rockefellers, but to the al-Sauds and the Nevzlins.

And that's the way the market works. Those with the capital, resources, and entrepreneurship are going to get the big bucks, which, the way our international political economy is structured, equals power. An honest advocate for a purely free-market must accept that (and all it means) and move on.

The bigger problem comes when we look to market principles and expect that the market should and always will favor America. Yes, it has for a long time in a lot of areas. But it won't always, and it certainly won't in all sectors. I'd cite a few examples, but I take it you've turned on the news sometime this year.

So, I'd tag a modifier to Gardener's statement - The market is not God, and it is most certainly not a god who prefers America over all others. So if regarding the "Market" as absolute borders on idolatry, holding un-regulated market solutions invariably to be the best policy is also unpatriotic.

[I may tackle Gardener's other topic, which economists politely label as "negative externalities" in another post. Needless to say, this is another area in which market regulation is a net benefit.]